Friday, November 1st
In an airport, Boston, MA
This will be my last blog for this contract as I will be home very soon!
I was up early this morning again excited to get the sign off bullshit started. I headed to payroll at 8am to settle my bill and sign off my last golf settlement, I was shocked to see 85 crew already lined up so I just called Oliver and he said ya come on ill take care of ya, cool!
Next up was the dreaded immigration. I got there 10 minutes early and then Tim came flying around the corner so we just blocked out the front of the line and when they started we were at the front. It only took 5 minutes and I was almost done! I had to find Dana for her to sign off on a couple of things, so I headed to the officers mess and found her and Omar having breakfast with the new shore ex manager, Georgiana, a Romanian (glad I am getting off) and got the rest of my paperwork done.
I was free to go so I said goodbye to some peeps,
Chris, Sidley and Nemo and headed for the gangway with ALL of my luggage. Took me a few minutes at the gangway to convince them I was allowed to get off and they finally set me free. I said goodbye to the Dawn and hopped in a cab for the short ride to the airport!
After some bullshit with baggage fees I was checked in a through security and in search of star bucks! I settled in for a couple of hours of internet and thought I would call Natalie and wake her up but she was already awake and waiting to get off her ship so we could face time for an hour before I head west.
Here is a recap of this contract in case you missed anything! Thanks again for reading, it made it easier to write knowing people were interested in the life of golf pro on a boat.
On April 30th
, 2013 my life took a sharp right turn as my good friend Carrie Sikman happened to notice that a friend of hers, Bryce, was looking for a golf pro for the summer on the NCL dawn and Carrie had a feeling
that I may want it so she introduced Bryce and I on face book. I was in Montreal at the time on vacation with Damien and Zuckerburg and I remember the exact moment I saw the message. It was 2:12am and I was deep in the Omaha 8 or better tournament at playground poker. There were 14 left in the event and I was cruising along looking to make a deep run when my mind started to wander towards the future. I refocused on the event but busted on the bubble, a little disappointing after working for 11 hours but for some reason it didn’t matter because I knew the universe had other plans for me and they involved a cruise ship. Bryce and I met the next morning on Montreal and the rest, as they say, is history.
This was a very different contract than my first couple a few years ago. I had no preparation time to get ready for the change in lifestyle that is ship life. I had 9 days to get all my affairs in order and hop on a flight to Boston to start this chapter.
It didn’t start out too well
if you remember; my Mom forgot her passport and we almost didn’t get into the US of A to get to Seattle for my flight but I talked our way through the border and from there it was smooth sailing, pardon the pun.
There were a few more surprises in store for me as well. For starters, I had about an hour with Bryce to learn all the paperwork side of what I had to do and then I was on my own. The size of my room on the Dawn also shocked me a little bit as well, 52 sq feet for 6 months can be a little bit unforgiving but after I got it organized it wasn’t that bad.
I was lucky in the fact that I got to work with great shore ex staff all season, Devon, Irina, Francine, AJ, Jeremy, Dana, Michelle, Nemo, Sidley and Karen. Were all great people and I had good times with every one of them. I will defiantly stay in touch with a couple of them and hope to see them in the future. AJ, Jeremy and I had some good times doing card tricks for guests on slow
sea days and we even got to dazzle some security guards. Nemo and I went on a couple of very cool tours in Quebec, Dana and I played many rounds of mini golf and Sidley was always good for a chat with at the desk.
I met some other great people as well, Chris the art auctioneer and I played a lot of golf together and had some good times playing Xbox in his room. The future cruise ladies, Sherry & Natalie, were always good times, Tim the comedian always made me laugh whenever I saw him around the ship or on the golf course, Pearson, a member of the cruise staff team, and I bonded over our love of TV shows and he was always good for a discussion about breaking bad and the Newsroom.
Bermuda was the crown jewel of this contract and was a big part of why I decided to take this 6-month leave of absence. I had always wanted to visit the island and I was not disappointed. It is one of the cleanest, friendliest and most expensive places I have had the good fortune of visiting so far.
I got to
see a lot of the island on some great shore excursions and I was fortunate to work with two shore ex managers that put me on any tours I wanted to tag along with, some more than once. The crystal caves were amazing, I got to learn to paddleboard, spend a couple of days at the beach, saw some really beautiful homes, and rode on many a catamaran.
As far as the golf goes in Bermuda, it is a golf Mecca with 9 golf courses on this 26-mile island in the middle of the Atlantic. I didn’t get to hack it around at all of them but the five I did get to play were amazing. It is also the first time I have showed up at a golf course with 12 guests only to get out of the bus and be told that the golf course was closed.
