Chef Sara Ventiera is on a three-week trip to the Bahamas, manning the kitchen on a 91-foot yacht. She will file regular updates from the waters about what it's like to work on a yacht, from pretrip provisioning to seaplane produce delivery. Click here for previous reports.
This week was the first time in three weeks that I have been able to sleep in. I stretched out in my king-sized bed, a huge difference from my enclosed bunk. Back on the yacht, every time you need to get up to use the head, you feel like a contortionist trying to escape from some sort of capsule. Now I can roll out of bed in a listless stupor and get a cup of coffee without having to speak to anyone. While this may not sound like the epitome of contentment, after three weeks of having no personal space, it is.
When you have to be "on" for most of your waking hours for weeks on end, personal space becomes
an imperative. Larger yachts come equipped with a separate crew mess,
where we can hide out and play cards or just watch TV in silence. The
yacht on which I work is considered small by industry standards (mind
you, yachting is an industry of excess) and does not have a separate
crew mess. Instead, we gather in my workspace, a beautiful country
kitchen galley, complete with dark wood cabinetry, granite countertops,
and a subzero fridge with two separate pullout drawer freezers. It's an
enviable kitchen, but having everyone gathering there does not lend
itself to personal space.
Lack of personal space aside, we had a great trip with an excellent
crew. The owners departed Friday afternoon, and the captain took us out
to dinner. We normally end the trip with a visit to Fish Fry on Arawak
Cay, which is 15-minute taxi ride from our slip at Atlantis.
Unfortunately, the Bahamian elections took place today, and there were
massive rallies staged this weekend across the street. Pair that with
the usual craze of the local favorite happy-hour spot and we would have
been stuck in traffic for hours. Instead, we settled on another local
institution, the Poop Deck.
Although the name may not lend itself to the idea of greatness, the Poop
Deck is actually one of the better local hangouts in Nassau. We sat on
the upper balcony, drinking Kalik beers and eating fresh conch fritters,
overlooking the sunset. For an entrée, I ordered the special: whole,
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steamed fish. I asked for a smaller fish, so the server brought them
over to the table to pick one out. I chose a freshly caught hog snapper.
We were all exhausted but cheerful. We may have had little space to
ourselves, but we always had the view.