Arriving on the new island I called home was an amazing experience, but it did not come easily and definitely not without new challenges.
Gavin welcomed me into his beach side home with open arms. I had always dreamed of one day living by the beach, and I couldn’t have got much closer. We were literally living a stones throw away. Having this beautiful view to wake up to every morning definitely made me one happy girl.
However, moving in with a caveman, I needed to make this house a home. My current living arrangement consisted of a one bedroom apartment with two friendly resident cats, Simba and Ninja and several not so friendly mosquitoes. Within this wonderful little apartment was an old wicker table and chair set in the lounge, and one mattress and bedside lamp on the floor in the bedroom. Gavin insisted camping was great fun! Not the comforts one is used to, but I can deal with it for the time being…
Romance was not lost when I first arrived, despite moving into a empty shell. Gavin had found some old candles, bought champagne and rustled up my favourite Thai Green Curry for our first dinner in our new home together.
Getting to work…
The next step upon arrival was getting to know how the charter industry worked (oh and learning to cook!!) I joined Gavin on several of his charters and closely watched how the chef worked, how the boat ran, helped with the mooring lines, putting up the sail and learned to use the anchor. The boat was scrubbed and cabins cleaned, cocktails were poured, food was served and water sports were enjoyed by all. I even got my first dinghy lesson (advice to all couples… do not let your partner teach you how to drive a dinghy. It does not end well. Here’s to the first argument in our new relationship)! It is a long, hard week, completely different to my normal 9-5pm back home, but a great experience and it’s amazing getting to know so many people from all over the world.
As well as working on week long charters, we also ran a day sail boat which were thoroughly enjoyable days out. We would take guests to many of the different islands, show them a snorkel spot or two, have lunch at many of the island restaurants and sail back to the marina in the late afternoon sun listening to those jammin’ reggae beats.
To gain more experience, I worked as a stewardess a few times on my friends Lagoon 62′ which was a slightly larger boat than we were working on and ran with 3 crew instead of 2. It was great to work with friends and get some more inside knowledge, shadowing her in the galley and learning some bar tending skills before starting the season on our own vessels.
After a few months living out on the islands, we returned home for the hurricane season.
My parents finally got to meet the mystery man who whisked their daughter off to the Caribbean whilst back in the UK (they approved by the way), and we got to spend some good quality time with family and friends.
We then headed off to South Africa where I met Gavin’s family and friends, and I also set myself up for a few weeks at a cooking school in Durban.
At the cooking school I learned kitchen safety, hygiene and food safety, basic nutrition, cold food prep and fundamental cooking methods as well as basic stocks and sauces, desserts and knife skills. This was a great experience and gave me a huge confidence boost ready for the season ahead.
If anybody is ever in the area and finds themselves wanting a cooking school, I would highly recommend The Fusion Cooking School.
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