A Deckhand’s Day!

It occurred to me last night when I couldn’t sleep that I could do a post describing a little more fully what I do each day and week!

I mean, you could be forgiven for thinking that a deckie’s life revolves round sun and wine! Certainly the sun has an influence. Access to the latter is a bonus by no means allowed on all yachts! But I’m lucky in as much as my captain this year is pretty relaxed as long as the work is done and we’re capable of doing our job. I’m not much of a night owl in general so it’s no trouble for me! I get up early, knock out the work, then chill.

So this is a list, by no means exhaustive, that I keep in my phone. I do these things on a daily or weekly basis.

As you can imagine the stress levels are WAY down compared to nursing! Straight forward jobs, great view, nice weather. Not bad at all!

Of course, when the Boss and his family is on board it’s full on and long hours. But they’re really lovely and actually don’t use the boat that much.

In case you noticed the few interior memos thrown in there, I’m a deckhand but our cook /stewardess is not a good time manager. So I do most of that too. I really don’t know what she does with her time. It seems to take her all day to do (sometimes) two meals, usually only one as we have lunch leftovers for dinner. And do a wee bit of dusting occasionally. The only time she does proper stewardess stuff is the day after a Boss trip, when there’s usually enough food left over to feed an army, so she has to clean all the cabins. Even then if it involves making beds, I end up redoing them! Without her knowing! She doesn’t have the eye for detail.

She’s a teacher but I’m buggered if I know how she kept up. It takes her hours to meal plan alone. I did that while running up and down corridors getting theatre equipment, in my head, then shopped on the way home and did 3 meals each day for 3 people and anyone who turned up. Plus homework, animals etc etc. So a childless teacher should be able to cope with this light job. But apparently not.

Anyway, rant over.

Port Pierre Canto, where we’re based, is a nice port, though a wee way from Cannes Central. It takes half an hour to walk to the train station or the old town where most of the bars and restaurants are. The bus is good. €1.50 each way. Our berth is in a top spot. We berth stern to the dock, so our view is over Cannes Bay and city. Perfect for the fire works! It’s a small skip over the sea wall to go snorkeling after work and cool off. The crew on the neighbouring ships are good value and I often get together with them after work. The cook goes off with her “beau”, as she calls her South African sailor bf. Cute?!

Today I learned how to change the filters in the water maker. Very easy. Easier than the system we had in Darfield! Seawater gets turned into drinking water through osmosis. Saves me stressing about getting the tanks filled when we’re anchoring.

This is a pic of the local constabulary going about their business. Some of you have seen this, but yes, they really do wear thong bikinis and budgies! In fact the guys usually don’t bother with a T shirt either. Rather too much information, often! You only know they’re cops coz of the tender they’re in!

We had a decent storm over the weekend. It was meant to be days off for us and both the others had gone ashore. So I was on board alone. This meant that when the wind got up I was here to put the springs on, when the power cut, it was up to me to sort that out! So my days off were peppered with boat jobs! Not to mention a bloody shite hawk (seagull) majorly pooped on my clean deck.

But it was a nice relaxing weekend. And I rather like thunder and lightening storms. I sat up here on the fly deck watching until the wind started driving the rain in.

I miss everyone at the moment. Maybe because my boys are so close and yet so far! In Athens!

3+ months on Lucky Wave

The season is flying by! Only two months to go and I’ll be staring at the reality of my Yacht Masters Offshore course! I’ve started the online component, which I must say is pretty easy, and have averaged 98.85% after 7 modules/tests. So this part of it isn’t causing me much stress. I have this weekend off so will do some more.

Fireworks season has got under way since I last blogged, beginning with the Bastille Day celebrations. Stunning display.

The fly bridge is a marvelous place to watch from, wine in hand naturally.

We did a day trip to Beaulieu sur Mer, anchoring and playing with the toys. Fun for me as well as the family! We had 5 adults and 4 kids on board, also for our next trip, to St Tropez overnight. They loved it and both trips counted as successful missions! They had dinner ashore in St Tropez so I did two evening runs in the tender to pick them up. No problems. There’s literally hundreds of vessels anchored outside the port entrance at St Tropez. One of the kids asked how I could find the ship in the dark, so I explained about taking a bearing going into port and reversing it going out! He’s a great lad, full of questions and interested in how we run the boat.

I’ve got to know one of the local freelance captains, Max, and we went out for dinner earlier this week. Good company and great to converse freely with a Frenchman with a global view! He taught me a lot about the politics of France, their medical system and why their attitudes differ so much to the rest of Europe. It was a fantastic evening out.

I’ve got to know the health system a bit for myself the last 10 days! As you know I hurt my nose a couple of months ago. It hasn’t healed properly so I invoked the ship’s insurance policy and trotted of to the doctor. An x-ray, CT scan and specialist visit later, I now know I broke it in two places and the left side is so messed up the ORL doc couldn’t get a scope up it.

He got out this gorgeous wee scope and I went “oooh, nice scope”. My theatre nurse friends will understand my appreciation. He laughed and said “I don’t usually get that response when I bring this out! It’s usually apprehensive fear”. So I had to explain I’m not JUST a sailor!

Anyway he’s given me four different revolting substances to shove or spray up my nostrils and wants to see how it settles in two months. Suits me. I’m too busy now to have surgical intervention. How compliant I am with his goop remains to be seen. I’ve been good so far but it’s only day 2!

