Of Course I Can … Wait. What?
I have a history of exaggerating my abilities on job applications. In 1991, I walked into an interview with an event production company in Vancouver, and when asked if I was familiar with Microsoft Word I told them that I had Word on my computer at home. I didn’t volunteer the information that we had bought the computer the day before, loaded Word on that night and I hadn’t actually tried the program. I got the job, and within six months was upgrading all the software on their computers, and producing fantastic bound proposals for their events.
Moving To The Bahamas
When my boyfriend and I got the call inviting us to crew on a liveaboard dive boat in the Bahamas in 1992, my first reaction was obviously YES. Then I paused and asked what my job description would be since I had never worked on a boat before, and I just completed my open water certification.
When the owner told me he wanted me to be the cook, I literally laughed out loud. My repertoire at the time consisted of bean and cheese burritos, microwave popcorn, and soup. But it was a job, on a boat, in the Bahamas. How could I say no? Obviously I didn’t, nor did I express any apprehension about learning on the go. I thought of it as an apprenticeship because surely someone on the boat would have to know more than me, right?
We packed up and flew to Miami to meet the boat at a marina in South Beach. A crew member who had been filling in as the cook had prepared a 7 day menu, and had already purchased all the provisions for the weeklong trip that was starting the following day. Unfortunately, she was taking the week off.
An Unconventional Apprenticeship
So I threw caution to the wind, climbed on board and the next day started cooking breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, and dessert for 22 people with no safety net. The owner was on board as Captain, and it turned out that he was a terrific cook, and he answered my questions without making be feel like an idiot. After all, I had quit eating meat when I was 12 and had never prepared any of the things on the menu, and had not one clue what to do with a 23lb roast. I got good at it, and after spending 4 years on the dive boat, I started passing myself off as a Chef and got a job on a 105′ motor yacht where I spent nearly 11 years!
Here are a few of my favorite photos from the Bahamas.