Behind Ocean Lines
The Invisible Price of Accommodating Luxury
An ex-yacht chef uncovers the dark reality of life at sea.
By the age of twenty-two, Melanie is ticking life’s boxes as if filling in a routine survey. Good grades at school? Check. Reliable university degree? Check. Steady graduate job? Check. Her two feet are planted firmly on solid ground; her life to date perfectly mirrors society’s expectations. That is until she finds herself plunged into the superyacht industry, like an ice cube thrown into a cut crystal glass of the finest whisky, having stepped foot on a boat just three times before.
Not only is she required to learn how to run, sail, and race a multi-million-pound yacht on the job, she is forced to adapt to a wholly unnatural life afloat, largely confined to a bunk bed, crammed galley, and live-in colleagues. Oh, and to devise, develop, and deliver fine dining menus for some of the wealthiest people on the planet. No biggie.
From the Mediterranean to the Caribbean to the Arctic she cruises, visiting places many can only dream of, orienting herself in an environment few have the opportunity to observe. But while her culinary knowledge evolves and her on-board responsibilities grow, the world as she knows it begins to close in. The depth of the ocean no longer phases her; it’s the darkness inside which she fears.
Dolly Alderton meets Below Deck meets #MeToo in this deeply personal account of a deterioration in mental health against a backdrop of opulence. It is, shockingly, not an anomaly in the industry. It is about time the public is told.
10 October 2022
Listen to the official playlist:
'The dark side of life below deck' –Tim Moore, The Telegraph Magazine
'A striking debut' –Sarah Finnan, IMAGE.ie
'Superb' –Bobs and Books
'The seaborne drama of Below Deck meets the candour of Bryony Gordon' –Róisín Devine, The Book Edit
'Fascinating and harrowing' –Bookaholic Bex
'Raw, honest, invaluable... a catalyst for further conversation' –Max Stott, The Superyacht Group
'Engaging' –Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller
'A book that can actually help anyone suffering with with their own thoughts and anxieties' –Chantelle at Brewtiful Fiction
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