Paragliding San Francisco

This is a sponsored post on the behalf of Paragliding San Francisco. All opinions are my own.

There are paragliding tours? I always thought it was only for trained professionals. Thanks to Mike Fifield of Paragliding San Francisco, I was able to fly as a guest. He also allowed me to bring a friend. My dear friend’s initial reaction was hesitation, which was quite different from my excitement. He didn’t say no and he didn’t cancel. Looks like we’re going paragliding!

Having been a Concierge in San Francisco booking local tours, I was happy to receive Mike’s invitation. This is a unique experience that I would love to offer my travel clients and be able to speak about from personal experience. Mike and I booked a date and time. I received an email of details for the event and what to expect. My friend and I decided to make a full weekend in San Francisco out of it. I booked a room at the Le Meridian hotel, planned to visit the Legion of Honor Museum, dinner at his favorite restaurant, Bix, and meet up with friends in from Chicago to visit Muir Woods and lunch in Tiburon.

After a full weekend, we got to Pacifica early and decided to grab a coffee a few miles from our meeting spot. Looking up, it was funny to see paragliders fly right above us at the cafe. In the distance, you can see almost a dozen paragliders with a variety of different colors decorating the sky. I started to get nervous. As usual, my friend didn’t express his excitement, nor nervousness if he anxious.

It was time to head over. The road to the meeting place was a bit rough on his Porsche so we drove slower than usual. Parking could be a challenge but we found a spot. It was breezy at the coastline and I was glad I brought my The NorthFace jacket. Will it be colder up there?

We took the trail to where most of the paragliders were hanging out and stopped just shy of where there was an incline. I texted Mike that we were here. We were still early for our appointment.

We observed a paraglider attempting to launch near us. The many lines attached to him looked like it could be quite time-consuming to unravel. I know I have the same problem with some of my necklaces sometimes. Multiply one chain by twenty!

There seemed to be two launch areas. One close to where we were and another higher up. Observing the ones in the sky, one paraglider had a shark kite trailing him. As a tandem guest, I was trying to see if I could spot how exactly two people are participating. “Are you sitting in his lap?” my cousin asked when I posted this on my Facebook page. Keep reading to find out.

My phone rings. It’s Mike. He says he sees me and to look up. He’s calling me from the air! He says he’ll be right down. He must be a professional if he can make a call and manage a guest at the same time! We watch him land with his guest. It was nice and smooth. By the smile on the young lady’s face, she really enjoyed her experience. She wished me a good time as I was next.

We met Mike and he was so easy going, just like he was on our initial phone call. He introduced my friend to Chris. I thought Mike was going to take me up, then my friend. No, we’re going to be in the air at the same. How cool! I asked my friend if he could take pictures of me if he felt comfortable taking his phone out while he was up in the air. Not being one to take photos or be in them, I had to accept that I will be taking a bunch of selfies. This is when Mike offered up his GoPro and selfie stick. Awesome.

Without having said more than a greeting to Chris or know how much experience he has, I reluctantly released one of my best friends into his care with a ‘No, I’m not worried at all’ kind of “Have a good time!” farewell. Because of the heavier weight, they walked up the hill to launch from a higher point. I just had to trust Mike.

Mike fitted me with a helmet. He outlined emergency protocols, which he has never had to use in his many years of experience, and explained how to use the GoPro, the two-person harness and how we are going to launch. Yes, we are going to basically run off the cliff. Together.

I stepped into the harness and was buckled in, attached to Mike. No, it wasn’t uncomfortable or too close for comfort. It was like a front baby harness with a lot of room.

Mike got the paraglider up and we walked together back and forth a few times and he was ready. And just like that, we were running towards the cliff and we took off. No beige dirt was underneath my feet and it was the smoothest take-off I have ever experienced. We were quickly gaining elevation or was it that the new grade was the ocean below me?

I couldn’t help but smile. Only a few seconds into the experience and I couldn’t help thinking how amazing this was. It wasn’t cold at all. I thought my face would be cold and my nose would be running but the temperature was pleasant. Look towards the horizon and it would be an incredible way to watch the sunset. Look to the North or South and see the never-ending coastline that grace the front of millions of postcards. Look towards the wall of earth we ran off and see just how far the drop would be had we leapt from the very top. It is a long way down.

