|Location: Golfe Juan, French Riviera|
|Local time: Sunday, 6pm|
Back in the south of France (since early August). Very familiar territory for me by now. It's good to be speaking a little French again too (I felt like I was getting nowhere with that next-to-impossible Estonian language!).
We moved straight into a new crew house near Antibes. A big step up from staying in a cramped caravan in a camping ground, as we did last year. And since they were having a rather uncomfortable heatwave when we arrived, it was nice to have access to a swimming pool, and the beach across the road. And as it turned out, they needed a web site, so that's where I stepped in. Thus after creating www.debbiescrewhouse.com, I managed to get free rent for the both of us. That definitely helps the finances in this expensive country, when jobless.
But the jobless situation didn't last too long. Krista scored a temporary three-week position aboard a 90m new yacht in Spain. Then a week later I managed to get what has turned out to be the best job I've had in the yachting industry. I'm now running a small 15m (50ft) Sunseeker Superhawk (limited edition) luxury motor yacht, called "Lightning". If Boy Racers drove boats, this is the sorta thing they'd own. Awesome sound systems inside and out (including subwoofers), and with three 420hp diesel engines, it's capable of almost 50 knots (90kph). However it also has all the onboard systems of your average superyacht (but in a much more compact size), meaning I'm having to fast become an engineer, read manuals and climb around engine rooms, dive beneath the boat to check intakes and fix bow thrusters, etc etc. Fun stuff.
Since it has a kitchen, bathroom and cabin etc, I'm living on board. The (billionnaire Russian) boss also owns a 50m yacht called "Thunder B", which is docked in the same port as me. Thus I use the big boat to do my laundry, have meals with the crew etc. Essentially I'm a luxury taxi driver, for the two villas he owns here on the coast. When I get a phone call, I go and pick up guests and perhaps drive them to Italy for lunch (burning through a thousand euros of gas in the process), or out into the bay of Cannes to watch the fireworks one evening. I might only get a call-out once a week, but the boat has to be clean and fueled and stocked with drinks etc and ready to go at short notice. Thus I'm working a normal working week with weekends off, but am on call 24/7. Small price to pay really. Especially since it's the best money I've ever made (surpassing my IT salary back in NZ), it's tax-free, and I have no living expenses.
But we still plan on heading to NZ this Christmas, travelling through Asia along the way. Thus it's not going to be a long-term position. So until then I'll enjoy it and learn as much as I can from it. It'll definitely look good on my CV should I choose to continue in yachting at some point.
I've also hooked up with my old music buddy over here, and we're playing up to three gigs a week. So between that and the boat I've been fairly busy lately. Thus I'll just let the photos do the rest of the talking...
My new ride.
Should try some wakeboarding with her one day.
Call me Captain.
Thunder B and some of the crew. Those black holes on each corner are the exhausts for the boat's
center engine, which is gas turbine driven, much like a jet plane. It enables the Thunder to reach a
max speed of 37 knots. Not bad for a 50m superyacht.
It kinda looks like something out of a Batman comic.
Climbing around inside the engine room. Space is so limited here it can be really tricky to do anything.
Some of the fireworks over Cannes a few weeks ago.
A few weeks ago in an outdoor night market beside a strip of bars and cafes in Antibes, I asked an African lady if I could have a go playing
one of her djembe drums for sale in her stall. By the end of my little jam session there were piles of people standing around cheering,
two other drummers had turned up, and the lady was so impressed that when I went to hand her the drum back, she said I could keep it.
(and in case you're wondering, I have no idea what the girl in thephoto is doing or wearing)
Later that same evening...
Time to chill after a day working in the sun.
Lying around on Lightning's aft deck.
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