Robb and I are headed back to Nassau after 72 jam crammed hours in Ft Lauderdale. We flew to Ft Lauderdale to begin the new job search. The majority of vessels are in transition to the Med so the job options are scarce. I interviewed for one stewardess position that I would love to take but the timing just does not click. Taking the position would mean four long months away from Robb and both of us would regret that decision. It would be a great opportunity as it’s a very high-end charter vessel ($170,000 a week) with every bell and whistle you can imagine. You would not believe the complexity of running a boat of 160’ (interior is 8200 sq feet with butt ugly bed covers – ew!) The chief stewardess has been in the industry for twelve years and could teach me a thing or two about the white glove service. Some of these gals are clearing $12,000 a month. You live and breathe the boat but for that kind of money I could do it for a year or two (but without Robb? What fun would that be? Besides the captain gets the best cabin).
We go back to Nassau with another week with just the two of us onboard. It is always a time to clean, spit shine, buy food and fix things but at least it’s just us crew and we can take off for a scuba dive any time. Nice life. Traveling mercies to all - T
We are in the Bahamas right? Texans don’t care they are loud and proud. As we pulled into Marsh Harbor a fishing tournament was about to big. People come from all over, year after year to catch and kill the big one. Why oh why? Anyway, as we gazed down the dock the Texas flags dominated the landscape - that and fishing poles which closely resemble battleship armaments. Hm? What you can count on is the Texan down the dock always saying, ‘Hi, how ya doin?’ Music to my ears
My first thought this morning – I miss my family and friends. Yes, it’s my birthday and it will be a great day but my greatest wish would to host all my family and friends (dogs included) to a big party. Ames and Betsey would battle it out for best margarita. The yummiest Southwestern/Mexican food restaurant would cater and we would dance all night. Hey I can dream can’t I? All the dogs would have to get along so the dream continues. Alas, it’s not to be so my prayers are for all those I love that their lives would be filled with celebration and laughter.
As far as my bucket list goes, my shark dive is put on hold AGAIN due to weather. Darn that wind – do you think God is trying to tell me something? Normal underwater visibility for this area is 115 feet but with all the wind we were barely about to see 20 feet, still amazing but not the pinnacle. We dove a few days ago and out of the blue haze glided a six-foot nurse shark. At the time four-foot groupers weighing in at 200 pounds surrounded us. We were diving in a marine sanctuary and the fish seem to know they are safe. They swim right up to you to say HEY! I was surrounded by yellow fin the entire dive. Not too bad but not the shark experience I’m hoping for. We will continue to pursue the dream and hope the weather calms down. Robby presented his birthday scuba gift a month ago – he struggles with the whole waiting thing. He kitted me out with all a girl needs to dive the deep blue seas. (I model above). Oh my the places I have seen and will see but nothing is more precious then those I love. Blessings to all - T
I love my birthday! As it usually means, weeks of dreaming about something extra special to do and the cool people I have to celebrate the special day. Then on the particular day my family calls and sings me happy birthday. We all laugh at what atrocious singers we are but the ritual inevitably produces more laughter then cringes. It’s also a day to reflect on where past birthdays were spent and to dream of the coming year. Bucket list seems to have overtaken the common vernacular so I incorporate the new vocab here. As most people who know me are aware, I’m not very good at planning my life but I’m very good at planning my vacations and birthdays are vacations (at least in my mind). So this year, I’m checking off a long-standing bucket list item; I’m going to try to swim with sharks. This was a goal for my South African trip a few years ago but alas the weather did not cooperate and this year who knows but I’m going to make the effort. One previous scuba dive included a shark sighting but it was a four-foot nurse shark that swam quickly away when she spotted us. This time I want to watch. As you know from reading my “Inspiration” page, I’m focused on the shark issue and want to swim with them before they are all killed for their fins. In the Abaco island area there are all sorts of shark dives and I’m signing up for the least intrusive to the shark habitat, no sense feeding something that might eat you. I just want to see them glide by and wonder at their coolness. What are you doing for your birthday?
All guests left today and as you can tell I’m flattened. I need about two days of sleep and quiet. Then it will be my birthday and I’m ‘stuck’ in Marsha Harbor. Oh wah! More after I recover from guest shock.