Mike warned me of an upcoming bump I would feel and to not be alarmed. He also was OK with not doing any spiral tricks I saw other paragliders did earlier. I felt safe the entire time. He did get me close to my friend and I was able to get him in the shot via the GoPro. I flashed him a shaka and it made me happy that he even gave me a smile. He looked very relaxed and was enjoying the ride. He works so hard. I am happy I was able to bring him along to experience this. We both have never paraglided before.

As much as I looooved being up there, I was starting to feel a little sick. I am prone to motion sickness. I have had to sit in the front of a tour bus on the Amalfi Coast, prayed for land while trying to swim with dolphins in the open water in New Zealand and I don’t even like swings. It is common to get motion sickness while paragliding. I felt uneasy for a few minutes but felt it was time to let Mike know how I was feeling. It was best if w landed. I would have stayed up there forever if I could!

Mike understood and took us down with a smooth and easy landing. He helped me get unbuckled and invited me to sit down to relax in one of the chairs to the side. He had other appointments and I felt bad that he could have filled this time with a paying customer. But thankfully, business has been good.

Relaxing, I looked up and watched my friend fly. That’s what good friends do, right? We support them and watch them soar. Chris also provided a safe landing and we both were on solid ground. I hope me coming in early didn’t cut their flight short. Regardless, we loved the experience. We expressed our gratitude, said our goodbyes and Mike said he would get me the GoPro video soon. See it HERE.

My friend stated he would definitely recommend the experience. He enjoyed himself. That makes two of us.

Please contact me if you would like to cross this off your bucket list. You won’t regret it! Mike is also an instructor! Learn to paraglide on your own!

Labor Day Bike Ride

Labor Day is a three-day weekend in the United States and many folks were traveling. This Travel Agent stayed local and caught up on some work.

Show me what you’re doing right now!” – my Sunshine in Atlanta. Of course, I was working this Labor Day weekend in bed and with football playing.

To switch up my morning workout routine a bit and take advantage of the cool weather, I decided to take my Specialized bike out. According to Runkeeper, it has almost been a year since! I attempted to hit the shoreline but didn’t make it. Not this time! I made it a goal to reach that shoreline. I pumped air in my tires, tracked my time and miles via the Runkeeper app and loaded my backpack with water. Then I was off!

I live in a part of Hayward, California where there are a lot of busy streets. I did my best to stay off of them and appreciated the ‘Bike Route’ signs. It is still a bit nerve-wracking when a car drives close to you because there are several cars parked along the road and no bike lane. But, I was safe and definitely had my helmet on. Be sure to obey all street signs and get out of cars’ way as quickly as possible. With the many terrible drivers I encounter as a driver myself, it is dangerous out there.

Dear Hayward and neighboring towns, please add more designated bike lanes. Thank you!

I crossed through Hayward and into San Lorenzo. I rode over overpasses and stopped at a couple of parks. One was the Via Toledo Park. On this same route a year ago, it was still being built. It looks really nice.

Crossing Hesperian Boulevard, I eventually found my way to Del Rey Park. It was near a school and had two playground areas. Visiting these parks reminded me that I, and my travel clients, should take the time out to play and book that trip! Let me know how I can help.

I eventually made it to the shoreline. Thank goodness. My bottom was starting to hurt. I explored a bit, crossed a bridge, rode thru a residential neighborhood and started my way back home. Be prepared to see other cyclists, runners, walkers, dogs and even folks fishing. The San Francisco skyline was hidden by cloud cover but on a clear day, you could see that beautiful view. You could see the San Mateo Bridge no problem.

This was a 12.75-mile bike ride to and from the Hayward Regional Shoreline from downtown. I was happy to be able to explore via a bike, decrease my carbon footprint, help the planet and do something active.

Get out and see your town via a bike!

See my TikTok video as well – username: bappletree or scan the code to the right!

My 2nd Walk to End Alzheimer’s

On November 6, 2021, I will be participating on my second Walk to End Alzheimer’s event in San Francisco with Team ONDO. Last year’s event took place in Golden Gate Park. It was great to get the team together to do something active during the pandemic. This year, we hope things improve and we can make a bigger impact.

I started tracking my miles walked via RunKeeper since August 1st. As of today, I am at 42.73. miles walked. I will continue to track my miles until the day of the walk. Perhaps you can donate $1 per mile?

TOTAL MILES WALKED Since 8/1/21
59.47

Hayward to Castro Valley loop. And a rewarding 1Up Nutrition smoothie afterwards.

