Those reading carefully will know that I left the UK aiming to get to Australia without flying, leading me to create a music video CV that, posted on Facebook, led to a job oiffer on a superyacht crossing the Atlantic. But the offer was for a permanent position. I was ready to decline it, but was tempted by the scuba diving part of the job. After all, I was looking for a new career. I took the job with a mind open to the long haul, accepting that I may discover it wasn’t for me.
It wasn’t for me
Firstly, there was a misunderstanding about the diving; they did have a compressor and a dozen sets of equipment, but it was now a sad Scubapro graveyard, no longer used for insurance reasons. I thought back and realised I had never been explicitly offered a diving job. In the phone interview the Captain had said my Instructor credentials would be useful, and an old listing I found online mentioned the boat was a dive centre. The rest I may well have wishfully constructed.
Deckhand / Dive Instructor
So I got on with it. But I noticed I wasn’t as excited as others to be serving on this superyacht. I wasn’t as impressed with its size, its curves or technology. I didn’t find it beautiful – it was just a boat, really. Others did – and somehow that helped, to know that others loved it meant it wasn’t the boat or the people – it was I that wasn’t right for this.
If I was ten years younger, maybe I would have stuck it out longer. No living expenses, a generous tax free wage, and a career eventually promising three months on and three months off – after about ten years in the business. Or, just do a few years and buy some property or set up a business. But in the meantime, you give every part of yourself to it, and that I can’t justify right now. I have a girlfriend in Australia, and friends and family all over. While modern technology keeps us in touch, nothing replaces sharing life by sharing experiences. Pausing life to sit in front of a webcam just doesn’t do it. Each day apart is a sacrifice that needs to be justified. Sure, I had been choosing these sacrifices through travelling anyway, but it was for a mission and end goal that felt worth it.
Handing in my notice
So I did hand in my notice, citing the diving confusion as the reason, and served out the remaining four weeks of the charter we had onboard. The captain was very understanding about it, saying that “you work to live, you don’t live to work”. True, and at the moment I “ live at work”, I thought to myself. The next four weeks I tried my best to keep motivated, although I found myself tired, unable to concentrate and eating more than I needed to.
The job itself was a challenge for all the reasons you might expect. It had been a while since I have walked into a job without knowing how to do anything. Most of the time I have something to offer – computer skills, using sound equipment, something. With the exception of 15 minutes when I made an awful sounding Russian karaoke system bearable, I was being patiently instructed on the finer points of polishing and cleaning every 10 minutes.
Bahamas, Cuba and Florida
From Nassau, we cruised down the Bahamas and Exumas, via Staniel Cay and Long Island, before spending a week in Cuba, anchoring in Santiago, Trinidad and Cayo Largo before finishing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where the boat will be until late March available for charter.
All in all I learnt a lot in those short six weeks. Knots, mooring, charts, cleaning, driving jet skiis, and even a jet boat at one point. But I also learnt more about what I want from life, and how I react in certain situations. In that way it was an invaluable experience that I would not change. I am grateful to everyone on that boat and appreciate fully what an opportunity it was.
Onward and downward
Over the next few days I hope to catch up to where I am now, in Belize en route to Guatemala, with the eventual goal of reaching Colon, Panama on the 6th March. But I will leave those details for the next post…