A Week On The Atlantic Ocean, On A $72,000 Salary

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Today: a Chief Stewardess working on a private yacht who makes $72,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bikini.
Occupation: Chief Stewardess
Industry: Private Yachting
Age: 28
Location: Atlantic Ocean
Salary: $72,000 + bonus (I expect roughly $6,000)
Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $6,000 (I don't have to pay taxes as I don't reside in my home country, or anywhere for more than six months at a time)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (I live onboard with the other crew. I share a cabin with my boyfriend. We also have our meals provided alongside basic toiletries, and my department does laundry for everyone.)
Loans: $0
Spotify Family: $14.99 (I organize this for some of the crew; they're meant to pay me $3 for their share, but I don't always get it)
Netflix: $5 (My share)
Yearly Expenses:
Cell Phone: $120 (I pay upfront for Mint Mobile and I let it lapse when we're out of the US, which is a bit more than half the year)
Stitcher: $29.99 (podcast subscription service)
Savings: I averaged about $4,500 a month last year. I'm hoping to increase it this year, as I've gotten better about transferring money to my investment account as soon as I get paid, whereas last year I did it at the end of the month. My savings are almost entirely in index funds.

Day One

7:15 a.m. — I'm up slightly earlier than usual, because I've set up an interview with someone whose time zone is 12 hours different, and this is the only time that would work for me. I'm replacing the girl who works directly below me (she decided to move on) and it's really important that the candidate is not only good at her job, but also someone I get along with, since we'll be working together quite a. bit. I make a cup of tea and we FaceTime. She seems great! I am excited. I email her references.
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8 a.m. — Work officially starts. I get my girls started on the final prep to get the boat guest-ready. Our guests are due to arrive tonight for a short Easter trip. We have had a long and hard winter season where we've worked almost every day this year, and everyone is looking forward to the end of this trip.
10 a.m. — Quick 15 minute tea break. I scramble some eggs in the microwave and eat them with toast. Then it's back to work. The girls have been doing a final dust, vacuum, and de-fingerprint to get everything shining and flawless. It's looking good, so they move on to setting the table with dinner, but can only go so far: I'm still waiting for my fresh flower order, and the chef is out doing the final shop, so the menu hasn't been finalized yet.
11 a.m. — Flowers are here. They have a full golf cart, and they're going around from boat to boat because I guess everyone's picking up guests for Easter.
11:15 a.m. — My flower order is incomplete — I check the order, and it's my fault. I copy-pasted from the last time I ordered, when I still had some going strong from the previous week, but now that means I've forgotten one of the types we have in vases around the boat. I give them a quick call, and they say they'll bring some this afternoon when they do another wave of deliveries to the marina. Whew.
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12 p.m. — Lunch time. It's some cold salad stuff from the supermarket because the chef didn't have time to cook. I also have a La Croix. During lunch we talk about Easter. One of the crew brings up that it's one of our required holidays — the only one besides Christmas and New Year's Day — and we should be getting a bonus holiday day for working Good Friday. Unfortunately, we're not getting it off this year. We're a private boat, so there's really no legal obligation to give us anything, and if the captain says no, there's nowhere to go with your complaints.
12:30 p.m. — Lunch is over, and I make a few phone calls trying to find Easter eggs in case the guests don't bring their own. Island-time is real and no one is too interested in helping, so I decide to wander around the marina and resort complex in search of eggs. I find some wildly overpriced ones, but they're going to have to do, because I don't want to waste time taxiing to a supermarket. It goes on the work credit card. ($175.00 expensed)
2:30 p.m. — Everything is looking good onboard. I tell everyone to take a break and join me at 7 to start work again. The girls can head off to the pool, but I need to stay onboard in case something happens, so I play on my boyfriend's Nintendo Switch on my bunk until he wraps up with his department.
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3:30 p.m. — My boyfriend, D., is finished. He has a shower and then we crawl onto the top bunk to do admin together. It's too narrow a bed to sit side by side with computers, so we top-and-tail. I'm doing some organizing for a holiday we have coming up in spring, and he's going over some paperwork for an investment property he's purchasing.
5 p.m. — I get a phone call for a reference check for one of my girls who's leaving. The connection is horrific because they're calling from somewhere around the Panama Canal on rubbish boat internet to me on my rubbish boat internet. I tell her to email me instead.
5:20 p.m. — The captain calls our cabin to let us know the guests will be arriving tomorrow instead. I send out some texts to my team and hear through the walls some excited yelling, so I guess they saw them straight away. I go to speak to the captain in person to get details, and D. and I decide to have a drink. I have to borrow some vodka because I'm out of gin. I make a Moscow Mule, while D. makes a rum and coke.
6 p.m. — Dinner. It's pizza because the chef didn't have time to cook while prepping guest dinner. I have a few slices of margherita with chili flakes, and then head to the work computer to write out this reference. She's asked a thousand questions and by the time I'm done, my drink is empty. I make another one, and get into bed with D. to watch TV together. We're watching The Other Two, which I had to torrent extremely slowly overnight for days because we're geo-locked out. The first episode wasn't amazing, but it really gets into its rhythm in the next couple.
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9:30 p.m. — I get ready for bed and go down to my bunk to read on my phone for awhile before going to sleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

