So.. I’m not a sailor. If you had asked me two years ago what I was going to do with the rest of my life.. well I probably would have mentioned a wealth of things- such as hanging out with llama’s in Peru, building my own house, getting married to Penelope Cruz and having kids- but definitely not navigating the world in a boat!
|Bleu 35, still mastless, being lifted into the water|
It all came about two years ago, when I was introduced to Eric. At the time, I was living in Montreal, and had just quit my deskjob in favor of taking this odd job I found refurbishing the Sedna IV. Aboard this boat I met all sorts of characters- mostly hardened Quebecois and French sailors who told me stories of abandoning ship in the middle of the Pacific or falling in love with prostitutes in Capetown.
One day, while having a tea break, I met this rather stocky little Franco Italian who everyone refered as “Le Gros”. It turns out he’s living aboard the Sedna while he builds a racing boat in the adjacent marina parking lot. This seems like the most awesome thing to do… ever. Not only has he sold everything he owned in order to build this boat, but in the process, rendered himself homeless, so that his only option is to finish building the thing. I’m extremely happy to get to know Eric and see his epic raceboat Bleu 35 get fabricated right in front of me, and inspired by it all, something inside of me says, hey, this lifestyle is for you.
So fast-forward a couple years, and here I am now, living the lifestyle, seeing the world, getting stories of my own and sailing boats of epic proportions. It all came about because I kept in touch with Eric after the boat floated away, and after a series of serendipitous events, ended up flying out to the Azores islands in the middle of the Atlantic to join up with Eric and L’Equippe Bleu Voile Oceanique. From the Azores we sailed down to Madeira. I made this video to document the journey.
|Eric Aboard Bleu 35|
After the Azores, the team, consisting of Eric, JM, Ben and myself, then sailed down to the Canary islands, and onwards to do our first transatlantic crossing to the Caribbean, arriving in St.Martin. I made a few other videos during the travels, all of which are at www.youtube.com/llamapmptv
So after making it to St.Martin, we then sailed over to the island of Tortola, where I jumped off the boat, said goodbye to the team. I hadn’t wanted to leave, but this was out of necessity, as I had about 2dollars US to my name following the 2months of sailing, and also was in massive debt all over the board, with credit cards, a loan from my very nice brother in law, and a condo that was a month away from foreclosure. In short, I had done something completely irresponsible by going off sailing- but I was determined to make wrongs right, and I guess prove to myself and others that leaving everything to sail the world can have it’s perks. It turned out I was right- at least in the perk department, as within a little while I met a girl who took a fancy to me, likely because I was a bit of a hardened sailor- and well, she turned out to be Branson’s PA. We had a one night stand, then next thing I know, she telephones me up to say she’s found me a job as a private Chef for a group of Russians in a villa The job is to pay something ridiculous like 4000dollars US, and it turns out to be the easiest money I’ve ever made. I should mention that I love cooking, and it’s something I will do naturally for money or not…So anyway, there I am, for 2wks, making enough cash to cover my ass a little while longer, cooking Lobster and whatever for this group of Russian gangsters and their gorgeous wives (who stroll into the kitchen topless!) and I’m like whoah! Life is good. After this gig is up, I’m fairly content living on the island of Tortola. I continue to meet people on the island, and get a position as executive Chef at this nice little restaurant, owned by the nicest Scotswoman you’ll er meet. It was going smoothly, working in a little Caribbean kitchen with some outrageous big Black gals who would hit me with spoons shouting ” White boy, you need more flava!” until one day the reality check that I couldn’t work illegally forever hit me. The owner put in a work permit for me, however I had to leave the island to get it processed. So at the advice of the sensible and thoughtful girl I was dating at the time, I flew to St.Martin- a place from which I could jet back to Canada cheaply should the need arise.
So, I’m missing out a lot of the details so far- such as my good friend GBUNK- aka DJ Dogface visiting and causing a whole lot of noise, meeting so many life changing people – as well tons of fun stuff like being held up by knife & gun point, wicked partying, beach n’ boat sexin.. but want to keep the focus on sailing and cheffin- such as what the blog is meant to be about…
Okay, back to the story. I’m chilling in St.Martin waiting for my work permit to be processed. A week passes and I still don’t have any news from the Tortolan restaurant regarding things. I start getting a little on edge, as I don’t have very much money left, and everyone I talk to is telling me that the work permit could take upwards of six months to process. Eeek. One afternoon, I’m hanging out at the Soggy Dollar bar with a bunch of yachties, and this girl I met at the crew house (a hostal for sailors) runs up to me and says:
“Hey _____! You can cook right?”
“Umm, yeah, why?”
“Well, I’ve got this job that I’ve been accepted for on this boat in the Virgin islands, but I don’t know if I want to take it, because I’ve also got this other job that I’m waiting on that pays a lot more… would you be able to take the job for me?”
a little confused, I respond “Yeah of course, I’m not doing anything else right now, when does it start?”
To which she responds “Today!”
and with that I end up rushing back to the crew house, grabbing most of my stuff, and catching a flight back over to the British Virgin Islands. After a quick teary eyed hello and goodbye at Tortola airport to my girlfriend, I then hop on a water taxi to Necker island. It is there I become acquainted with my new home, SY Necker Belle.
I am to be the delivery chef for a trip over the Atlantic to Europe by way of the Azores. This is pretty cool, especially as the fridge and freezers have already been provisioned with all sorts of goodness, and all I have to do is put together ANYTHING I want that tastes good. We’re talking veal, lamb shanks, shrimp, lobster, the whole nine yards. It basically turns into a two week eat-a-thon, with the exception being I’m getting paid. Once we arrive in Palma de Mallorca with Necker Belle, the captain asks if I want to stay on and help Chef the Monaco GP. I’m completely blown away- and say yes immediately. This then turns into another couple weeks of employment, a killer trip to Monaco to chef the GP alongside the regular Chef, during which I meet the Bransons, Paris Hilton, Gerard Butler etc..Anyway… that’s as far I can go with the history, not even half way with it and am really regretting not having started a blog sooner! Will write more about Pirates, cuisine and stuff in a wink…
|Me and the crew after the crossing|
|Butchering my first Pig in the Azores|
|Me and the regular full time Chef, down in the Galley|
|Me and the engineer, walking into a party with Paris Hilton and her Entourage|