Harbor Island, Bahamas
Oh so pretty!! Guests arrived Saturday and we were off. We docked yesterday at Harbor Island and today no meals to prepare. There were some hateful comments this morning about my inability to do laundry but who the hell cares when I’m watching the turtles and walking on pink tinted beaches? Made luscious apricot carrot muffins this morning and last night air lifted my first chocolate souffle. Feeling loud and proud! Love you all.
It would be difficult to compare all the benefits of Judy’s situation in Denver - amazing friends, meaningful work, a beautiful home, opportunities to ski - just to name a few but boy the weather here is certainly an improvement. Love you Jud!!
On or about 10 April 2008 my sweet friend Judy Becerra sent me a picture of her backyard in Denver CO. No text with the message but the picture spoke volumes. Brrr!!!
It’s 5 a.m. do you know where your children are? Anybody else remember that commercial? Seriously, it’s 5 a.m. what the hell am I doing up? Who knows. Wanted to let everyone know that we are off on charter for a week. We will be in the outer islands which means no blogging and no emails but please continue to communicate. It’s reassuring and heartwarming to click open missives from my pals when I return from the voyages. We will be back in Internet communication next Sunday. Love to all - T
You ever met those girls who didn’t like other girls, whose goal in life was to destroy, defame, disdain? Have you ever met those women who do not know how to show respect for others of their sex? Their fear and pain results in vainglory, competition and slanderous snips? There is no excuse for this violence and it is such violence. Acres of space must exist between this type and myself. A no trespassing sign stands at the edge of my sphere. No evil beyond this line shut the door as evil reaps only destruction. Now we all know there are men of this ilk but I do not dwell on those today. No I focus on the female ones who believe they must live in constant competition to stay on top, in control, above those they deem less. You might think there are no women such as these on this boat but you would be mistaken. This darkness comes in all forms and it lives here on this tiny bit of space. You might consider a 100’ foot boat a vast arena but when evil morphs it seeps into every crack until the impulse is to swim with sharks – it would feel safer.
It always strikes me odd where people will drag their children. We have all witnessed the 3 year old at the “R” rated movie, the 5 year old in the bar or how about the annual family sojourn in Vegas? Remember when the Vegas PR firms tried to sell that? Bugsy is rapidly rolling. Add one more destination to the pseudo kid friendly environs. Atlantis is touted as “the” resort in Nassau but to me it’s like taking LSD and heading to Disneyland with Vegas wrapped inside. Close your eyes and imagine thousands of drunk people with minimal clothing, garish lights, casino desperation and the hard sell at every turn? In its defense Atlantis comes with several extremely cool pools and one of the best aquariums on this side of the planet but do you really want to cart your children there? We were docked there one night and I’m still recovering. All right, I don’t have children – never have, never will – so maybe my disdain is unwarranted? Vacation is defined by dreams but this one gives me nightmares.
Who knew there were so many islands in the Bahamas. It proves the adage that to really know you must go. Yesterday was a full on thunderstorm and it looks like we are up for another one today. No matter, there is water all around and the marina is very protected. We have two owners onboard and three crew. Does the crew always have more fun than the owners?
It is Tuesday March 18 and we are lumbering away from Bimini. We are scheduled to dock at Chub Cay this evening and then on to Nassau tomorrow. We pick up the other set of owners on Friday having waved goodbye to the primary pair this morning. We are never sure how many guests will arrive in tow but for now we focus on the NOW. Now means lovely music drifting through the speakers, no uniforms and no performance anxiety. Not much happens in Bimini but the water is the full spectrum of azure blue and the angelfish are never far below the service. The tarpon are six feet long and hang out below the dock. The clarity of the sea is such that you can see the sand 20 feet below the waves. Today is windy running 10 to 15 knots. The spray flings itself onto the windows so much that the wipers are required even though it is not raining. We are cruising at 15 knots with no other boats in range. These cruising days are relaxing as the boat is rocking to the point that sitting upright is all one can do (or napping).
We finally are heading somewhere outside the bounds of the USA. Just a short 50 nautical miles east lie the islands of Bimini. We are prepared to depart on Tuesday or Wednesday depending on weather. It is not clear when we will return as the owners are not sure when they will return. It is possible we might be ‘stuck’ in the Bahamas for a month. A little bit of cleaning, a whole lot of cooking and some serious scuba. What will be lacking is a reliable Internet connection and what is expected to be exorbitant roaming charges on the phone. So be patient, send love and I’ll yak when I get back. Love to all - T
No one or Nothing and I do mean nothing can replace Wy. I still dream of the perfect dog God arrange especially for me. But we did have a brief visit from Mazzie, a 5-year-old golden retriever who comforted my longing heart.
