My Top 3 Highs of Working on a Super Yacht
1) Watching dolphins bow riding the yacht’s wake
Being out in the vastness of the sea and hearing the call on our radios that dolphins were around always brought a sense of urgency and excitement to the crew, even the more salty sea dogs. Watching these incredible creatures bow riding the waves with such effortless ease and grace, darting left and right, diving deeper and then breaching the white wash, was always an incredible sight. Their almost human-like facial expressions and deep dark eyes would captivate us whilst they graced us with their presence. It is a picture that I often think of and will stay with me as one of those very special life moments.
2) Time on deck alone when underway
I worked with some incredible crew and am not a social recluse, however living with people in relatively close living quarters, to have time on your own can be magic. Some of my highlights were leaving the South of France en route to Corsica when on anchor duty and we left our anchor spot. The foredeck was empty and on the horizon sat the most perfect golden sun as it slowly descended. I had wind in my face and the sound of the yacht’s bow slicing through the waves. As I sat there I savoured every moment as the sun drew a close to another day.
There were also times when I would sit on the top deck (it had three) and watch the sun set over the vast expanse of white wash created by the yacht. From this elevation it felt as though I had a bird’s eye view over its wake and the distant horizon and sunset.
Other memorable times were standing just outside the bridge on the many night passages of an Atlantic Ocean crossing, hearing the waves running along the side and looking up to the most brilliant stars I have ever seen. This was an incredible spectacle, making me appreciate not only the vastness of the world but the incredible simplistic beauty that lies around us, something we so often take for granted.
These were all magical moments experienced from incredible surroundings of the yacht, taking me to some of the most wonderful, and at times most peaceful places in the world.
3) Swimming with turtles
This was a childhood dream for me and something I had always wanted to do having seen one in an aquarium. One of my crew located the turtles who seemed to be attracted to some underwater grass. I first heard a chewing noise before seeing the dark figure on the sea bed. Slowly approaching the turtle I hovered above. He seemed weary of me but not scared and the distance between us seemed to provide him some comfort.
Chewing the sea grass he would regularly twist his long aged neck to look at me as though checking out my intentions. I pushed my luck and dived down for a closer look and as the water flowed into my snorkel it made a bubbling noise causing the turtle to look up, and with a big swish of its large front legs it shot off. I followed, kicking my legs and flippers as hard as I could, but it glided away with such grace, effortlessly moving through the water. I kicked as hard as I could until I could hold my breath no more…as I came to the surface I saw the dark figure glide into the even darker abyss. It was an incredible sight to witness a turtle in its natural environment, this prehistoric looking creature that appears so well suited to living at sea but cumbersome when waddling up the beach.
I feel very fortunate to have witnessed so much wildlife during my time away, such an incredibly positive element to the whole experience and one I truly relished.
Whilst planning to only choose my top three experiences I felt I could not fail to mention some of the memories I made from time spent with my crew. Working closely with people in such an intimate way is a challenge for anyone and I was always so lucky with those I was fortunate to work with. There is certainly a mundane element to some of this work, cleaning a yacht can wear thin, but so often we would have some of the best laughs during these more mundane times.
There was certainly a great camaraderie and banter. We had some fantastic meals out as a crew, went to several lovely beach clubs, spent some amazing days exploring new and exciting places and experienced many highs and lows together. It can at times be challenging and there will be disagreements, but it is people that make daily life more interesting and fulfilling, and working together in such close proximity has far more positives than negatives. I have some very happy memories and know they would not shine so brightly were it not for the fantastic crew I shared so many of these experiences with.
For more information about working on a super yacht Ben has written Work on a Super Yacht: The Beginners Guide and created www.workonasuperyacht.co.uk.