|Location: Poole, England|
|Local time: Saturday, 7:46pm|
|Music: Trance, of course|
I was almost ready to throw in the towel, to call it quits and maybe return to NZ in search of another job. After two and a half months of looking for work I was finding it difficult to maintain a positive outlook, when others had already given up and gone home. So much talk about the credit crunch, the reduction in luxury spending (ie. the superyacht industry), crews taking pay cuts or being made redundant... it was all painting a fairly bleak outlook for my job prospects. And then, in the 11th hour, I got a job. And not a rubbish "I'll-take-what-I-can-get-coz-I'm-now-desperate" job, but a great one. First Mate (second-in-command) on a brand new 34m superyacht, to be based year-round in France (and just down the road from where I've been living up till now). Thus I can most-likely still play the weekly music gigs I've been doing (when we're not away on a trip), and still even go to my same gym. Good money (tax-free, so I don't have to pay 'the man' any of my hard-earned Euros), great crew (six in total), and an amazing top-of-the-line yacht with all the toys and latest and greatest technology. Stoked!
I'm now in Poole (pop. 140,000), on the south coast of England, staying with the crew in a nice water-side apartment (luxurious when compared to my previous place in France). The boat is in its finishing stages in the boat yard, and we should hopefully be moving aboard in the next few days, and leaving for France soon after. You can see what she looks like here (not our boat, but the same model). I've been ordering various supplies for the boat (cleaning products, lines, flags, anchors - all sorts of stuff), working through ever-expanding to-do lists, and trying to be the Captain's right-hand-man.
My crew of six is made up of two Brits, two Swedes, and two Kiwis. All a good bunch, which is important when you have to work and live and eat and even sleep with them (no, get your mind out of the gutter - it's always two to a cabin on superyachts). The Kiwi chef used to live in Buckingham Palace and cook for the Queen. So the food's not too bad on-board.
In other news, about a month ago I was given the opportunity to play at an awards dinner during the Monaco Grand Prix. I provided percussion and backing vocals for one of the headline acts, Australian Mat Dadian (who became a good friend). The other headliner was Kymani Marley - Bob Marley's son, with three albums to his name. He was performing as an acoustic two-piece with his band's guitarist. Since they didn't have any percussion, they asked me to step in and lay down some beats, for which they were really grateful afterwards. It was a special moment for me, playing No Woman No Cry and a few other classics with the son of a legend. He even sounded like Bob.
Next week is a big week. We all move into our new floating home, and set sail on the almost-4000km 10-day journey to the sunny Mediterranean. I'll speak to you then.
Goofing off in the south of France.
M/Y Rising Sun, owned by Oracle boss Larry Ellison. At 138m long, it's the 6th largest superyacht in the world.
There's even a crew member dedicated solely to cleaning the glass.
The stage setup for the awards evening. Not a bad spot.
Looking out below at the superyachts anchored off Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Bob Marley's son, Kymani, his guitarist Brian, and me (in my muso hat), chilling outside the hotel before the gig.
Matt and I playing around after the gig.
A poor quality photo, but this is me jamming with Kymani Marley, singing "No Woman No Cry".
Something to tell the grandkids one day, I reckon.
Some of the models from the event. Afterwards, we took them out to a nightclub, very aptly named the "Billionaire's Club". Huge fancy club with great music,
but it's hard to impress the girls when you can't even afford to buy them a beer, which were being flogged off at a sickening 60 euros a bottle.
The new ride. The hotel carpark was rammed full of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches, Bentleys, you name it...
The pretty port of San Remo, Italy, where I spent a few days working on a friend's boat.
A well-cared-for CitroŽn 2CV. It doesn't get much more French than this.
Ah yes, it's all glamour, beauty and wealth here in the French Riviera.
The 40m M/Y Peri, on the rocks in Beaulieu Sur Mer, after dragging anchor at 2am one
morning when the wind got up. No excuses for it really.
A small day-charter yacht that I did a photo shoot for, to use in advertising brochures etc.
The local Antibes beach, affectionately known by yachties and antipodean locals as the "toilet bowl".
Because most of the beaches around the Cote d'Azur are stoney, at the beginning of each summer sand is imported from North Africa and spread over
the most frequented spots. It sits there throughout the season and slowly fills up with cigarette butts and other crap left by tourists, and hence becomes
a bit of a nasty 'toilet bowl'. Like I said, it's glamourous around these parts.
78m M/Y Montkaj at the dock in Antibes.
A sign of the times. It's been a tough season to find work.
The rear end of 86m M/Y Ecstasea. A jetboat superyacht, and part of a fleet of four owned by oil magnate Roman Abramovich (a famous Russian Oligarch
who also owns the Chelsea football team). His newest yacht, M/Y Eclipse, was recently launched in Hamburg, Germany.
At a rediculous 170m, it's now the largest superyacht in the world.
One of the yacht's tenders tied alongside. This style of tender is often referred to as a "limo".
Looking along the quay in Poole, England, where every Tuesday night in summer up to 4,000 highly-polished motorbikes
of all shapes and sizes park up to be admired by other riders...
...from the latest and greatest high-performance sports bikes, to vintage old Nortons and Enfields such as these beauties.
Looking across at Poole quay from our new boat, as a very cool baby Sunseeker cruises by.
Our apartment is handily-located in the glass-and-brick building far right.
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