TOTAL RAISED Since 8/1/21
$260

If you like dogs, I am logging my miles with my furry clients and thru Wag (Get $5 credit with my code BERNADETTE9307). It’s always fun to do it with these adorable guys.

Skye in Calistoga, California
Zito in Hayward, California
Sir Kingsley (?) in San Leandro, CA

Please sponsor me with a tax-deductible donation in any amount! Stay tuned for other ways I will be attempting to fundraise.

My roommate and I covering 4.33 miles.

I am also participating in my 3rd Teal Run (eh, walk) in September. If fundraising for ovarian cancer is closer to your heart, please donate HERE and see my other blog posts.

‘Choices’ is Gooood!

My Little Loves (aka niece and nephew) were out of school and I planned a weekend full of fun. Besides a lot of pool time at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Downtown Sacramento, Tia Bernie had to spoil them with a lot more! With Jan’s help from Choices Ice Cream & Smoothie, they enjoyed some complimentary designer milkshakes and a delicious smoothie. It was so good, they couldn’t stop talking about it all weekend.

From the hotel, we walked down to Old Sacramento in some pretty warm weather. We even had to take a break in the shade because it was too hot for the little ones. We were definitely working for these treats. We eventually made it to Jan’s which is located across the street from the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sac.

From the moment we walked in, we were greeted with the much-welcomed AC and Jan’s bright smile. I introduced the crew to her and we scoped out the menu. They have smoothie bowls, smoothies, designer shakes, cones and sundae, and floats! The kids already knew what they wanted. The day before, I showed them a photo of their Birthday Cake Milkshake ($14.50) on Instagram and the decision was made that very instant. It contained a cake on the side but the milkshake itself was 4 scoops of their ice cream and sprinkles of their choice, milk, whipped cream and as many toppings as they desired.

Jan invited Nate and Arya to go behind the counter and help with their milkshakes. They washed their hands and put on some latex gloves. It could get messy! Jan walked them thru the steps of decorating the cup, how to scoop ice cream, how to blend the milkshake and more. They got a front row seat to her expertly stacking this dairy tower.

Now seated at the tall counter, they were patient as we took these photos. They loved their 24-ounce milkshake. I was pretty impressed by the damage done by a seven and nine-year-old. Of course, Christy and I tried their milkshakes and it was definitely delicious.

Assuming there was going to be leftovers, I opted in for the 24-ounce strawberry acai smoothie ($8.99) to try more of Jan’s offerings. It was made with acai, bananas, strawberry and nut milk. It was very refreshing. See my Instagram reel on @werehungrytoo for my initial reaction.

While the kids were occupied with their milkshake and I was trying not to sneak in more bites, Jan was at it again making Christy’s Strawberry Shortcake Designer Shake ($14.70). It had white icing, crushed vanilla wafers, strawberry shortcake popsicle, strawberry drizzle, whipped creamed, scoops of strawberry ice cream and milk. And the actual shortcake. It looked amazing.

Before we dove into this piece of art, we had to get a photo with the designer. The kids were all smiles and we had to do it quick before it dripped on her floor. The photo turned out great and the milkshake, was eye-roll deserving. It was so good.

The kids were tapping out. The next thing for us to do was to sign the wall! We all loved Choices. Can you tell the kids loved Jan? Jan was so great with them. She invited them to get involved, asked them questions, made them laugh and hugs were given all around. We had such a great time! They even want to come up from the Bay Area to visit for their birthdays! It looks like we will definitely be back.

Be sure to check out Choices Ice Cream and Smoothie and follow them on social media. It is owned by a lovely black woman and it just opened in May. Please continue to support small business.

See my videos on TikTok ‘bappletree’ and on Instagram and Twitter.

July Giveaway! Disney Ears from Aulani.

I visited the Aulani, a Disney Hawaii Resort & Spa, in June for the second time. Your Disney certified and Hawaii ravel Agent would love to book you and your family there! For those that collect ears, I picked up an extra pair of these beauties to giveaway! Aren’t they nice?

How to enter:

1. Follow OneBusyBeeEnt on Facebook
2. Earn one entry for every Facebook friend tagged in that day’s post.
3. Earn one entry for every shared post.

Good luck and mahalo!

