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The days leading up to your TV debut may be nerve-racking for some, but not Captain Jason Chambers. When Bravo Insider caught up with him a little more than a week before the premiere of the Peacock original series Below Deck Down Under, the captain was "really excited" for the show to begin streaming on March 17, when the first three episodes of the season would be available.
But Below Deck Down Under was kind of a sink-or-swim moment for Captain Jason as he admitted that he had only seen "dribs and drabs" of Below Deck over the years. It wasn't until he officially joined this new franchise that he "went all out" watching episodes before the charter season began. "I didn't sleep for about four weeks," Captain Jason told Bravo Insider. "I just watched everything. So I was ready to go."
It also helped that Captain Jason could pick the brain of someone who has a lot of experience in the world of Below Deck. "I know Hannah [Ferrier] through a mutual friend. She's a Sydney girl, so I did reach out to her prior to the show starting to ask her opinion about me going on the show. And I must admit, if it wasn't for her positive attitude towards it and her advice," Captain Jason said. "And she just said, 'Just go on there and be yourself and do what you do and just remember you're there to enjoy that.' And that's kind of me to a T. So it was an easy fit."
Captain Jason even let fans in on his past reunion with Hannah on Instagram, posting a photo of himself with the Below Deck Mediterranean alum on March 3. "Quick catch up with this awesome friend last year, it was a great preparation for #belowdeckdownunder," Captain Jason captioned the pic, to which Hannah reacted in the comments, "I can’t wait."
"I caught up with her for a coffee. It was good to see her," Captain Jason recalled of that day to Bravo Insider. "I will catch up with her when I get back to Sydney as well."
Captain Jason isn't the only one who's reached out to Hannah for some advice on the new season of Below Deck Down Under. Aesha Scott, who worked with Hannah in Season 4 of Below Deck Mediterranean, also contacted her former crewmate for some words of wisdom on her promotion to chief stew in the Peacock original series.
"So I did quarantine in Sydney before we came — we all had to quarantine — and honestly, every couple of days, I was calling Hannah when something would come into my mind. I’m like, 'What about this? But what about this? And what about this?' And she’d just, like, explain to me how she did everything and how everything works. And she honestly, like, she sent me a bunch of files that she used to have, like stew duties and all that kind of thing," Aesha said in a separate interview with Bravo Insider. "And she, honestly, was just such a godsend, and she was really there for me. And she said, 'Any time in the season when you need help, just message me, and she really has been so amazing through this whole thing."
With Hannah having left yachting to start a family, Aesha said that it felt like the former chief stew was passing the torch. "It’s just so cool, you know, 'cause she started out as my chief stew and then she left and she’s fulfilled her dreams of having a baby, which she always wanted," Aesha shared. "And it’s just kind of nice that we started in that position and now I’ve kind of moved up to her role and she’s just, in the way that a mother would [be], she’s very proud of me and very supportive."
Hannah welcomed her first child, daughter Ava Grace Roberts, on October 26, 2020, and motherhood definitely suits the Below Deck Med alum, according to Aesha. "Honestly, it’s just so exciting. It makes my heart so happy. Because when I first met her, very soon after we became friends in Season 4, she told me that, like, it wasn’t even so much a guy and a marriage — like that part she wasn’t as adamant about — but all she wanted was to have a baby. She really wanted to be a mum. And, you know, I think in her mind she was getting into her 30s, she was worrying that she might not find someone in time, and it might not happen," Aesha said of seeing Hannah as a mom these days. "And then she’s met this incredible guy and had the most beautiful baby. And it literally is just all of her dreams coming true. And so that just really makes me so, so happy for her. And she’s such a wonderful mum, too. She’s so devoted, and Ava’s just the cutest thing ever."
In addition to seeing all of the absolutely adorable photos of Ava on Instagram, Aesha said that it's also been "so nice" seeing Hannah post photos of her fiancé, Josh, whom the former chief stew was a bit more private about on social media when they first started dating more than three years ago. "But now he’s kind of given in, and everyone loves seeing it," Aesha said.
