In the last dregs of the summer season, the Sirocco continues to slowly circle France and Below Deck Mediterranean chugs on.
I couldn’t even be bothered to remember the names of the charter guests. I’ll just call them “Alcohol Now,” which is the t-shirt the primary was wearing when he boarded the boat. The primaries own some sort of luxury puppy palace. So, explain to me, again, how that makes you rich? Even if your only clients are Lisa Vanderpump and Kameron Westcott things aren’t adding up. But here they are and here we are, watching it all unfold; boringly. I assume the one woman who is allergic to everything under the sun (except alcohol and silicone – clearly) is going to have some sort of attack after accidentally consuming something Ben Robinson accidentally served her.
Either because the specialty plate went to the wrong person when one of the stews (you know it will be Anastasia Surmava) was distracted, or because Ben was so anxious about the burners and the size of the galley that he misread the preference sheet again and prepared something she cannot eat. Anyway the episode ends with this woman literally crawling out of her cabin and collapsing on the floor. Exciting to say the least (to be fair they were sailing through a squall).
These guests, for all their arriving in ‘style,’ are largely harmless and actually very polite. Sure, they’re drinking nonstop (don’t they all?), but they’re not being demanding, nor are they getting asshole drunk. The worst thing that happens is that Allergy Girl falls asleep at dinner, but wakes up just in time for dessert. An Affogato-style affair that puts all the previous affogatos to shame.
Anyway, let’s back way the f–k up to the night before when Travis Michalzik was so drunk you’d think he had an allergic reaction after accidentally eating Ben’s anchovies. Actually, Travis just got fast and loose with an unattended bottle of vodka. He is now being carried to the boat and dumped in bed by Ben. It was a miraculous feat of strength that Ben was able to get him into the top bunk. Ben seems like he can barely deadlift a roasting pan.
The next morning, Travis is washing the furniture covers, spraying what suspiciously looks like spittle, when Captain Sandy Yawn happens by and notices alcohol on Travis’ breath. Unfortunately, this is not the first time! So, Travis doesn’t brush his teeth? Ewwwwww…
Travis is falling apart. Joao Franco has noticed it. Hannah Ferrier has noticed it. And Sandy has definitely noticed. Travis came to Sirocco immediately after another charter, with no break, so he’s homesick, tired, and at the end of his tender rope. Joao, who in his older years has become a mild-mannered, mature, and conscientious man; outgrowing his adolescent tantrums and Jezabob rebellion, just wants to give Travis extra support so they can get through the last couple charters. For all his faults Travis remains an excellent and highly experienced deckhand who never really fails to do his job. (Ahem Jack… )
It seems that Joao has taken on the Captain Sandy ‘Have a Hug, Save a Hoe” style of leadership. Anything can be fixed with an extra helping of ‘supportive smile’. Colin Macy-O’Toole agrees they all need to rally around Travi to lift him up. Maybe Colly’s mom can send a lasagna? A pot of sauce? Some love-stuffed Hot Pockets drenched in the aroma of hugs?
While Sandy is preparing an intervention for Travis, Hannah is sleeping
it off in. Since she’s lazy, she sends Anastasia to shore with Ben to pick up the table decor to fulfill Sandy’s vision of Sirocco looking like a high-end yacht. Ben nearly has an orgasm over fancy cheeses and meats, and buys them all, while Anastasia dejects everything as the “tackiest shit” she’s ever seen (I refuse to believe this as Anastasia is an American and has presumably been inside a Walmart).
Hannah is annoyed because when Anastasia returns empty handed, because Anastasia doesn’t do her job, it looks like Hannah doesn’t do her job either – and at this point the only job Hannah has time for is full-time micromanaging Ben’s emotional outbursts and Travis‘ alcohol consumption. Too bad she’s failing at both – miserably!
After starting off the season strong, Hannah is verymuch back to her old tricks. I get it there’re all tired, but Joao isn’t doing a half-assed job.