Rules:

United States residents only. Last day to enter is July 31, 2021 at 11:59 pm PST. Winner will be drawn at random and notified via my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/OneBusyBeeEnt during the first week of August. Winner must be following OneBusyBeeEnt at the time entries are made and at the time of drawing to win. Retail value of ears is $30 US. OBB to cover shipping. Valid address, email and phone number will be requested of winner to ensure delivery. Questions: bernadette@onebusybeeent.com

Oahu 2021 – Day 1 – Airports, Hertz & Sushi

Seven days on the island of Oahu was not part of my travel plans this year. After a year of no air travel, I was hesitant to book the flight to New Orleans for my roommate’s birthday in April. I wasn’t ready to be in an enclosed area with a bunch of strangers. But, there’s nothing like good flight deals for under $400. More on that trip soon!

This trip to Oahu came as a surprise when my niece’s traveling partner fell thru.

Do you mind going with your auntie?

I shyly asked my 21-year-old niece thru Facebook messenger. I had assisted her with booking this trip and I knew I could show her a good time. I have never traveled one-on-one with her before, but I was down for the experience. I think I am pretty fun. It’s been amazing to see her grow up.

She obviously let me crash her vacation. I had booked my outbound flight using my Hawaiian Airlines miles and booked a seat on her Southwest flight for her return, which is where I am writing this now.

My flight was easy. I love flying Hawaiian. It’s comfortable, the food is decent, and you usually get a rum cocktail as we near our destination. Unfortunately, the egg sandwich was OK and we didn’t get that Koloa Rum cocktail. We did get a Honolulu Cookie though. But the best thing about the flight is that they give you power! Sadly, Southwest does not give you the juice! I did not bring compatible headphones, just my Apple Airpods, so I was not able to watch a free movie. I did play their travel trivia game for a bit though. That was good educational training for this Travel Agent.

Upon arrival, it was a long trek to the baggage claim. As mentioned in my Island Prep post, be sure you get pre-screened. It will get you to enjoying the beach faster! But as of July 8th, all you need to do is upload your vaccination card. If you aren’t vaccinated, you will still need to get pre-screened.

The baggage claim carousel number for your flight mentioned during your flight may change. Be sure to listen to the overhead speakers for these announcements. Mine changed but if you recognize some of the travelers that were on your flight, it may confirm you are in the correct area. Reviewing the screens for your flight number will also be helpful.

I am mostly a patient flyer. I am not someone that waits close to the perimeter of the baggage claim carousel waiting for my bag to pass by. You are just standing in the way of other travelers from getting their bag. At a distance, I propped by Coach bag on the shelf of a pay phone and leant up against it. I kept my eye out for a large, red Samsonite luggage to make its way along the conveyer belt. The glittery beige Coach luggage tag also makes it easy to spot.

With the luggage in hand, I made my way to get transferred over to the car rental area via a shuttle. People were all in a rush to crowd the shuttle door to hop on. I usually do not. With Covid, I will wait for the next one. Thankfully, this shuttle didn’t board an excessive amount of people. I appreciated that.

Arriving at the car rental counters, each of them had very long lines. My heavy bag was taken off the shuttle and the driver helped me down. I handed him a tip. He looked surprised and gave me a happy ‘Mahalo.’ I don’t think people are tipping enough nowadays. I know everyone is going thru hard times, but every service industry is hurting. If you can tip, please do. Even a dollar goes a long way.

I looked at the Hertz line and was thinking this was going to be a pain. Then I realized that the Hertz Gold Members line was empty. I made my way to the front of the line, gave only my name to the next available customer service rep and my car keys were handed to me. I didn’t have to give them my license or credit card. I did ask if they had any upgrades for members or Travel Agents but was told that my car was automatically upgraded. I was in and out in a jiffy. I told the lady I walked by that it is extremely worth becoming a member! It doesn’t cost anything!

I made my way to the car assigned to me and it was a big black Chevy Impala. The top of the trunk came to my chest! Then again, I am 5’1”. I opened the trunk to add my massive luggage to it and I was shocked to see how large the space was. I joked that I could put more than a few bodies, I mean pieces of luggage, in there. It was enormous. The inside was leather, all black and very spacious. Upgraded, indeed! Thanks, Hertz!

Before I pulled it off the lot, I did my usual video recording going all around the car noting dents, scratches, etc. You do not want to be held responsible for pre-existing damage. Hold onto that video until at least a month has passed.

