The morning has been a busy one. In the second part of A Day in the Life of Galley Girl, it’s already looking like it’s going to be a long day. And we have a problem with the anchor that we’re keeping quiet about.
The owner’s daughter wakes up. She is completely lovely and I happily make her breakfast and put it in the bin virtually untouched afterwards, just as I do every day for her brother. One of the guests asks for Turkish coffee and the daughter says she will make it. It’s a Turkish cultural thing, and like tea, it has its own mystique and ceremony. A prospective bride will make coffee for her future husband’s parents as a test of her suitability as a wife. Of course we have a machine to make coffee for us, but still there is something quite charming about this gorgeous girl meticulously arranging cups on a pretty tray and serving coffee to a very elderly and tubby old man. Once she’s finished the coffee and chosen the designer bikinis she will wear today I make her bed and clean her bathroom.
After an early start we have served three rounds of breakfasts, umpteen rounds of coffee, started on the housework, moved the boat to a new anchorage and got the toys out of the garage for the owners and guests to play with. We still have to fix the anchor winch which failed as we dropped anchor on arrival. Without it we can’t raise the anchor when we leave. Hauling 50 metres of chain up manually with a big anchor at the end is not an option…
Our owner is pretty generous and usually asks us along to join them for lunch. At a separate table, of course. They announce that they are ready to go ashore and invite us to come too. Skipper takes this opportunity to mention the little problem with the anchor and suggests that we stay on board and sort it out while they go to lunch. Tuna sandwiches it is then. We have the sandwiches first, as you never know how the day will go. Skipper wrestles with the engineering challenge of fixing the winch. We manage to get the pin back into the winch drum with some ingenuity and a hammer. This success is a big ‘phew’ moment. It is very very hot and Skipper has been sweltering in the anchor locker for a while. We sit down for five minutes and drink a bottle of water. We have both left the Turkish iPhones that the owner has supplied for us in the saloon while we’ve been working on the anchor. Skipper checks his and there is a missed call from the owner, six minutes ago. He calls the owner back and receives a loud and lengthy tirade about not having answered the phone and how they want to come back to the boat now and how hot they are and how he has forgotten his hat and how he has had to stand in the sun waiting for six minutes and how and how and how….
The owners and guests arrive back in the tender. I go to the swimming platform to help them get out and hold the tender steady. The owner throws his flip flops on the platform, spattering water in my face. His wife glares at the Skipper as she gets out and doesn’t look at me. The guests don’t seem too perturbed though and hand me their flip flops to clean. (My third least favourite job.)
I’m in as much trouble as Skipper: one of the ashtrays has a cigarette stub in it.
We are to leave the anchorage for another bay which is apparently better for swimming. We pack the toys away as fast as we can and load the tender on to the platform, under the black cloud of the owner’s grim mood.
Next anchorage. Thankfully the winch works fine. Toys out, coffee on the table. Water dispensed as usual in the little plastic bottles they prefer to glasses. Except that today they don’t and the owner’s wife regards me with the same distaste she might display if she found she’d trodden on a worm, and orders me to bring glasses, Perrier, ice and slices of lemon. Not a bad idea, I think, and make myself one too that I drink in the galley. More swimming and more guests arrive with their own tender. I empty ashtrays. More stripey bathing towels needed. We are down to our last two. This may not go well.
We are to move to another anchorage, near to a very posh beach bar where some of the guests will leave us and others will join us. The tender is tied to the bow at the moment so it doesn’t get in the way of the swimming for the guests. The owner’s son is lying on the foredeck with his friends. Just as we start to raise the anchor Skipper notices that the tender painter (that’s the rope at the front of the tender that you tie up with) has slipped off the cleat and the tender is floating away from us…so Skipper hops over the guard rail and jumps into the water to swim after it. The owner is not impressed. The owner’s son and his friends however are delighted.
We arrive and anchor at the new anchorage. There is a cross wind and we will swing around a bit so Skipper decides to put out stern lines. This entails tying two very long ropes from the stern (back) of the boat to the shore, around two big rocks. We launch the tender so that skipper can take the ropes to the rocks while I will pay out the rope from the boat. Too late I see the tender painter trailing in the water, just before it is sucked into the turbo props. This is awkward. Skipper jumps fully clothed into the water to see if he can untangle the rope. The owner’s son is beside himself with excitement: it’s fantastic entertainment for him and his friends. Unfortunately, after a lot of underwater ducking down and an attempt to extricate the rope while balancing the tender on a fender on the platform to see underneath it, it seems the rope is truly stuck.
To make matters worse we have now run out of clean stripey bathing towels for the guests. Now we have a real crisis. The owner’s wife doesn’t know yet. I gather a few damp discarded towels and breezily walk along the side deck with them. If I peg them out on the bow they will dry in 20 minutes and I can recycle them as clean ones. it’s unlikely any of the adults will notice – they never venture this far out of the safety of the sofas in the sheltered aft deck cockpit.
The owner’s initial concern for the tender has turned to concern for his skipper’s safety and he bans any more attempts to wriggle under several hundredweight of solid rubber tender. The owners and guests still need to go ashore. Skipper comes up with an idea. They can all get in the tender and he will tow them on the jet ski. The amusing novelty of the idea appeals to the owner, and surprisingly also to his wife. So they and the guests, who include the wife of a former senior government minister, step into the tender and off they go, giggling away. When Skipper returns we will be required to entertain the owner’s son and his friends and supervise them on the garage toys.
The shore party return with Skipper ploughing through the waves, still fully clothed, on the jet ski. The tender occupants are still finding this amusing. The owner’s wife smiles at me as she steps up to the aft deck and requests tea, fruit, nuts and biscuits to be served. I scurry away and wash red and green plums, apricots and grapes, and peel and slice peaches. The whole fruits are served in silver bowls of ice and the sliced fruit is chilled on white bone china oblong dishes in the fridge before serving. More white bone china plates are set on a grey linen tablecloth with matching napkins, and I set small knives and forks. Three kinds of small biscuits are expected, and, of course, three bowls of nuts. (Never mixed nuts though: ‘We never mix our nuts.’) The tea is the dark amber Turkish tea served in small glasses. It all looks very pretty. While they drink their first glass of tea I whisk the dry towels off the bow rail unseen, fold them and bring them to the aft deck for the guests. The owner’s wife is pleased that I’ve anticipated their needs….Everybody relaxes.
Of course, nothing is ever simple…coming next: The Evening.