And in the other corner of the boat, Jack Stirrup and Aesha Scott are oblivious, so wrapped up in their bubble of love. Travis could throw up on one of their heads and they’d barely notice. Since one’s options are limited within the confines of a boat, Jack leaves what appears to be a dead stuffed pigeon on Aesha’s bed with a cigarette hanging from its mouth, alongside a red bull. Is it warning about the dangers of smoking? Just when Aesha thought she couldn’t swoon anymore, Jack writes her a heartfelt poem about how she has a fat head and a furry ‘kitty’. Young love – it’s not for the faint of heart.
And then comes the guests. We’ve already discussed that one guy likes to drink and another other lady is allergic to the skin on her own tongue, so no problems here, right. Seriously, surprisingly not. Well except for that pesky weather… Within minutes of the guests arriving, Sandy decides to turn the boat in super high winds. The ride is so choppy the crew can barely stand. Hannah has to come around delivering seasickness bracelets, but one guy recommends some sort of patch he put on his taint. Hopefully, Hannah didn’t have to apply that as well!
Ben is the one affected the most by the conditions as pots, pans, and kitchen crap fall from the rafters of the smallest galley he’s ever cooked in. The small spaces and the inept apparatuses are making him go Mila, aka crazy – and this coming from a man who was once a chef on the largest yacht in the world. I have not checked his LinkedIn profile to verify said references (because I fear LinkedIns constant emails offering me an amazing job opportunity in kitty litter sales or some shit), so he could be lying…
When the boat finally arrives in calmer waters, the guests hop on the water toys before lunch. It’s too windy for the slide much to everyone’s chagrin, but there are jet skis. Jet skis which no one can operate. The primary falls off, in front of a ferry, which means Joao has to go rescue him.
From the sidelines, Colin is frantic that the French Ferry will be caught in the crossfires and possibly injured “Watch out for the ferry!” he cries, worried that Joao might strike it with the spray of his jet ski. Ferries are sensitive creatures, requiring nurturing and careful consideration. Their chug is the soothing reassurance of our mother’s heartbeat, even in our 30’s, even when one is so full from eating sauce that you fear you might burst.
No ferries, or charter guests, were injured in this rescue attempt. Not even pride.
Lunch is a success even though the burners continue to taunt and haunt Ben, who serves the guests jumbo shrimp with eyes that in turn taunt them. All around good times, though! Then Ben suddenly realizes he need 200 eggs which he has forgotten to oder. Anastasia is only too willing to shirk her 3rd stew responsibilities to help him out in a jam. Which is quite a 180 from her attitude from 2 weeks ago when she hyperventilated at even the word “galley,” and going into a panic attack when Hannah requested she assist Ben until he got acclimated.
Now Anastasia is ignoring Hannah’s needs as she eagerly calls the provisionary, places an egg order, and sends Joao off to pick them up. Hannah fumes. Hannah has some seriously unresolved issues with Ben that are manifesting in bizarre ways. She is snippy with him. Hannah can scarcely contain her resentment, yet constantly defers to his tantrums then mutters rude comments under breath. She claims it’s because with Sandy and the guests happy with the food, why upset the apple cart. Hmmm… OK.
Then, tragedy strikes! While Joao is off gathering eggs, he distractedly backs over the tow line of the tender which gets all tangled up in the boat’s propeller. This requires a several-hours rescue mission utilizing a wetsuit, not one, but TWO pool noodles to make a nest that cradles Joao’s patootie as he is lowered – by rope – into the water under the tender (prowl? How do I have no knowledge of boat parts after watching these shows for all these years), several tools, and Travis crouched on the dock manually wielding a flashlight. In the middle of it all Anastasia calls over the radio whining for someone from deck crew to come take out Ben’s trash.
After several unanswered calls, Travis offers a rude response about doing interior’s job for them, but stomps downstairs to move the garbage bags to the trash chute. Unfortunately – being a radio and all, which everyone can receive sounds from (except June), Sandy heard the entire exchange and demands Travis to march down there right now and handle the garbage.