I had some time to kill before my niece arrived. I did some work in the car with my laptop, then I remembered that she is allergic to seafood. I haven’t had sushi in awhile and looked for someplace nearby. Ninja Sushi came up and it wasn’t too far. It is located in a private parking lot, and you had to have your ticket validated with a purchase in order to stay there for two hours or less. It was warm in the sun so I ordered and ate inside.

I ordered a salmon roll, salmon nigiri and a bottled water. I also ordered her and I a Spam masubi. I figured she would be hungry after a long flight. The rolls were decent but they didn’t have ponzu sauce, which is normally what I use instead of soy sauce. No big deal. The service staff was friendly, and they quickly cleaned each table after the patrons left.

I positioned the car to where the sun wasn’t beating down on the driver’s side. I rolled the windows down, welcomed the island breeze, listened to music and played on my phone. I was waiting for her to say she had landed. She eventually did but needed to charge her phone so that we could communicate without interruption when I pick her up at the correct terminal and door. I highly recommend purchasing a portable battery for instances like these. A charged phone is so important. Regardless, it all worked out. I had my niece in the car scarfing down a Spam masubi and we were about to start our adventurous week on Oahu.

Stay tuned for more!

Jewelry by Stella & Dot (all retired pieces), hat by Steve Madden, top by Abercrombie & Fitch.

Island Prep

*UPDATE* On July 8, 2021, the state of “Hawaii to Waive Testing Requirements for Fully Vaccinated U.S. Travelers Starting Next Month” – Travel & Leisure, June 25, 2021

Things are definitely different after a challenging year. You can’t jump on a plane to the gorgeous islands of Hawaii with ease nowadays. From documentation preparation, Covid testing and limited to inability of booking an Uber at any given moment, I would recommend giving yourself more time to be well-prepared.

The Southwest flight to New Orleans the week before did not require special documentation in order to enter their state. The state of Hawaii had many requirements. If you were not able to get pre-screened, prepare to wait in a very long line and a delay in jumping into that gorgeous ocean water. Upon my arrival, I thought the line was for Starbucks. People are nuts for their coffee. But no, the line went at least five gates. The worst part was that I only saw one person handling all these incoming travelers at the time I walked by with my pink bracelet showing I was pre-screened.

The first thing you need to do is set up a Safe Travels profile. There, you will need to provide your travel details. At the time we were traveling, we wanted to avoid the 10-day quarantine requirement if you were not pre-screened. Our stay was only 7 days so it would have been pointless to go at all if you had to quarantine for 10 days.

Three days before your flight, you need to have a Covid test done. Before that, you should make an appointment at an approved provider. The list of providers is also on the Safe Travels website. I was able to make a reservation the day before thru Walgreens. Thankfully there are plenty of locations so if appointments are full at your desired location, you have options.

My appointment confirmation email had clear instructions. I was able to pull up to their drive thru where you can pick up prescriptions. You are to have your ID and appointment confirmation ready to be shown thru the window of your car. You had to wait for instructions to lower your window. The pharmacist tech verbally gave you instructions and the test kit for you to open. You will have to self-administer the test by swabbing your nostrils for at least 10 seconds each with the same swab. You then insert the swab into the liquid in the tube provided. Break the excess stick so you can secure the lid of the tube with the swab in it. You throw it back in the bag you were handed and give it to the Technician. A test number is given to you along with a website where you an obtain your results. I received mine in 36 hours.

Be sure to download and print the results. Upload the results to the Safe Travels website and a barcode should be issued soon after. It is recommended that you download the barcode to your phone but also print a copy. As recommended, I printed a copy of my hotel accommodations and my return flight details.

If you do not have a reliable printer at home like me, I had a challenge of getting these documents printed. I attempted to go to one of my jobs to use their printer but realized they changed a lock on me. I then had to go to Kinko’s to print these documents. With this said, try to be prepared with plenty of time to spare in case things don’t go as planned.

Ready with my documents in a manila folder, it was securely placed in my Coach bag for easy retrieval. I was ready when I checked in for my departing flight at the Oakland Airport. Couples in front of me clearly did not read the instructions very well.

All packed, I then had to make sure I was able to get to the airport for my 8 AM flight. Long-term and off-site parking was completely booked. Sadly, it was too early for some of my friends to take me. Those that did offer me a ride, I didn’t bother asking them as they weren’t close to me. I don’t like to inconvenience people. I decided to park for a $17.50/day in the long-term lot at the airport.

