Newly Single and about to spend 3 weeks in the Abacos…

Where do I begin??? All of the fun, adventure, generosity, bonding, laughs, new friendships and overall ‘time of my life moments’ that happened on this trip were a complete surprise. There are plenty of opportunities to party when working on the super yachts but for me, 9 times out 10, I will decline the late night drinking and go straight to bed, even with this amazing group of clients. They are so much fun and love for the crew to be part of the whole experience with them, it’s so awesome. But knowing that I have another 16 hour day ahead of me keeps me in at night, the majority of the time. Plus this trip was three weeks with three sets of clients rotating in; I was not planning on doing anything but resting in between. What I hadn’t factored in was that it had been exactly one month since my man and I had broken up and although I was booked with work the whole month to keep my mind occupied, I was really sad.

When you’re the Sole Stewardess and Mate on a 75 foot yacht, it can get lonely especially when you’re like me and go straight to bed most nights. Honestly, all of my boat owners and their friends treat me as if I was family; it’s the best feeling in the world. Most of them are couples or families and although I chat with them here and there throughout the day, hang with them from time to time or even venture out solo once in a while, it’s still just me at the end of the day. Please don’t feel bad for me though, I am one of the happiest and most blessed people I know but when someone was in your life for almost two years and then all of a sudden, in flash, they’re gone, it’s sad, even when the breakup was kind and mutual.

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So here I am, Thursday, June 14th, 2018 on a plane to the Abacos staring out the window stuck in my own mind, letting go, reflecting and shedding tears, all good stuff. It was now time to be single again and I was beginning to be OK with it. The Captain (one of my favs) picked me up at the airport and we headed straight to the grocery store to provision. From there we took a taxi to the waterfront where his son, our dynamic Mate, was waiting with the tender to take us to Green Turtle Cay to meet the big boat. The rest of the day was spent unloading supplies and getting the yacht ready for the guests who were to arrive on Saturday. Here I am happily working away, not for one second thinking we would be doing anything but working and the boss says, “If we get all of our chores done by mid day Friday, then we can have the afternoon off.”

What, I just got here…..yahooooo!!! Here’s the kicker, this crew had lived there for 10 years which meant they knew every waterway, back road, fun watering holes, the best snorkel spots, restaurants, hidden beaches and tons of locals. I had no idea I was about to experience these places, several times, I just thought I was here to work for 3 weeks. The next day we packed a cooler for the tender and the three of us plus the Mate’s childhood friend, who was born and raised on Green Turtle Cay, (pronounced Key) headed out for the day.

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Our first stop was Munjock Cay where you snorkel with sting rays, turtles and nurse sharks in water that is an indescribable color of blue. You just pull your boat right up to the sand, throw the anchor and jump right in. I was in complete awe of the water and wasn’t scared one bit while snorkeling right past them. Two years prior I was terrified of the water, grew up watching ‘Jaws’ too many times but after a little coaxing from my ex, decided to face my fears, earned my dive certification and just like that, I wasn’t scared anymore. Guess after seeing what was down there, it wasn’t so frightening after all.

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The next destination was to No Name Cay an uninhabited island just south of Green Turtle. There you will find the Abacos version of Pig Island, ‘Piggyville’. There were tons of them running around the feeding station that was built for them all sniffing out what they did and did not want to eat. They are some picky eaters too and the big ones, evil, they will run right over the little ones and take their food. There are many different theories about how they ended up there, but no one really knows for sure, either way they were malnourished and dehydrated. Then years ago, apparently a local named Craig heard about the pigs, visited the island, fell in love and took it upon himself to make two trips a week with food and water. Between him, the tourist and Sunset Marine on Green Turtle, who donated a 2000 gallon fresh water tank, all the piggies are thriving.

This was day two of my three week paid job in the Abacos. I love my career and all the people in it who make my life that much more blessed!! The best part of this trip was that 90% of the places we went to were by boat, not car, which is now my favorite way to travel. After hanging with the pigs we headed for some food at Pineapples on Green Turtle followed by a bit of dancing at Sundowner’s before heading in for a good night’s rest. The first round of owners were arriving the next morning for five days so it was important to be sharp and full of energy. Make sure to tune in for my next story, there are still 19 days left of my trip with so many more adventures to tell you about!

How I ended up living on a yacht in Montauk the summer of 2018!!!

To my readers who were expecting to read about my flight with Lindsey Lohan, I am sorry. Up until now I’ve been catching you up on my past but I need to fast forward to 2018 for the moment. We will return to where I left off in 2003 when I was working as a Corporate Flight Attendant, but for the next few episodes I need to tell you about how I ended up going from a front office clerk to being paid to live on a yacht in Montauk all summer.

Three years ago I gave up my stable, 6 year desk job to pursue a life on the super yachts. It was not easy. I worked in filthy shipyards, washed down boats all day long for $15 an hour and worked as a Stew on a totally illegal boat where marijuana smoked filled rooms were the norm and the Captain was always drunk, just to mention a few. What I discovered that stifling hot summer of 2015 was this quiet and huge community of yachts below 100 feet who were always in need of good, part time help.

