DIVING IN HEAD FIRST
So as many of you know, I just came back from my first charter in the Bahamas! But first, I must catch up on a few things.
I am now in my 4th crewhouse and I couldn’t be happier. When I first moved down here, I didn’t want to live in a bigger house, but I also wanted that crewhouse vibe of hanging out with people in the house and becoming friends. The first 3 houses were a bit smaller, and actually, somewhat depressing. I’m not sure if it was the people, or the fact that the house wasn’t full (I didn’t even want them to be full), but they just didn’t have a good vibe. I actually made 2 really good friends from the old house that moved into the new house first and then I followed. This house is pretty sweet though. I’m luckily on the 3rd floor which is the girl’s floor, so I share a room with 3 other girls, a bathroom, mini kitchen and balcony that we definitely don’t use enough. There are 3 more rooms and 2 bathrooms on the 2nd floor, one room and bathroom on the main floor with a huge kitchen, living room and an awesome backyard with a pool! This is definitely the kind of house that I’ve been reading about. For those of us not working, we chill on the couch or pool all day and then we all go out at night, and in Fort Lauderdale, it’s ladies night almost every night! I <3 Fort Lauderdale! Haha! Staying in a crewhouse is definitely not good for my liver either. I thought NYC was bad, but this is bad! The week usually starts off with a networking event aka drinking, then it’s ladies night Wednesday and Thursday, then it’s Friday, which means we usually have a Braai (South African for BBQ) and a pool party, and then it’s the weekend, so more drinking. Even with all of the drinking, everyone still manages to stay on track with courses, daywork, applying for jobs and being responsible.
WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK
A few weeks ago, I randomly received a call for daywork on a 65’ boat for a daycharter. All I had to do was make and serve drinks and just keep the boat clean. On our way to the boat, the primary charter guest brought some last minute things and shoved a bottle of Pimms and some other things into plastic bags. He carried the cooler bag and I took plastic bags. We were walking through the gate to get to the boat, and all of a sudden, the plastic bag ripped, and the unopened Pimms bottle shattered on the ground into a million pieces. Of course that’s how I would start off my yachting career! It wouldn’t have happened any other way. Luckily, they were all pretty cool about it but managed to bust my balls a few times about it during the day. It ended up being a great day, they treated me to lunch and I felt like a part of the family. They invited me over for some wine and then to dinner and to see AC/DC a few nights later! It was a pretty successful first boating experience if I do say so myself ;)
The morning after the AC/DC concert, hungover and dehydrated, I received a phone call regarding a weeklong charter in the Bahamas. I of course said yes, and with my hangover brain, I wasn’t exactly sure what I signed up for, but I was going to the Bahamas and getting paid, so why the hell not! It seemed like a pretty sweet gig because the guests weren’t staying on board so I didn’t have to clean the cabins every day, and didn’t have to wake up super early to prep breakfast. And since they weren’t staying on board, the Chef and I were able to sleep in the cabins (separately of course). This isn’t really a common thing and considering how tiny the crew quarters were, I felt pretty lucky.
I was told I was flying out of a private airport and the flight was at 7am. I made a complete rookie and amateur mistake, and didn’t realize exactly what that meant. I packed my bags, made sure to separate my liquids, and planned to get to the airport at least 2 hours early because I was flying international. I was also told that we would only be serving the guests lunch and dinner so rookie me thought that I’d have time to go out at night so I ended up packing a lot more than I needed to. I woke up around 4am that morning and called an Uber. I got in the car, we pulled up to the hangar and everything was closed. No lights, no cars, no people, nothing. And I thought, this can’t be the right place, this doesn’t look like an airport, there has to be a hub or something. The Uber driver and I drove around for another hour – hour and a half and all I could think is 1. how much is this going to cost me and 2. I need to get on this god damn plane! We eventually went back to the first stop and luckily the lights were on and there were cars in the parking lot. $35 and an hour and a half later, I was finally where I was supposed to be. Now I know what flying private really means #movingonup. So apparently, you don’t need to separate liquids, go through security or show up 2 hours early at private airports (rookie mistakes #1, #2 and #3)
I eventually landed in Staniel Cay in the Exumas around 9am and was picked up via golf cart. 15 minutes later, we pulled up to the dock and I couldn’t believe how clear and blue the water was and how beautiful the boat looked. I was kind of hoping I could get a little break considering my stressful, hectic morning but I knew it was very unlikely. I was greeted by the Captain who said something along the lines of, “I hope you’re ready to jump right in!”, and that’s where it all started.
I walked on the boat and met the Chef, and two local Bahamian deckhands. The Captain showed me around and gave me a brief overview of what needs to be cleaned. He left me to myself and all I could think is, “Fuck, what did I sign up? I have no idea what I’m doing!”. I didn’t really have a system or plan to how I was going to tackle cleaning the interior of the boat, but luckily all of the beds were already made and since the guests weren’t staying on board, that part of my job was done. I was all over the place but I had to get the boat ready for the guests when they arrived at 3pm. So I eventually got all of the cleaning done and we were waiting for the guests to arrive. We got the call that they just left the house, so we opened a really nice bottle of rosé champagne and poured the glasses. Two hours later, they still weren’t at the boat. Apparently we got a false alarm and had to toss the entire bottle (rookie mistake #4).
If you’re curious about what my days were like, here is a general schedule:
8:30-8:45am – wake up and get ready
8:45-11:30am – put dishes away and wipe down the galley (kitchen) while the Chef was at the house, make sure all of the heads (bathrooms) are clean, make mine and the Chef’s beds, wipe down the salon (living room) and then clean the floors
11:30am-1pmish – chill until the guests come on board
1pmish-2amish – run around like a crazy person serving the guests
Even though the hours were long, I can’t really complain. I woke up and saw water that was 5 shades of blue. I got to go to 3 different secluded beaches, swimming platters of food and drinks to guests on floating paddleboards. I got to pet nurse sharks and the coolest thing was that they would swim up on to the dock and wantedkkgc to be pet like dogs. I watched the sun set every night and drove a golf cart around the island in the middle of the night, not to mention the generous tip and weekly salary I made at the end ;) What was also awesome is that we sailed back to Fort Lauderdale and got to spend 2 days in Nassau. I pretty much just hung out at Margaritaville the whole time because they had wifi and I really had no interest in hanging out at Atlantis aka TOURIST CENTRAL. It was so weird coming from a place like Staniel Cay that’s so secluded and barely has any people to Nassau which is pretty much like Disney World. Atlantis was beautiful don’t get me wrong, but I definitely would not see myself voluntarily going back there.
All in all, my first charter was a success and I handled it like a BOSS :)