I had reserved an Uber a couple of days before for an early pick up, but when 6:30 AM rolled around, the app said there were no drivers available. The weekend before, the ladies arrived at Oakland Airport from New Orleans at about 9 PM. Quotes for Ubers was $90 to go 10 minutes away. Even when we opted in to pay it, we couldn’t get a confirmation. I had no idea how we were going to get home if our friend didn’t change her plans and drive us home 10 minutes out of her way. We didn’t even see taxis around.

Had an Uber been around, I would have saved 75% of my long-term parking cost. I hope things improve in this regard or get more friends close by willing to help me out. East Bay friends, where are you?!

Below Deck – Season 2

Less than a week from the Season 1 post going live, I am done with Season 2. This season mostly has a new crew, new boat and new adventures. As stated, this Travel Agent gets seasick and can no way be a yachty. Most of the crew states this is their way to travel. I am just following for the fun and views.

Pic from https://www.thedubrovniktimes.com/media/k2/items/cache/0d77511af28edff9982f6b0b2eb7aca3_XL.jpg

THE BOAT

The crew has a new boat, the Ohana, which means family in Hawaiian. The boat is beautiful after the crew had to bust their bum to get it in tip top shape. It’s amazing how much space is on there. But as we know from the penny stock trader, the satellite internet was terrible. This One Busy Bee would probably be working on the yacht as well. I can’t stop.

THE CAPTAIN

Captain Lee was in the Captain’s chair once again but seemed a bit warmer this time around. I think having Eddie as Bosun versus Aleks made him feel more confident and at ease. Good staff is hard to find!

STAFF

From Season 1, Eddie, Kat, Chef Ben and of course Captain returned for another season. I have seen Kate Chastain’s name from other shows I have watched on Bravo but this was my first impression. She can get the job done. But it’s no secret she’s got a major RBF (resting bitch face) situation. A guest even called her out on it, which earned him a surprise on his bed. I would prefer to work under Kate than last season’s Chief Stew, Adrienne. The show showed Kate actually picking up a rag and working just as hard as her Stews were.

I really liked the other Stew, Amy. She’s from Texas, bubbly, always had a smile on her face, etc. Kat really toned down the partying and being annoying from the previous season. No accents or whining like a child. She states that after watching herself, she decided that that was not how she wanted to behave. And she got in shape. Good for her!

Eddie’s deck crew consisted of Andrew, Kelley, Jennice and Logan. Andrew didn’t stay the whole season due to his lack of experience. He was then replaced with Oklahoma boy, Logan. Kelley had a great bod and pursued, won and released Jennice. Kudos to Jennice for handling her role as the only female deck crew member and staying classy through the reunion. Good job!

The engineering crew made no appearance in this season.

GUESTS

This season had a repeat charter guest from Season 1, another charter guest came twice in one season and there was a lot going on. The repeat charter guest unfortunately brought Adrienne aboard from Season 1. That was unnecessary drama of her prancing around in a bathing suit enjoying being waited on by her former staff. If that is going to be a common cameo in the upcoming seasons, I hope they wouldn’t.

The rugby team was quick and easy. The penny stock trader unnecessarily flashed money come tip giving time. And a group asked for more service, almost asking to be waited at every moment. I am surprised they didn’t ask to be fed with a silver spoon or burped. Oh, people with too much money.

LOCATION

Again, the location wasn’t highlighted with points of interest. The guests had one beach day but that’s about it. I have to remember this is not a travel-focused show.

FOOD

As a foodie and owner of WereHungryToo on Instagram, I would eat anything Chef Ben puts out. Everything looked delicious. Sadly, the 19-year-old girlfriend of a the penny stock trader liked very simple food. She asked for quesadillas, made a face when presented with oyster and scraped off caviar. But hey, she’s affordable.

MONEY

If you’re considering getting into yachting, the rugby crew were onboard for one night and the Ohana crew earned about $500 each for a tip, on top of their salary. Not bad.

I am about to start Season 3 and have no idea what’s in store.

Other posts:
Below Deck – Season 1

Below Deck – Season 1

Having watched a few episodes of Below Deck Mediterranean and a way to get some travel education while we cannot travel right now, I decided to start the original Below Deck series with season 1. As someone who gets seasick, I know I could never be one of these yachties. This season takes place in the Caribbean in 2013 on the yacht Honor worth $20 million.