Four people own a share of this vessel. The two primary owners are allergic (highly allergic) to dogs. The two secondary owners love their dog. Hm? What is the crew to do when on Thursday the secondary owners phone to say they will be arriving on Saturday for a week charter to the Keys with dog in tow? Yikes! They actually drove from New Orleans to Fort Lauderdale just to bring the dog – what is a girl to do? As everyone knows I’m in love with dogs so I would never have said no BUT as we all know when there is dog there is dog hair everywhere. And this dog is afraid of her shadow and does not like bathes – doesn’t even enjoy water – odd? But the dog was on board for one joyous week and I loved it. Now I’m not so in love with it as I find hair in the sink, in bathtub, in the engine room – she didn’t even go there. Can you imagine what will happen with the primary owners show up in March for the trip to Bimini and they start sneezing? We did alert them but who is going to hear about it when the dog hair comes floating off the ceiling? Did anyone else read the Nanny Diaries? It’s the Mazzie diaries on this vessel.
Welcome Julian! Well sort of at least for a bit, he only does day work. Our grouchy engineer is now being grouchy somewhere else. What a dust up. Crew is a sticky wicket. Remember all your roommate nightmares? Well they are revisited in loud refrain when you sign on for a yacht of certain dimension. Robb and I are forced to get along as we picked one another but crew joining us is wholly another matter. They choose to like us or not and at the end of the day, can’t we all be a bit insufferable at times? People are wiggy, all people are wiggy and working and living, 24/7, in a high performance oriented situation is a whole wiggyness in itself. Some boats run with 16 crew and more. Yikes, can you imagine? It would be like a wacky little village crammed together in a very small space. Let the drama commence. So Julian is joining us for a short time, not live aboard so Robb and I run around naked every chance we get. Ah the freedom of personal domain.
Little Palm Island
When we docked at Little Palm Island, a private 5 acres just 28 miles east of Key West, FL we encountered peaceful bliss. Our sojourn was limited to a couple of hours as the previous evening we were forced to take shelter by the nefarious waterspout. In this business one gets to enjoy the water, the sun and delightful islands absent of the roaring hordes.
Happy Valentine’s Day to us.
Last Sunday, Robb and I went to seek adventure. The Everglades are calling so we throw the bikes in the back and head west. The powers that be finally decided to protect a small portion of the Everglades and it is now a World Heritage site. All conservation issues aside for a moment, we took the 15-mile circuitous route through Shark Valley. No sharks just alligators by the dozens. All signs warm that humans are not to come more than 15 feet from the critters but sometimes it was tough. The alligators just lie by the road or in some cases on the road gazing right back at all the tourists. I tried to get a photo of the alligator threatening Robb with the mouth open hiss action but I was not quick enough. Alligators can ‘run’ up to 30 miles an hour for short distances but this alligator seemed no more impressed with Robb than a fly. Later on in the ride when I was too tired to take photos one alligator was laying right on the road. Robb wanders over flaunting danger and the alligator takes one look and turns around to present his bum. The birds are numerous and huge but the alligators are the star. Another day, another adventure.
Met with Charter Manager last night. That is distinct from the charter broker but for you who do not have at least $40,000 lying around to spend on vaca – do not bother. She was delightful. Of course every yachty meeting includes a bit of vino and the one we drank last evening was delightful. It is from the Klinker Brick Winery – 2005 Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel reasonably priced at $13.99. It is a layered wine with the first notes being deep rich cherry followed by an underlay of chocolate. Absolutely exquisite.
This date will live in infamy in my mind as this is the day when I launched into my new career. On 11 Nov 06, I received a phone call from a hither to stranger, Captain Robb Shannon. Little did I know that phone call would transform my existence as I knew it. Twenty four hours after hearing his voice for the first time, I would join Captain Robb Shannon on an adventure to Mexico. From the first day, after running into an anchor, getting sea sick and riding off into the Pacific Ocean life has never been the same. Change is scary but in a series of impulsive moments I took the plunge and I’m living on the water. I dreamed about it before but never imagined it would come to fruition. It’s not a perfect life, no life is, but it is stunning.