Life of a Hostie


(March 2016)

As mentioned in my previous post, Eat. Sleep. Dive. Repeat. I decided to remain on the Reef Encounter for a few extra days as a hostie. As a hostie I was required to complete a number of light jobs in exchange for free accommodation, three gourmet meals a day and two dives per day (and occasionally also a night dive). The hours were long, but not a bad trade-off for a backpacker looking to extend their stay on the reef, save money and dive every day.

Early morning start
Sunrises every day

My job onboard involved some housekeeping work (making up the rooms and cleaning the bathrooms -ugh!), helping in the kitchen (washing dished and helping with food prep), doing laundry (mainly folding) and setting up for meal times.

Here is a break-down of a typical day on the boat:

5:30         Wake-up and set up tea & coffee station and cereals for breakfast
6:30         Join in on the early morning dive session
7:30         Finish setting up for breakfast, help prep food if needed
8:30         Clean-up after breakfast – dishes and saloon area
                 Make-up rooms for new arrivals
10:00       Show new arrivals to their rooms, sometimes followed by some free time
11:15       Lunch preparation - set tables or help in the kitchen
12:00       Lunch is served
12:30       Clean-up after lunch, clean windows or laundry or other light cleaning duties
13:30       Free time
14:00       Make-up and clean departing passengers’ rooms
15:30       Join in on afternoon dive session
16:30       Finish rooms and laundry
17:30       Dinner preparation (cooking and setting tables)
18:00       Dinner is served, eat and clean-up afterwards
19:00       If all duties completed in time we got to join in on the night dive session
20:00       Dessert and final clean-up, laundry and other duties
21:00       Free time – usually bed time too

Ok, so the hours were long and it felt as if I was constantly working, but the work was easy and the benefits certainly outweighed the bad. I got to dive twice a day and on one occasion three times. I was surrounded by passionate divers all day who taught me a lot about the life below. There was always someone to ask if I wanted to know about navigation, identifying coral and fish and working out my tables. I saw sea turtles, parrot fish, a giant marble ray and Maori Wras named Frank, I found Nemo and discovered so much of the world below the sea.

Not only did I get to go diving every day, but I also got to experience life on a floating hotel. The boat moved twice a day requiring us to hold down cutlery and crockery in the kitchen whilst simultaneously trying to clean or or pack dishes away. I definitely learnt that making beds, cleaning bathrooms or packing away dishes is much harder when you need to hold on with one hand and do chores with the other whilst trying not to get sick form the motion of the moving boat.

To conclude, as tiring as it was working and diving all day, every day, I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a hostie on board the Reef Encounter and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to spend a few extra days on the Great Barrier Reef. Please get in touch or leave a comment if you want to know more about working as a hostie on the reef. 


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