I haven’t been to the region in quite a few years but hope to get back soon, maybe on a Disney Cruise Line. I have recently booked a repeat customer for a 10-day cruise on Celebrity Cruises for August 2021. I am excited for this family to enjoy the Caribbean, preferably less stressful than this young cast.

Though it’s been several years since it has first aired, here are my thoughts on the season 1.

The Boat

Before my years at a real estate law firm, I interviewed with a San Francisco law firm with superyachts. This would have been my closest experience to being on a yacht or working with one. It would have been great to experience a yacht like The Honor even while docked. It looks amazing. Of course the living area for the guests is gorgeous and spacious, but the quarters for the staff are tight and confined. My first cruise was on the Celebrity Reflection for 14 days in the Mediterranean. It was an inside cabin with two twin beds. I’m sure the guests’ smallest room is way bigger than the staffs’ cabin below deck.

Captain

Captain Lee seems like a hard ass. His brief appearance on the reunion episode clearly shows that he wasn’t adored or missed since the end of the season. It’s tough being the boss and being in charge of a mobile $20 million yacht plus all those on board. With the amount of pressure, I would probably be a bit high-strung as well. In comparison to Captain Sandy on Below Deck Med, I think she was able to connect a bit better with the crew. It makes all the difference.

Staff

There are a lot of issues that come up, otherwise this wouldn’t have a show, right? Not to focus on romantic relationships on board, other topics for discussion include drinking and boss-employee relationships.

Drinking on the job is a big no-no for me…unless you work for the entertainment and restaurant world like I have. A lot of these reality shows provide a lot of liquor to get cast members intoxicated in front of the camera to entertain viewers like us. Kat, a Stewardess, got plenty drunk off charter. And let’s be real, on charter as well. Most of us have had a bit too much too drink at one point in time. During the reunion show, it is nice to see that Kat has reflected on her experience and is making healthier decisions for herself. Good for her! I wish anyone on the same path a lot of success.

The power struggle between Adrienne, the Chief Stew, and Sam, the other Stewardess is frustrating. As much as I love Sam’s name, the lack of respect and constant smirk would get under my skin as well. Clearly, customer service is not for Sam. It is challenging when someone like Adrienne needs a good worker but can’t get the results after attempts of finding a solution. I think Adrienne just wanted to do a good job but I do agree she could have lead by example more. Perhaps pick up a rag too, take the time for training and re-training (which they say they didn’t have time to do), etc. I am not sure if it’s the show and timing, but perhaps the show was creating these limitations to prevent things being done correctly and creating these unnecessary struggles.

My favorite crewmember remains to be Chef Ben Robinson. He’s just a cool cat and makes funny comments. I have dealt with many Chefs in my day. There are ones that seems to hate their life and strive to make everyone else around him miserable. Then there are those that are sweet and sane and kind, but like anyone else, has a breaking point.

Side note, one episode did start a craving for pancakes. Thanks, Chef Ben. I have been enjoying 1Up Nutrition protein pancakes once or twice a week now.

Crew

I don’t think I can work, eat, party and sleep with the same people for weeks on end. It makes sense why this show makes good television. People are placed in unique living situations and filmed almost every minute. During the pandemic, I am finding that I have become a bit anti-social. I have grown accustomed to my space, the quiet and doing things on my own, when I want or with my favorite person. I think the person I would be able to live with from the show would be Ben. What about you?

Guests

Oh, people. They can be absolutely terrible, can’t they? We have all heard about the Karens and the Kens of the world during this pandemic. If you’re rich, poor, middle-class, there are terrible people everywhere. The charter guests are rich. They can spend $200,000 for a week-long charter on the Honor. They get 5-star, customized meals 24-7 and they can treat the crew with very little respect. One charter guest this season sexually harassed the ladies in front of his own female guests. They bring drugs aboard. And they just want the sun and the moon at the snap of their fingers. Working in the service world myself, I feel for this crew. But it is the job you selected so you have to roll with the punches.

One couple did get married on the Honor. As a Wedding Planner/Event Planner, I found this episode fun. I would ask Adrienne to step aside and let me do my thing.

Location

The area was great. Most of the season was shot on board. Below Deck Med showed a lot of the Mediterranean. I was hoping to see more than just the dock and local restaurants. I didn’t learn much about the Caribbean during this season.

