Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Fresh Look at Long Island

March 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

a fresh look at long island 1

Yacht Ross crew sunset by Melissa McMahonGrowing up in a small town in Georgia, Marli Ross didn’t dream of visiting Long Island on a millionaire’s private yacht. Yet that’s what she accomplished last summer.

Ross grew up with a keen sense of adventure and the water. “You could always find me near the water. I used to go wakeboarding and boating with friends and family on Lake Lanier; it was the highlight of my summers growing up,” she says. “When I started going to Nantucket is when I really started to fall in love with the sea — there is just something mysterious and magical about that place.”

After studying nursing at Kennesaw State University, Ross felt the call of exploring and decided to enter the yachting industry. She enthuses, “It’s the perfect way to meet people of different backgrounds and travel to places you have never been! I couldn’t wait because being in the middle of the ocean when the sun is rising is the most peaceful, beautiful, tranquil thing in the world.”

Yacht Ross crew by Melissa McMahon (1)She’s yachted to the Bahamas, Atlantic City, Newport, and Martha’s Vineyard, among other desirable destinations, on a yacht hundreds of feet long. Amongst all the places she has traveled, Ross says Greenport is her favorite.  Working hard and long hours as a yacht crewmember, she was very thankful to get time off to be able to experience Long Island for the first time. “It was quiet, cute, and the vineyards nearby were amazing. They had really good authentic restaurants in Greenport, and on breaks we would run to the ice cream shop.”  She also ate a lot of local oysters, calling them “delicious.” When it came to sampling local pizza, Ross says, “I have never seen such a big slice in my entire life.”

Ross admits she had a stereotype of New York before she arrived on the Greenport dock. “This is embarrassing now that I have been there, but honestly I looked at New York all the same. I viewed it all as one big city, including Long Island.” Ross adds, “I think that is why I loved Greenport so much because of the small-town feel. I was blown away when I arrived, and I didn’t expect it to be what I had seen. It reminded me of home.”

During her yacht crew training in Fort Lauderdale, Ross had met someone from Long Island. When she found out the yacht that employed her would berth in New York City and on Long Island, she contacted her friend and made plans to meet up. “It was like having my own personal tour guide; she’s awesome,” she says of her friend. As for New Yorkers, Ross’ impression is that “everyone is really loud there, and they talk so different than I do. I felt out of place, but everyone I had met was really nice or maybe I just got lucky.”

Marli Ross Montauk by Melissa McMahon (2)Along with Greenport, Ross enjoyed exploring Montauk and the vineyards. “It was a great day to spend time in such a beautiful place with some crew and my New Yorker friend. I couldn’t believe how many vineyards there are, they are all so beautiful and have their own uniqueness, which I liked.”

Port Jefferson was a different story, thanks to the weather, according to Ross. “All I remember was coming in the pouring rain, and I was helping on deck, just getting soaked because our yacht barely fit into the slip so it was a mission to get all the lines out.” However, she did warm to the “quaint” village when the sun came out.

Ross regrets a missed opportunity while in our area. “I wish I went to Oheka Castle. I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan and I had no idea her music video was shot on Long Island until late in my trip.”

Marli Ross Montauk by Melissa McMahon (1)In New York City, she had the opportunity to see Fifth Avenue and the 9/11 Memorial.  Getting to New York was an easy trip, she recalls. “We had smooth seas and saw other pretty boats along the way. Port in the city was crazy. We docked right next to the driving range at Chelsea Piers, I thought, at any minute a golf ball was going to come through and hit me. We had heard from other crew that one had hit their yacht.”

Though Ross saw only a few places on Long Island, she realized how unique New York is and how diverse boating is on Long Island. There are boatyards with small center console vessels to marinas and clubs that welcome yachts of 200 feet and up. “I wish I had been able to see more. I would without a doubt come back to visit. Not only do I have a great friend there, but there is also so much stuff to do and see,” she says excitedly.

Having put yachting on the back burner for now to continue her education and become a registered nurse, Ross keeps her memories of Long Island with other seaside souvenirs and seagoing pictures. And, if you haven’t figured it out, that awesome friend and Long Island harborside tour guide is me.

Story and photos by Melissa McMahon




More photos and what’s it like to be a crewmember on a yacht?

Melissa McMahon: What was the hardest part of working onboard a yacht?

Marli Ross: I think the long hours you work when the owners are on. After a few long days your feet really start to hurt. You also never know when your next off day is, so there is never a set schedule. So sometimes it’s hard to make plans to see family and friends, but that’s just a part of the industry.


MM: What was your favorite and least favorite job you had to do onboard?

MR: I think my favorite job was to be “on service,” as they say. I really loved the owners of the yacht I worked on, so I enjoyed interacting with them and being of service to them. I’m a people person. I also really liked bartending and doing flower arrangements. We had a lot of parties onboard so it was fun to surprise the guests with different drinks and the flowers were always a nice extra touch. My least favorite job… probably ironing all the sheets. It took me about an hour and a half per set when I first started, I think by the end I was doing a set in 45 minutes and sometimes there would be two-three sets. It was just very time consuming and very easily messed up.


MM: What is it like living, sleeping, and working on a yacht?

MR: I actually didn’t mind it. In a way the people you work with become your family. So it was like my “home” — my very small “home.” As long as you get a little time off the yacht to yourself, even if it’s a short walk on your break, it’s not bad at all. I was lucky, I had a really great roommate, so we worked around each other really well.


MM: Give an example of what a typical day was like for you working onboard.

MR: It just depended on the day. A typical day on service I would wake up around 5:30am and I would have to be “on” by 6:15. I would set up the bridge deck aft for breakfast. It’s all about the details, so you recheck yourself a lot. Then, before the guests were up, I would start cleaning the bridge deck. Then once they were up I would take their breakfast orders and make their coffee. After serving breakfast I usually got a break for about two hours. Then I would usually pick a table setting for lunch and set the table. During all of this you’re also always checking on the guests. You have to always be one step ahead of them. It’s like mind reading, but you get good at it. Then clean up from lunch, hand wash the dishes, pack everything away, and make sure the guest area is spotless. Then you do it all over again for dinner. It’s really nonstop. After dinner usually the stewardess on early service gets to switch out with the late service stewardess, but there were nights we all worked all day and night.


MM: How does the crew deal with people coming up right to the side of the yacht when docked?

MR: Well, we aren’t allowed to really share any information on the yacht or the owners so a lot of questions you just can’t answer because of confidentiality. But some questions are so funny you just have to laugh and smile about it. I think everyone knows when you work on something like that, that people are going to be curious about it.


MM: What did the crew do for fun?

MR: We watched a lot of movies, and we had some crew outings. We didn’t have a lot of down time, so we rarely had off days all together. Some of the crew liked to skate and some liked to try new foods; we were all from various parts of the world so that was the cool thing, as we all had different tastes.


MM: Where were the other crew members from?

MR: All around the world! South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, England, and America.

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