|Location: Simpson Bay, St. Maarten|
|Local time: Sunday, 6pm|
Snorkeling, diving, and jet-skiing. That's when I wasn't polishing something. Being a deckhand can have its perks. (Much better than being a stewardess and being stuck inside cleaning toilets and making beds all day).
A typical day for me on the boat would begin at 6am, when the 4 or 5 of us deckhands would have to chamois (read: "shammy") down the boat from front-to-back, top-to-bottom. Being a 63m/208ft boat with five levels, this can take at least an hour-and-a-half. Then there's all the cushion covers that have to come off (the exterior cushions are covered every night, and EVERY time it rains), the guests' food stains on the deck that have to be removed, and the glass has to be spotless. Then it's a very welcome breakfast break. The rest of the day is taken up with runs to and from shore for the guests, and perhaps various water-sports activities etc. Each one of these of course involves fresh water rinsing and cleaning afterwards. And, being winter in the Caribbean, it's likely to rain once every couple hours, in which case there'll be a frantic "Covers! Covers!" call over the radio (our own personal 'ball-and-chain'), meaning we all drop what we're doing and try and cover up all the cushions. Then chamois the boat again - that damned rain leaves water marks everywhere. (It's ironic that on an 80-million-dollar boat, water is the biggest enemy).
Here's a bunch of photos taken from St. Maarten and during my time on the boat.
For sale: one island shack. Needs some love, and a lawn mower.
It's not all five-star hotels in the Caribbean.
One version of the corner store.
They love to put messages on their vehicles here...
... or go overboard with custom styling! (The bike on the right is a V8 Harley).
Pet transport, island-style.
The KLM jumbo jet coming in to land at the local airport, over my favourite beach on the island - Mullet Bay.
St. Maarten's international airport is the closet in the world the public can get to a 747 during take-off.
It's fun to watch the tourists get sand-blasted by the jet wash.
The sign few people seem to take much notice of.
The Fort Lauderdale skyline in the distance.
Anchored in the Caribbean.
The Baths in Virgin Gorda (BVIs) - a series of sheltered pools on the beach.
Nevis, outside the Four Seasons resort. Very swanky.
We spotted a Humpback breaching whilst underway in the Caribbean Sea.
(Unfortunately I keep my camera in the very cold, air-conditioned cabin, so when
I took it outside, the lenses fogged up and consequently this shot suffered.
I've fixed it up in Photoshop the best I can.)
A group of them put on quite a show for us. (The lens was starting to clear now, thankfully)
Me jumping from the top of the boat. It's a looong way down!
Jase, a mate in Auckland, sent me this shot of his little boat being just about run over by a freighter in Devonport.
He and his yacht survived thankfully, but what a photo!
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