Working on a Charter Yacht: Day 2; Let's Get Physical

By 22 August 2017

Join us as we log one week working on a charter yacht in Croatia, from the view point of a hostess. Sunday 20th August 2017 brings day two, time to get physical.

It goes without saying that I will not be sharing personal or specific details of the guests aboard this week; however, I will be sharing different aspects of life on a boat from my perspective (hostess).

Day 2: One thing I always loved about working on a boat, is how well you sleep. It could have something to do with being awake for 19 hours and on your feet for around 15 hours but whatever it is, the second my head touches the pillow, I am out like a light; then, awake with the first light. I would say we are all naturally meant to wake up with the sun, but our daily lives and blackout curtains have shifted our habits. When I am home and set my alarm for 6 am, I always struggle waking up; however, get me on a boat and I naturally wake around 5.30 or 6 am.

I got up, quick shower – you learn to have the fastest showers on a boat – dressed and I was at the bar by 6.15 am. Just in time for the first guest to get up and request a coffee. My day had begun.

From 6 – 9 am, I had already made a dozen coffees for a handful of the guests and a one-litre pot of coffee ready for breakfast. Set the table, infuse water (one small way I reduce plastic), clean, chat and breakfast time. Now, the ideal group to have on-board is one who (among many other things) gets up roughly at the same time and has breakfast altogether. Of course, this is not always the case and we can’t expect it in the job; but the other type of group is the one who gets up one-by-one and breakfast lasts for an extended period of time. It was one of those weeks.

I served my first coffee at 6.30 am and by the time breakfast was finished, cleared and cleaned, it was 11.45 am. In that time, I made (and served) another 20 cups of coffee and had run up and down the steps and to and from the bar, clocking up however many kilometres. Once, I wore a pedometer in a restaurant to see how many steps I took in service; from 12 – 6 pm, I had taken 40,000 steps and this is only half a service!

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Just imagine making tens of coffees with this.

By 12.15 pm, the dust had finally settled – actually that’s a lie, there was no dust because I got to vacuuming, dusting, and polishing… then, it was time for the next round of drinks – soft drinks, beers, and cocktails.

Here, I just want to say that in a typical café, the breakfast shift would go from around 6 am - 1 or 2 pm, think about it, this is a ‘normal’ 8-hour day. By 1 pm, my day was only just beginning.


Ready and waiting

Hang on, let’s go back a second – when did I eat breakfast? Rushed mouthfuls in between the wants and needs of the guests.

Somehow the afternoon disappeared and I am sure the longest I sat was 10 mins. We were anchored in the Pakleni islands so at 2.30 half (just half) of the group went for a walk around Hvar for two hours, while the other half stayed onboard and lunch was at 4.30 pm. Again, I was busy with drinks, cleaning then setting and prepping for lunch service.

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Credit: Mario Jelavic Photography

As I collected the first few plates to take up stairs, I turned to the Captain (my husband) and said: “did I get weaker or are these plates heavier?” He looked at me and said in a serious manner that only a Croatian can – “you got weak”. And so it seems; which is natural considering I have always had an active job and the last few months has seen me sat at a laptop rather than running around, moving, bending, lifting… It turns out, I used to be extremely fit.

I stacked up the plates, not wanting to let anyone know how much I was struggling then up and down the stairs for another two hours – serving, clearing, cleaning.

‘Lunch’ was over around 8 pm, then… more drinks. Dinner for me didn’t really happen, actually, it was a blur, I think I just picked in the afternoon and that was my meal.

Finally, everything calmed down around 9 pm, I still couldn’t sit down and completely relax because there was always something someone needed. Again, it was almost midnight by the time everyone went to bed and I managed to breathe. Throughout the entire day, I don’t think I sat down for more than 30-minutes at a time. I wrote about ‘Day 1’ in short sprints and that was my ‘down-time’.


Daily torture: look, but don't touch. My instgram is full of pics like this - social media is very misleading!

It was physical. I was exhausted. But the good kind. One thing I do appreciate about the job, even though I complain at times – is that when you finish the day, you really feel a sense of satisfaction. The boat is clean and peaceful and I always sit for at least 10-minutes just soaking in the silence.

Sometimes in our modern-day lives, especially being in a job that requires being attached to laptops, emails, monitoring social media… you can work all day and still go to bed feeling unaccomplished or mentally noting all of the tasks for the next day’s to-do list. At least, on the boat, yes I know I will wake up and have to do it all again the next day, but every element of the day is a completed task and therein lies a sense of satisfaction.

That said, with aching calves and weary eyes, I went to bed and passed out, ready for another day.

Last note: wondering why the header photo is of stairs? As you can see, my day involves a lot of stairs, it doesn't look like much from the angle, three steps here, five steps there - but they definitely add up!