Tight Quarters While Cooking on a Yacht Ends With Visit to the Poop Deck

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Photos by Sara Ventiera
The Poop Deck: Ugly name, beautiful sunset.


Chef Sara Ventiera is on a three-week trip to the Bahamas, manning the kitchen on a 91-foot yacht. She will file regular updates from the waters about what it's like to work on a yacht, from pretrip provisioning to seaplane produce delivery. Click here for previous reports.


This week was the first time in three weeks that I have been able to sleep in. I stretched out in my king-sized bed, a huge difference from my enclosed bunk. Back on the yacht, every time you need to get up to use the head, you feel like a contortionist trying to escape from some sort of capsule. Now I can roll out of bed in a listless stupor and get a cup of coffee without having to speak to anyone. While this may not sound like the epitome of contentment, after three weeks of having no personal space, it is. When you have to be "on" for most of your waking hours for weeks on end, personal space becomes  an imperative. Larger yachts come equipped with a separate crew mess, where we can hide out and play cards or just watch TV in silence. The yacht on which I work is considered small by industry standards (mind you, yachting is an industry of excess) and does not have a separate crew mess. Instead, we gather in my workspace, a beautiful country kitchen galley, complete with dark wood cabinetry, granite countertops, and a subzero fridge with two separate pullout drawer freezers. It's an enviable kitchen, but having everyone gathering there does not lend itself to personal space.

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The crew: Still friends after sharing tight quarters.
Lack of personal space aside, we had a great trip with an excellent crew. The owners departed Friday afternoon, and the captain took us out to dinner. We normally end the trip with a visit to Fish Fry on Arawak Cay, which is 15-minute taxi ride from our slip at Atlantis. Unfortunately, the Bahamian elections took place today, and there were massive rallies staged this weekend across the street. Pair that with the usual craze of the local favorite happy-hour spot and we would have been stuck in traffic for hours. Instead, we settled on another local institution, the Poop Deck.

Although the name may not lend itself to the idea of greatness, the Poop Deck is actually one of the better local hangouts in Nassau. We sat on the upper balcony, drinking Kalik beers and eating fresh conch fritters, overlooking the sunset. For an entrée, I ordered the special: whole, steamed fish. I asked for a smaller fish, so the server brought them over to the table to pick one out. I chose a freshly caught hog snapper. We were all exhausted but cheerful. We may have had little space to ourselves, but we always had the view.

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