Atlantis is the single greatest resort I have ever experienced. It is extravagantly amazing to put it mildly. At this point Carrie and I were still aboard the 115’ Broward. We arrived on Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas shortly after Atlantis had been completed and was newly opened. It was simply amazing. Atlantis is truly a wonderland for the wealthy. It was our good fortune that the casino was still spotted with nickel slot machines. There were others ranging up to five dollar slots, but it was the nickel slots that I truly appreciated, they being affordable to Carrie and I as at the time we restricted ourselves to a weekly entertainment budget of $40.
Our current duty had us set to be spending a few months at this amazing resort, in the marina no less! Extravagance here was evident everywhere we looked, it was over-the-top, and we enjoyed it very much. Liberal use of marble, colored glass, brass, and other metals of all types created an opulent playground populated by craps tables, roulette wheels, dining areas and lounges in true casino form. Then there were the slot machines. I like slot machines. The game is easy, it’s fun to do together while chatting and drinking, and the payouts are a semi-regular celebration. That is to say, they seem to payout in intervals. Not always large, but these machines were paying out fairly frequently. A month or so into our stay the nickel slots were replaced with quarter slots. We were sorry to see them leave. Not only did it affect the time we could spend playing (the house generally took our $40) but it also spoiled us for the nickel slots. Eventually Atlantis brought back a few nickel slots but after playing quarter machines these no longer delivered the thrill we sought.
A large part of Atlantis was their aquariums, they were all brand spanking new and beautiful and gigantic and full of wonderful tropical scenery. While we were moored in line with a number of other yachts, rumors were rampant on who was attending the resort with us. Michael Jackson rented three floors and the sky bridge between them. Oprah Winfrey was in residence, and held her show at the resort while we were there. While walking through the hallway one day I was astounded at the size, height, and entourage of Stevie Wonder! Walking past them in the hall was like piloting a dinghy past the Disney cruise ship.
Our days at Atlantis were spent with routine cleaning and maintenance of the yacht, nothing unusual or out of hand. The pay was not as high on this yacht as it had been on some others, but the atmosphere was also a bit more relaxed. Dinners aboard were still an extravagant affair, catered and festive with gold and silver detailed flatware, finely polished silverware and crystal glasses. The levels of opulence were evident, but with it there was an air of relaxed ease to the ship. On this boat Carrie and I shared separate quarters due to crew and their needs. Facilities were scarce on this particular smaller of yachts.
Our time at Atlantis aboard the Broward was enjoyable, but as they were to be heading north to the Great Lakes soon and we did not wish to accompany them desiring instead to look for something a bit more lucrative and tropical to spend our next few months on.
As we applied for our next shipboard position aboard a 115’ Hatteras (unbeknownst to us at the time, it was to be our last), we had gotten pretty good at the game and negotiated a very good wage as the ship had just come out of the shipyard for some extensive engine work and the exterior was covered in overspray from nearby paint jobs gone wild. It would be my initial duty to remove that paint from her once gleaming sides. In our interview with the captain and admiral (his girlfriend/chef), we indicated our relative lack of experience being just over a year and despite that, we had good references and we presented ourselves well thereby justifying our desire for high pay. They both agreed heartily that they enjoyed training new crew and very much looked forward to employing and training us, further encouraging us to contact past crew members for indications on what work aboard might entail. We did so, locating an old deckhand by the pool at a nearby apartment complex we chatted with him about our intended employment and were advised to “ask for more money, no matter what they are offering, ask for more”. I passed on this concern to the captain with a glint in my eye and he looked quite surprised, “Really?” he asked. I assured him that is what was said, but that we would be alright with them paying “more than they had ever paid anyone before”.
And so our adventure began on this 115′ Hatteras charter yacht.
This yacht was to be a little difficult socially from the standpoint that ‘passive aggressive’ was the rule of the day with the captain and with his admiral. Work aboard was to be heavy at times, especially being just out of the shipyard. Carrie and I happily shared a cabin aboard and enjoyed a good amount of downtime balanced by a fair amount of seagoing adventure including a charter and a visit from the yachts owners. We lasted 3 months aboard, long enough to achieve our financial goals and once our time aboard was up we would be through with yachting.