So far, Aesha has only been able to see Ava and Josh virtually, which she said she is "so gutted about." Aesha had plans to visit Hannah and finally meet her family in person in Australia after filming this season of Below Deck Down Under, but they weren't able to do so because of the pandemic. "But I’m actually going to do some press in Sydney next week. So I’m gonna go and visit them when I’m over there," Aesha said during her Bravo Insider interview, which took place earlier this month. "So that’ll be amazing."
Unfortunately, Aesha said that she'll be missing Hannah's upcoming wedding. "I’m so gutted because it’s actually on the exact same day as one of my best friend’s weddings in New Zealand. And that friend had, like, you know, invited me before Hannah had planned hers, 'cause she did hers ages ago. So, yeah, unfortunately it’s just in summer at this age, everyone’s kind of getting married," Aesha said. "So I’m gonna have to miss it. But I’ll be very sad to miss everything."
Aesha said that she hoped to celebrate with Hannah at her bachelorette party, but that ended up not happening, either. "When the hens do happened, I wanted to go to that as well 'cause we had that bubble open with Australia. But then that got shut down," she said. "So yeah, it’s just, unfortunately, I’ve had to miss all these amazing milestones in her life. But she knows that I’m always there, and we talk on the phone all the time."
Aside from Hannah, Aesha also still keeps in touch with her fellow Below Deck Med Season 4 stew and Below Deck Galley Talk yachtie Anastasia Surmava. "I still talk to her quite a bit. And she’s smashing it as well," Aesha told Bravo Insider. "It’s so nice seeing her with Will, her boyfriend. She’s just so in love. So, yeah, that’s really lovely."
Now that he's officially a part of the Below Deck family, Captain Jason will hopefully also get to know crew members from across the franchise, including his counterparts on Below Deck, Below Deck Med, and Below Deck Sailing Yacht. He shared that Captain Sandy Yawn has already said "a few nice things" about him on Instagram. "So I'll be looking forward to meeting them all and, hopefully, sharing some stories," Captain Jason told Bravo Insider.
And it sounds like there will be plenty of salty sea tales from the M/Y Thalassa crew's adventures sailing around Australia's Whitsunday Islands this season of Below Deck Down Under. "I just feel like I spent so much of the season just laughing my head off. And I think that this mix of crew, we were so good at egging each other on, and there really are just so many hysterical moments. So I think that it's just such a funny season," Aesha teased. "There is a lot of drama. And it’s just gonna be so entertaining. So I just can’t wait for everyone to see."
Plus, we can expect many more epic excursions off the boat, according to Aesha, especially compared to her experience on Below Deck Med. "We really were encouraged to go out with the guests," she said. "I got to go on bushwalks and diving. The diving on the Great Barrier Reef has been on my bucket list for so long, and so, I got to go and do that twice. Scuba diving, beautiful islands, it’s so isolated. So that was a really cool aspect of it."
And, as noted in the beginning, there is a lot that Captain Jason is eager for fans to see in this season of Below Deck Down Under. "We're going to show them Australia, which is fantastic, and being in my home country, it was just an honor to be part of the show and down there. In terms of the show itself, we're going to see a lot of crew growth. We'll see the drama. It's definitely going to be there because it's real. It happens in our industry as well," he said. "The timeframe that we do all these charters in is intense. We have no choice but to go have some ups and downs. And, at the end of it, we all come out a better person and definitely better crew members."
Just as Aesha came away from Below Deck Med Season 4 with lasting friendships, Captain Jason said that the Thalassa crew similarly formed strong bonds — which is what he's really going to take away from this charter season. "There's so much growth that came out of this show with the crew, and we're all in contact," Captain Jason shared. "I just feel like I've met some wonderful people, and it's been a great experience for my life."
Below Deck Down Under is streaming now on Peacock. New episodes are available every Thursday.
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