7:40 a.m. — After hitting snooze once or twice, this is when I actually get up. D. gets up earlier than me, so he has a cup of tea waiting for me in the crew mess by the time I get there. There's less to do today because we did everything yesterday, but we need to change the set up from dinner to lunch and, of course, another dust, as well as getting some laundry done.
10:15 a.m. — We're wrapped up and waiting for guest arrival again. Our lunch (panini, salad, fruit) comes down super early at 11:30 so it's out of the chef's way before guest lunch. I get showered and put on some light makeup and my epaulets and get ready for guest arrival.
12:45 p.m. — Guest arrival. I sent one of my team off for a quick break and the rest of us wait for them to get settled in so we can serve their lunch.
2:45 p.m. — Guest lunch is wrapped up, and they've headed out for a walk together. We get the boat looking impeccable again, and I go for a break. D is conveniently on break too, and we watch a couple more episodes of The Other Two.
4:30 p.m. — I make a cup of tea and eat some nuts and then get back onto running guest service so I can send the one girl who hasn't had a break yet off for an hour and a half.
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5:15 p.m. — With guests onboard, we do dinner at 5:30. I sent the girls currently working to change into their night uniform and have dinner. Once they're back it's my turn for changing and dinner (roast chicken, pommes anna, steamed veg), but just as I've stripped down for the shower I get radio'd to jump back onto service because one of the guests has requested something the girl on service doesn't know how to do.
7:30 p.m. — While one of the girls and I are serving dinner, the other two are doing cabin turndowns. I send them off to bed in the order they get up tomorrow, and by about 10:30 or so it's just me and the deckhand who is on the late shift hanging around waiting for the guests to go to bed. I lurk nearby so I can hear the door for the toilet they're using and can go clean it right away, as well as pop in to top up their wine.
11:30 p.m. — They go to bed! I lock the doors, do a quick clean in case anyone gets up before my early girl does, turn off the lights, and get ready for bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

7:40 a.m. — I have my morning routine nailed down so I can maximize sleep. I sit in the crew mess drinking tea and checking my phone until I hear on the radio that most of the guests are up. I do a walkthrough of the boat to make sure everything is looking good and then the early girl and I do breakfast service. It's all a la carte and can get pretty hectic in the galley if they all decide they want different things. It goes smoothly because we're a well-oiled machine, so everything just gets done without needing to discuss it. Half my team is leaving at the end of the season, and it'll be awhile before I find this rhythm with the new girls.
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9:30 a.m. — I grab a quick breakfast of oatmeal, and then send off the early girl on break while one of the others and I get guest lunch organized behind the scenes.
11:30 a.m. — I run service while the other girls eat lunch, and then head down myself. I'm still a bit full, so I just have some of the tomato soup with a couple slices of toast.
2 p.m. — Break time. I take a nap.
4 p.m. — My meals are all thrown off because I didn't eat a normal sized lunch, and now I'm hungry again. I have some of the pasta from lunch that I didn't have earlier, and then some junk from the snack cupboard because I need sugar after a nap to jolt myself back awake. I also have another cup of tea.
5:50 p.m. — Change and eat dinner. Chicken parm, which is one of my faves, with some carrots and broccoli.
9:30 p.m. — My captain has interviewed the girl from the other day, and even though I have only got one short reference back, he wants me to offer her the job anyway. There's not a lot of great candidates out there, and they get snapped up quickly, so it can go from looking at someone's resume to having them move onto the boat in less than a week. I email her to schedule a phone call for tomorrow.
10:15 p.m. — It's just me and the deckhand left, waiting for the guests to go to bed. I do some online shopping because by the time things get delivered, we'll be back in the US. I get a filter for one of my camera lenses, and then to qualify for free shipping on Amazon I add some earplugs (essential while living in such close quarters with so many other crew) and some face cream. I also pick up a new bikini from Modcloth, since mine has started falling to pieces, and buy some board games from Target using a gift card. $107.81
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12:30 a.m. — Finish, and into bed.
Daily Total: $107.81