On his way back to help Joao, Sandy calls Travis onto the bridge for a talk. Travis looks exhausted as he explains his frustrations about constantly being required to help interior do something they could easily handle themselves. And he’s right – why can’t the THIRD STEW take the trash out!? Get off your high horse, Anastasia!
Sandy agrees. She acknowledges that Travis has been over-relied on this charter. However, she lets him know that a sassy radio tone will not be tolerated, mister! Obviously, Sandy sends Travis off with an ‘I still love you’ hug and pat.
Interior should be more worried about the table. The trusty white satin remains of an 80’s wedding gown are once again pulled out, swaddling the paresseuse Suzanne (that trollop!) and decorated with some basic AF red roses, some of which were wrapped in white dinner napkins. All in all it looked like a parody of The Bachelor.
Hannah doesn’t even bother pretending to care, while Anastasia whines that she’s too brain dead to think of anything better. A common theme with Anastasia is that she will not ‘lower herself’ to use le amie Google. Such wealth of inspiration, ideas, and suggestions…
And there are more important fish to not-fry. Literally! Dinner is sloooooow as Ben continues to fight with the finicky burners. He’s so distracted he accidentally serves allergy lady anchovies which she’s allergic to (as listed on the preference sheet) which means Hannah has to return the deconstructed Caesar salad so Ben can make one, sans anchovies. This only further delays whatever the main is, until the guests are falling asleep at the table.
Ben is so panicked over time, temperature, and the size of the galley (men like big galleys!). He burns himself in the process and starts swearing. Hannah stands by, wringing her hands, clutching at a tea towel as if her delicate female sensibilities have been offended and she might get the vapors. Colin is confused after the way he’s witnessed Hannah take down her stews, Joao, and literally everyone else she comes into contact with, yet cower to Ben. Good food saves tips, young son!
Behind the scenes, Hannah is fed up (pun intended!) with Ben. She snipes that he should stop using the stove if it doesn’t work. Um, yeah – stoves aren’t necessary at all when cooking! Just use the oven. Or an Instapot! A Waffle Iron? How about a George Foreman?! Who needs a stove in SEVEN-STAR dining! At least the guests like the food for once, which is an improvement over the previous two chefs.
Also, at least Ben has figured out a solution to getting the food to the table still hot. It’s genius, I tell you – never thought of before: cloches. Or tiny silver domes as featured in ever spoof about gourmet dining one can imagine. Hannah is convinced they are too small, that they will not work, but they do, and all is served food hot and ready.
RELATED: Below Deck Mediterranean Star Travis Michalzik Thinks Hannah Ferrier Just Wanted An Excuse To Get Out Of Their Date
That night, before Hannah heads to bed, Sandy pulls her aside to ask about Travis drinking and express her concern. After learning that Hannah has tried to warn him several times, Sandy decides to talk to him herself.
As Travis heads up for night watch, Sandy seizes her moment. She shares how alcohol abuse ruined her life, landing her in the hospital and in jail. It was a very nice and heartfelt chat. She encouraged Travis to try not to drink for 30 days. Just give it the old sober try! Travis remains unconvinced and in denial that he has a problem, but appreciates Sandy’s honesty and caring. And of course her long, comforting hug.
RELATED: Below Deck Mediterranean Star Captain Sandy Yawn Opens Up About How A Motorcycle Crash Actually Saved Her Life
Who knows if Travis is an alcoholic, or he just drinks to excess on charter? It doesn’t seem like he’s drinking on the job. Something everyone agrees with. His competence and trustworthiness at work is never questioned. But he clearly has a problem. Like Sandy said about her own struggles: one glass of wine turns into 3 bottles.
TELL US – DID SANDY MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE IN TALKING TO TRAVIS? IS ANASTASIA BEING TOO LAZY OR IS HANNAH THE PROBLEM?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]