That and this great job placement website that doesn’t make you fill out a lengthy on line profile and won’t ask your age. With most yacht placement companies you have to complete a pretty extensive, on line application, which includes disclosing your age. A 43 year old aspiring Jr. Stewardess with no experience are not what most headhunters are looking for, I know, I worked at one of those agencies for 6 years. Trying to find work that way was a waste of time, I would have to figure how get on those yachts by myself.

The majority of the work posted on this site was for yachts between 60 and 90 feet with short term contracts and typically US flagged which meant they can only hire US crew. Turns out this part of the market was in desperate need of someone like me!!! So every day I would read their newest job ads, send my resumes, follow up, interview, network and wait. Facebook was a big help too, acquired a few jobs from posting there. I did this everyday for months landing a few detailing jobs or day charters but then nothing would come of it.

Apparently the ‘freelance’ help they tended to get were always either showing up wasted, not at all or getting hammered with the clients. These poor Captains had to frantically search for a Stew/Mate when it was time to take a trip because for that size range, owners would typically only keep Captains on full time. They would need to find someone who was not only fantastic with hospitality and housekeeping but also someone to help the Captain with navigation and the exterior duties. Here I come, older yes, but fit, eager, desperate and with a killer work ethic, common sense, endless energy, a constant smile and a tiny bit of work on deck.

I was happy to clean engine rooms, babysit kids, cook, walk dogs, jump off the boat to secure lines when no one was at the dock to help, you name it, I did it. Plus my party days were behind me, I still have fun but when I’m working, I tone it down. Showing up early and not hungover was highly appreciated but the work still wasn’t consistent! For six months I stressed every day and wondered if I had made the right move. All I wanted was a shot to show them what I had to offer even though I was brand new to the industry.

Then one day, my hard work paid off. The work just kept coming in and all by referral. By month 8 I had a fleet of 70 foot (give or take) yachts keeping me busy, each a few days a month, sometimes more. I loved it. Freelance was the best, there was no living in small quarters like sardines with a bunch of people you may or may not get along with and I didn’t have to move out of my cute one bedroom duplex where I had been for 5 years. Business was booming and I was continually learning new skills.

By July 2016, the one year mark as my own boss, I was constantly on the road working from yacht to yacht therefore it was time to give up my duplex that I was never in and live on the road for a while. I downsized, put a few things in storage and decided to try and live out of my suitcase for one year. Never once did I wonder where I would live or how I would survive…no idea what I was thinking. It turned out to be a great decision though because that one year on the road turned into two, then 3….but I don’t want to spoil the end.

What’s crazy is that the week me place was rented and i had no where to live but ended up meeting a wonderful man on Tinder while on a job in the St. Maarten. He was like no one I’d ever dated before and lived between the Islands and Europe working on his computer as an IT expert. After a one week romance, he asked me to move my suitcase aboard and give love a try. You’ll hear more about him later.

The few times I needed a couch to surf on back in Laudy I had my  niece, good friends, my parents in Indiana and my new man’s catamaran in St. Maarten, his condo in Gibralter or the various places he would fly me too. Those stories I will get to later, you’ll just have to keep tuning in…

Now having a long distance relationship can go many ways depending on the couple and the circumstances. Dating me with my crazy travel schedule required a confidant man and one that I could have faith in as well. But with the “Best Boyfriend Ever” (BBE) by my side, we made it work, from different parts of the world, for almost 2 years. Overtime the week’s apart slowly turned into months apart and then we started to drift apart. From June 2017 to March 2018 we had only spent a total of 9 weeks together, but it worked for us, so we kept going. Our last trip was two weeks in Australia after almost 3 months of separation and we had a blast, everything was looking up. Then a few weeks after our trip, I received two job offers for this summer I couldn’t refuse. Taking them would mean at least another 4 months away from my man and there wasn’t much time to make a decision.

The first offer was 3 weeks in the Abacos with one of my busiest and most fun boats. These clients were all from the Midwest and treated me like family. Always inviting the crew along to have drinks or dinner, which was great, but up to this point, I would usually decline so that I could get a good night’s sleep. Yachting days are minimum 12 hours since we are typically up before the clients and still going strong well past dinner time. Little did I know at that point that my no partying rule while working doesn’t apply when in the Bahamas. (details in my next episode) After that I had two days to repack and get my things in order before moving onto job offer number two, three months on Long Island, two of them in Montauk.

It was ideal; I would live on the boat alone with the owner’s only coming on the weekends and get to spend my summer in the hottest spot in New York. For this gypsy child living out of her suitcase, this meant 4 months of free housing, not having to couch surf and all the food I could eat for free, how could I say no????

I accepted both offers and then broke the news to my man. At first we figured we could handle it, but then something changed and before you knew, we broke up. I was sad, not like I was in the past, when I was younger because by the time you hit your 40’s you tend to get used to stuff ending. You learn to take it in stride, almost become numb to it. But for good or bad reasons, it’s never easy to let someone go who was your best friend for 2 years. He seemed to always be on the other end of the line waiting for a chance to rescue the girl who never asked for anything, no matter where I was in the world….my Knight in Shining Armor. Plus, I was not looking forward to being single again. Before him, I was solo for 5 years, yep, long time and I was happy single, but I was also happy in my relationship.

So here I am, just turned 46 with a very successful career, the best body of my life and now the freedom to be fun and flirty with other boys…hello summer 2018!!!!