Day Four

7:40 a.m. — Morning routine as usual. My mother texts me about her cryptic Easter Egg clue that she's given my dad, who is struggling. She ran the clue by me last week, and it relied on him paying attention to the interior décor of their house, so I don't have a lot of faith in him getting it. D. and I weren't able to organize eggs for this year, but I decide I want to do a hunt anyway. I come up with a clue that involves D. solving an anagram, which are his most hated kind of puzzle. This delights me, and I present him with the clue to think about during his workday.
2 p.m. — I'm on break again. Most of the days with guests onboard are pretty monotonous, but teasing D. about if he's solved the clue has kept me entertained today. During his afternoon tea break I give him a hint so he can figure it out. Once he solves it, he begrudgingly admits it was a good clue. We drop off guests tomorrow, so I don't really need to nap. I watch some Crazy Ex Girlfriend instead.
9:30 p.m. — I phone the candidate to offer her the job. She's excited, but wants to think it over for a day.
11:30 a.m. — Finish and into bed. I manage to not do anymore online shopping by watching Queer Eye on Netflix while eating cashews and trying not to cry.
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Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7:15 a.m. — I have to start work earlier, because the guests are leaving pretty early, and there's a lot to do. We get through breakfast service, extremely quick cabin servicing, and a seemingly endless stream off coffees.
10 a.m. — They head off to the airport, and I send everyone on a quick tea break while I jump into the shower to wash my hair, because I can't deal with it any longer. The others pack up breakfast and get everything mostly tidied while I do a quick stow. Weather conditions are pretty good, but we always stow the boat more than needed to prevent any damage.
12:30 p.m. — We have breakfast for lunch. The weather is even better than expected! Other than a bit of gentle rolling, it's smooth sailing. I don't have to do a lookout watch because of my late nights, so I clean up from crew lunch and do some laundry before heading to bed to play video games and listen to podcasts all afternoon. I get an email from the candidate with some questions which I respond to. From the sound of it, I'm pretty sure she's going to accept.
9 p.m. — D. and I watch Game of Thrones on the replay before he starts work again at 11. I'm pretty tired, but there's no point trying to go to sleep until we're on the dock in Florida, because the bow thrusters will wake me up.
11:45 p.m. — My teeth just about rattle out of my head with the docking, but we're tied up safely in Florida. D. gives me a goodnight kiss when he gets back in again and we both go to sleep.
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Daily Total: $0.00

Day Six

7:40 a.m. — It feels good to wake up in America! Not only is my phone working for the first time in a long time, but our season is finally over, and now we're finally going to be working regular hours with weekends off. Even better, my candidate has accepted the job! There's a ton to do today, and over the next few weeks, but also today we need to clear customs/immigration. Until then we're quarantined, so we unstow while the boys rinse all the salt off from yesterday.
11:15 a.m. — It's only when I'm handing the stack of passports over to the agent that I realize my expired passport with my visa in it has been forgotten somehow, and I can't actually clear customs yet. That means I need to come back after lunch. I have to spend an hour sitting on my phone waiting, which I used to not mind, but these days I feel anxious when I'm not around keeping an eye on things or getting work done. One of my girls has her last day today, so I tell her what I need her to do because her replacement arrives tonight.
2 p.m. — Okay, two trips to customs but I'm cleared in now, which means we can stop off at the liquor store on the way back to work and pick up some gin. Neither D. or I can find our shared card, so he pays cash. By the time we get back, everything's pretty much wrapped up for the day. We can't find our card on the boat either. There's not a ton of places to look in our small cabin, so I guess we lost it somehow. I check the account and there's a debit authorization for $0, which is pretty suspicious, so I cancel it. Some old coworkers are keen to meet up as all our boats happen to be in town together and we plan dinner for tomorrow.
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4:30 p.m. — We're finally back on good internet, and there's a ton of shows we've missed over the last couple months. We watch TV in bed, have a wicked nap, and then have dinner and a couple gins before going to bed pretty early to make up for some missed sleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

7:40 a.m. — Tea, etc. I have a meeting with my captain about all the work that has to get done over this shipyard period. Luckily I have been making notes every time I think of something I'd like to get done, so we run through that list, and he helps me think of the best time to schedule things so it doesn't conflict with all the other work that's going on. I don't envy being a captain. There's a ton of stuff he has to manage and ultimately he is responsible for any mistakes. It's really easy to blame him for stuff that's out of his hands, and he just has to eat it and keep a good attitude about everything — all while he's separated from his wife and kids for a lot of the year.
4 p.m. — We finish for the day and get ready to head out to drinks. D. and I are both compulsively early and get a table while we wait for everyone else to arrive at the time we agreed on. I drove us in the boat's rental car because I need to duck out and pick up the new girl from the airport in an hour or so. Parking is $1. While everyone is just having drinks I get my food order in and eat dinner (mushroom pasta) at 5:30, which is exactly how I like it. $1
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6:15 p.m. — I drive to the airport to pick up the new girl. Parking is $3, expensed. She is shattered from a long flight but in good spirits, and I drive us back to the boat to get her settled in. I invite her to join me back at the restaurant, but understandably she just wants to shower and sleep, so I leave her to it and get a Lyft ($7.32). I meet back up with everyone, and the table is covered in empty wine and martini glasses. I guess I have some catching up to do. I have a couple glasses of wine. There's ten of us and it's super boisterous, but a great time. $7.32
9 p.m. — Our waiter separated our checks but somehow half the stuff on ours is other people's. D. puts it on his card while I figure out what people need to Zelle him. With tax and tip $148 is left for us, which seems pretty high, so maybe I miscalculated what other people had ($74 is my half). No one is keen to go home yet, and one of the guys convinces us to head to his favorite bar, which is way further away than any of us realized when we start walking. A coworker buys me a beer that I did not want or need, but nevertheless I drink half of it. $74
11 p.m. — We get into a Lyft ($9.18, shared) back to the boat at 11ish when we all remember we have work tomorrow. $4.59
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Daily Total: $86.91
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