There are truly enormous sea gulls here. We call them shite hawks because they make a hell of a mess on our shiny boats! One has just decorated my foredeck – on my day off, the bastard. So I can’t resist cleaning that off. Why can’t they perch on the perfectly good trees everywhere? At least it isn’t as hot to work outside today. It’s only about 28 I think. Yesterday was 36 with 70% humidity.

Over and out till next time!

Les Iles de Lerins

I’m currently basking in the glow of getting two days off in a row. First time since joining Lucky Wave.

I booked myself an Airbnb for the two nights, intent on being able to starfish in a big bed. Alone. Without getting woken up during the night, either by inconsiderate crew or banging my knees and elbows on the bulkhead or deckhead! (Yes, my bed is that small!)

Blissful barely begins to describe going to bed at 8pm and sleeping till I want, taking coffee back to bed and reading till 10am! And being able to ring and chat to everyone without watching my language!

That’s really about all I’ve done. Lazy in the extreme. I have a small excuse I’m going to chuck out there! I think my nose is not right after my argument with the door in Cyprus. Its not healing up totally and I think I may have a bit of infection. Tossing up whether or not to use my antibiotics. You know, be a good nurse and self diagnose/treat instead of sensibly trotting to the GP!

Anyway, I digress. I’ve limited myself to one bottle of wine a day. Half on the beach and half in the evening. Such a struggle. I really hope my liver appreciates this effort. And healthy food.

Tapenade counts, right?!

I also decided to visit the islands that are here in the Bay of Cannes, which we takes guests to all the time but never set foot on. The two main ones are the Ile St. Marguerite and the Ile St Honorat. Both have incredible history, dating from before Christ. (There’s another debate! Why we date our centuries based on one bloke who may or may not have existed! Maybe I shouldn’t go there!) Anyway I got the ferry to the former and spent a few hours exploring. Along with half of Cannes! It’s a popular spot, because history aside, there’s a big pine forest and lots of picnic spots, so a very lovely place to go.

I got my ticket (€6) into the Fort and trotted off. As I said the earliest parts date to a few years BC and AC, there’s a strong Roman history, and then various arguments between France and Spain, until the most popularised history of the “man in the Iron mask” during the reign of Louis XIVth.

The museum was very interesting and well done. The cells where they kept high profile prisoners, including the elusive unnamed man, were surprisingly large but very secure! The bars on the windows were made of three offset sets, so you couldn’t throw anything through them. Never mind get out!

A lot of the art and depictions have been done by school students. They were thoughtfully portrayed and imaginative. The scientific part was good but did sneak into the subjective when covering theories of the identity of the Man in the iron mask!

All in all, it was a good experience and one I’d recommend. After doing the touristy thing in 30+ degrees of humid heat, I headed for the beach and a swim.

Later my French teacher/friend, Aly, joined me for a wee while before he went to work. We practised each others languages. I think he gets more laughs out of my attempts! But, hey, at least I try. Captain Paul’s been here donkeys years and has almost no French, plus the most excruciating accent. Doesn’t even try! Aly says my pronunciation is pretty good, so propos to my St Mag’s French teacher! What was her name? Mrs Scannell? Scary MF, she was!

So here I am, reflecting on my months in France this year. Pretty good really. Life’s not bad! Typical Kiwi understatement. Wish Matt and Danny could get here. Doesn’t look like I’ll get to Athens, sadly. Nature of the industry. But I reckon we might have to plan a sailing trip together. Round Corsica. Yep!

Day Off – Hooray!

It’s July 5th and I’ve been in Europe for over 3 months now. Well, not technically “in Europe” but on this side of the world and gainfully earning my keep again!

We’re now based in Port Canto, Cannes, as I was last year, and have a few Boss trips under our belt. That means the owner and his family has been out with us. They’re lovely, a rarity in this business really. So I’m very grateful. Such nice people and seem to truly appreciate that we try to give them a great experience on their new boat. Makes a lot of other minor irritations fade away.

We’ve done a couple of day trips and one to Italy, with another longer Italian trip planned this coming week. The weather forecast is a little inclement, not enough to put the average Kiwi off, but defs enough to scare my captain. I think I’ve mentioned his abilities before so I won’t digress! I’m learning to live with that. Yes, boys, my patience is getting a work out. And my fellow Kiwi and cook on board has less than me. I count that a win for me!

Jo joined us after Amy quit, unable to tolerate the situation on board, and having been offered her old job. Can’t say I blame her. If I had something better to go to I would too. But I’m realistic. Nurse jobs are few and far between and most captains put me in the stewardess box, sooo not me. I’m happy on deck, albeit for less money than I deserve, haha!

Jo is an ex school teacher. Intermediate and high school science, so another smart girl driven away from her NZ profession by stupid beaurocracy (I think my French and English are merging right now!) and red tape, with the actual job coming second.

My French is doing better. At least this year, people seem to understand me and help me try. I’ve also made a French friend, a local, who’s making me only use French with him. Eventually that will help, I’m sure! He only lets me off when I’m obviously bursting with frustration!

I’ve caught up with lots of friends, had some great time outs with Ruth and made the most of my few days off!

Today I’ve been organising my leave for doing my yacht masters and diving courses. Fingers crossed it’ll all work out.

Meantime, trucking on! Loving the Summer!