Hmm … now you would think of working the night shift as working between the hours of darkness and sleeping during the day, wouldn’t you? This maybe true for a job on land but on the rail ferries is means you are working a 12 hour shift from 4pm-4am or the more recent set up of 4/4, 8/8. What does this mean though? A night shift on the rail ferry Arahura would consist of starting work at 12pm-4pm. Then working again at 8pm-4am. So your rest times are 4pm-8pm and 4am-12pm. It takes a while to get used to and once your body understands when you are supposed to be awake and asleep it becomes so much more easier to handle. Telling your body to go to sleep at 4:30am in the morning when the sun is getting ready to rise is not normally easy. But I tell you it will be your body that starts to tell you when to sleep towards the end of the week.
The 12-4 day shift is split in half so that one deck officer does the bridge drive in through Tory Channel to Picton and loads the rail deck while the standby deck officer does cargo deck rounds and loads the top deck. On departure from Picton the deck officers switch so that the standby officer is now doing the drive out through Tory Channel. The evening watch from 8pm-4am is divided into two watches again, this time they are 4 hour watches. 8-12, 12-4.