I played some really good golf at Port Royal but rarely got to play a whole round of golf as I spent a lot of time babysitting. I did however get to play 4 or 5 full rounds at Riddles bay and put up a coupe of good scores,
I would defiantly be a member at Riddles Bay if I lived in Bermuda.
One of the best days of golf I had was when Chris and I snuck over to Mid Ocean after we got an invite from Nick, the Assistant golf pro. We headed over on the ferry and when we rolled up to Mid Ocean we were both impressed by the landscapes that the golf course has to offer. I played some of my best golf of the contract there and shot 77 from the back tees. I hit the driver especially well hitting 13 out of 14 fairways; it’s an easy game when you can do that.
Another big reason I took this contract was to get back in shape. I had really become very lazy over the past three years and I figured this might be a great chance to get back to my fighting weight. It took me about a week onboard to make the commitment to say goodbye to bread, sugar, rice and ice cream and say hello to the gym every night but I finally said yes, we are doing it! I worked hard for 6 months, but I did
have a few bad weeks with some snack foods in the middle of the contract when I got a little discouraged but I got back on the wagon and by the end of the contract I was in the best shape of my life. I think I lost about 50 pounds in total but more importantly I think I have given up bread and white sugar for good, which should help me live a little longer.
Life took another turn at the beginning of September when Dana said that she had gotten permission from shore side to start cross training me for shore excursions and I knew that my return to ship life had become complete. It took a couple of weeks to get it confirmed that I would be working with the shore excursion team but I kind of knew from the beginning of this contract that somehow I would find myself back on a ship for a couple of years.
Since I was going to cross train for shore excursions, it meant that I would be staying on through the Canada / New England run so we would spend 4 weeks in the Northeast. It is
a beautiful part of the world and the ports we got to see were amazing. I had never been to Newfoundland and I was really impressed with Corner Brook and some of the landscapes we saw and some of the people we met.
Quebec was also an amazing experience as the people are so great and the province is so beautiful. I probably went on more excursions in that one-month than I did in all of the Bermuda trips, as there was so much to see and do. I took some amazing pictures and had some great times with Nemo, Dana, Jeremy and Natalie exploring all over this great country of Canada.
Some of the highlights were the Luneburg trip with Jeremy and Natalie, the two days I spent at Peggy’s cove as it brought back so many memories when I was a kid in Halifax, they day I spent wandering around Quebec city from top to Bottom and the beautiful views it brought, the hiking tour in Gaspe with its incredible view and the caving tour in Cornerbrook with the 10 minutes we spent deep in the cave in pure silence and darkness, I wouldn’t trade those
memories for anything and I cant wait to create some more in the future!
I told myself when I started this contract that I was not looking to get into a relationship as it is a difficult situation to get involved with someone who works on a cruise ship because of schedules and it can be very complicated. I kept my head down for the first couple of months and just focused on work. Something in the universe changed though and on July 5th
Natalie signed on and I felt something immediately!
Over the next two months we got to know each other slowly as she would come to family night in Dana’s room and her office was next to the shore ex desk so I would pop in to say hi now and again and chat for a minute. During the Canada / New England month we started to spend a lot of time together on tours and my feelings for her started to come to the surface. Natalie had a lot on her plate as she was in a new position onboard, her mother was coming to cruise for three weeks all the way from Australia
and she had some things going on in her personal life that she was dealing with, so I kept my distance and tried to be the best friend that I could to help in any way I could.
Eventually I could wait no longer and as we started the first Bermuda cruise after Canada, also Natalie’s last cruise on the Dawn, I let her know how I felt about her and it turns out that she had the feelings towards me, which as you can imagine made me very happy. The timing was not great as she signed off that Friday but we have plans to spend time together in the very near future.
I want to thank everybody for their comments on my blog, it makes it a lot easier to write it EVERYDAY knowing that it will get read and people enjoy hearing about ship life and having a look at some of the places I get to travel.
Here are some interesting stats from this contract. I had 3 haircuts in Boston, lost my ship ID card once, locked myself out of my room twice, took more than 200GB worth of pictures, lost 50
pounds, played 39 rounds of golf, ate 2 only 2 meals in the crew mess, went to the gym 168 times, didn’t break any bones, received the weirdest tip ever – the book Bad Monkey, downloaded over 300gb of TV shows and movies from coffee shops, made 10 great new friends, travelled close to 52,000km in 175 days on this floating city we call the Dawn and opened a new chapter in my life that I cant wait to explore.
I am going to include some of my favorite pictures from this contract, most of them you have already seen if you have been following my blog but I thought you might like to see some again.
It was a great six months and I cant wait to start the next chapter, so stay tuned as it may be coming very soon!
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