Food

Again, well done to Chef Ben. Everything he plated looked delicious. At the end of the season, it stated he was taking an vegan education course. I am sure he has green juice recipes a hundred miles long. I was hoping they would have showcased more local, unique food offerings from the local stalls. Maybe some conch, guava berries or local fish. But, this isn’t the Food Network.

Money

As mentioned, you have to have a lot of money to charter a yacht like the Honor. Unfortunately, I am not in that tax bracket. But wouldn’t it be nice to have? A big part of the show is when the tip from the guests is distributed to the crew. Three-hundred dollars a day on top of your salary is not a bad gig. If you can deal with the sea sickness, the demands, WANT to learn and can respect your superiors, check out how to get casted!

I am about to start Season 2 and I have no idea what I’m in for.

Are you a fan of the show?
Who’s your favorite crew member from this season and why?

#1UPTransformationChallenge – Week 3

Kicking off week 3 of my first 1Up Nutrition Transformation Challenge in Napa Valley soaking in hot springs and getting a massage. Not bad, right? As mentioned in Week 2‘s write-up, the Galentine’s Weekend was a bit rough. Attempts to not over eat and get in a workout was a must. In Week 3, I had another outing scheduled for my best friend. It was going to be low-key.

MONDAY

Having to leave our cute cottage in Calistoga with treatments the next block over, I had to make sure to get in some kind of workout. With the help of Cassey Ho and FitOn, I got in a pilates workout. I was able to relax in the hot springs tub before and after my massage. I think my body needed this after the work I have been putting in on a daily basis.

A spontaneous stop at the Napa Valley sign called for yoga poses again. It was then time for lunch at Gott’s Roadside and I have to say, their meatless burger for Meatless Monday was delicious. And our last stop was at Caymus. A MUST stop for us. Sooo good if you love wine. Then, more yoga in the mustard greens. Total calories: 1,722

TUESDAY

Attempting to redeem myself from a high caloric weekend, I went with cardio FitOn videos that were low impact. My knees were still giving me problems. Our usual stop to San Francisco, Tartine, Dumpling Time and The Butcher Shop included our friend, Walter. It was nice to get him to the city and experience what we do almost on a weekly basis. Total calories: 1,183

WEDNESDAY

Needing to make sure I get a workout in, I did one FitOn workout. Breakfast was a hard boiled egg. Lunch was quinoa and eggs.. Then dinner was roasted cauliflower. Total calories: 1,442

THURSDAY

Having a busy day before I picked up my best friend for our little getaway, I didn’t have a chance to do a workout. However, we did play cards. For every game lost, the loser did 50 squats with bands. We each did three sets and Christy was feeling it the next day. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Breakfast was overnight oats and dinner was Sol Food in San Rafael. It is amazing! Total calories: 1,189

Our view during workouts.

FRIDAY

Naturally waking up at 7:30 AM and letting Christy sleep a bit, she eventually woke up and worked out with me. I tried the sample of the peanut butter vegan protein by 1Up Nutrition and I have to say, it’s much better than the vanilla protein I did purchase. Next order will be peanut butter.

Eating leftovers for breakfast had us ready for an adrenaline rush with ziplining from tree top to tree top with the Sonoma Canopy Tours in Occidental, California. Yes, yoga poses again. Total calories: 1,190

SATURDAY

With checkout at 11 AM, two FitOn videos were done followed by another 1Up Nutrition peanut butter drink. It was Christy’s birthday so she opted to NOT workout. She had to work that evening so being even more sore wouldn’t be a good idea. Lunch was a crab sandwich with delicious pickles for $12 at Cafe Aquatica, then, I had to get the birthday girl some sweets. We made a detour to Santa Rosa and went to Sift Cupcakes. Sooo yum. Total calories: 1,378

SUNDAY

After 5 days of adventures, I think the pandemic has turned me into a homebody. I was happy to back home and back to my routine. Sunday, we slept in til 8 AM, went to the farmer’s market, Whole Foods and tried a new restaurant in Redwood City called Kemuri. I had the garlic shrimp bowl and it was full of flavor.

FitOn workouts consisted of cardio with Kenta and an ab workout we haven’t done before with Cassey. It’s nice to switch it up. Dinner was almond flower pancakes with nutella and fresh strawberries from the market this morning. Total calories: 1,334

And next, Week 4.