Friday night BBQ…what could possibly go wrong?

Friday 13th….a BBQ on the dock…what could possibly go wrong?

Well hopefully nothing but you never know. My first dock BBQ in French Polynesia ended with me being awoken from my bunk, where I was happily dreaming about monkeys hatching from coconuts, at 3am by the stewardess because a group of local Polynesian hard men had chased the captain back to the boat and were waiting for him on the dock. Anyway that is another story and not one I feel I should share over the internet. Said captain fled the island 3 days later and once again all was well and at peace in the jungle. But it just goes to show what can happen if you decide to light up a BBQ or Braai as the South African crew members insist on calling it.

Actually I am gagging to tell that story and a host more like it from my time in kitchens and galleys across the universe. But with out complete anonymity, it would not be fair on those involved as I could not guarantee that they would not be recognized by those who know me. “But Neil(if in fact that is your real name)” I hear you cry, you are anonymous. “Tell us more, we beg you, oh great and wondrous harbinger of truth” (got carried away there, sorry). “For you are only known to us mortals as”.

Well yeah, that was the plan, but if I didn’t tell my friends and family on facebook that I had started writing a blog, therefore remaining anonymous, then as this is only my second blog, exactly zero people would be reading this. So it was kind of a catch 22. Keep schtum (Schtoom? Shtuhm?Shtum?), and nobody reads it, or tell me mates and not be able to spill the beans about them but have a small readership to kick things off with.

Plus my Mum is probably reading this and I know for a fact that my Sister is, so I don’t want to ruin the angelic image of perfection that they have of me. Hmmm…

Maybe I could write it in a cunning and clever way in order to protect the subjects of my stories. “Hey there readers, you’ll never guess what, this bloke in the pub, told me this incredible story about how him and his crew were out in Antibes one night and he woke up tied to a Carrefour shopping trolley,  naked, covered in unsalted butter with a sudden craving for coconuts.”

That could work, there’s no way you’ll see through that.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the BBQ (OK Saffers, it’s a frikin Braai)((It’s not, it’s a BBQ))

A Friday evening BBQ is a grand tradition in the yachting community. We work hard during the week as do a lot of people and when we have the occasional weekend off, Friday evening is all about a cooler full of beers and a pig on a stick, or wagu steaks (depending on your budget) cooked over coals while watching the sunset over the Pacific (for me at the moment), Atlantic or Med.

It sounds great working on a luxury yacht half way around the world, and it is, but the work is hard and don’t forget for those working outside, its in 40 degree heat. Also most yachts are being used fairly regularly so it is by no means a Monday to Friday job. Crews may have the boss (owner) onboard for 2 weeks then he gets off in Fiji and they then have to sail 9 days to get to Tahiti to pick up Kanye for a 10 day charter, and Kanye wants to party. So they have arrived in Tahiti having been in rough seas for 9 days, exhausted from doing watches and getting the boat ready. They now have to party with Kanye (and Kanye knows how to party) for 10 days. They are so good at their jobs that Kanye wants to extend his trip and party for another couple of days. Kanye gets off and, thank the lord, the crew can now get some well earned rest. Oops, the boss just rang, he would like the boat back in Fiji for another 3 week holiday with his Mother In-law.  This can go on for months. Crew can be working back to back trips all Summer before they get any time off. Thankfully, at the moment, I am not on such a boat. Not that I don’t aspire to be. You can earn a lot of quick cash on busy boats like that. Graft hard doing lots of charters for a few months and with tips you can walk away with a nice deposit for a house back home.

But anyway, I was going to write about the BBQ. The scene where I am at the moment is that we have 6 large motor yachts ranging from 30 to 60 meters in length tied to the dock and pretty much every one has the weekend off. So we have been taking it in turns to host a BBQ on the dock. One boat organizes the majority of food and booze and the other boats join in and bring a few bits’n’bobs with them.

Now it might be my competitive nature (there is no such thing as a friendly game of pool with me) but I do secretly think that there is always abit of a ‘Chef-off’ between the yachts at these occasions.

The first BBQ we had here a few weeks ago was hosted by another yacht. A very nice evening was had by everyone and the food was lovely. Some American T-bones and some chicken and some bla bla bla. All very nice and very civilized. Beers were drunk and dead animals were eaten…very nice.

Our yacht hosted the next BBQ. Two BBQs for me to cook on. One for the lamb racks skewered with rosemary, the wagu fillet steaks, the coquelets skewered with lemon grass sticks and ginger stems, the scallop and shrimp skewers, the corn on the cob, the Portobello mushrooms etc. The other for a whole leg of lamb that I had been cooking sous vide for the last 24hours at exactly 56.5 degrees and had studded with garlic and rosemary ready to flash fire over the coals. 2 tables of salads and accompaniments. Wine, beer, cocktails, jello shots, tequila shots etc. Entertainment organized by our chief Stewardess was some local guys with guitars who were jamming with our bosun (also a very talented musician) until the early hours.

A good night was had by all. Its not a competition. Hmmm…

Tonights BBQ (which I am now late for), there is talk of whole suckling pig….Bring it!!



  1. Hey Neil,
    nice to hear some from you!
    Cool to learn a bit more about a part of life that is very distanced from me, the high and might- actually, the rich and famous, I mean!
    Keep Blogging 🙂
    Anke aka Charlotte.

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