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The Daily Dish Below Deck Mediterranean

Tumi Mhlongo Explains Why She Missed the First Below Deck Mediterranean Charter

Find out why returning cast member Kyle Viljoen was also absent. 

By Shannon Raphael

When Captain Sandy Yawn kicked off Season 8 of Below Deck Mediterranean by taking Motoryacht Mustique around the Italian Riviera, two very important crew members were missing: Chief Stew Tumi Mhlongo and stew Kyle Viljoen.

How to Watch

Watch Below Deck Mediterranean on Mondays at 9/8c and next day on Peacock. Catch up on the Bravo app

The Below Deck Down Under alum and returning Below Deck Med cast member weren't able to make it to the vessel in time for the start of the charter season, and they explained why on the September 25 premiere (which you can check out in the clip above).

Read on to find out why the crew members were absent, and to learn what Tumi had to say about missing the first charter during a recent chat with The Daily Dish.

Why did Tumi Mhlongo and Kyle Viljoen miss the first charter on Below Deck Mediterranean?

The Mustique interior team crew members both faced the same issue when trying to make it to Genoa for the beginning of the charter season. "I have my chief and my second stew stuck in immigration," Captain Sandy said in an interview on the premiere. 

As she explained to interim chief stew Natalya Scudder, Kyle and Tumi were having an immigration issue" and they were in the process of "trying to get their visa[s]."

"This season hasn't even started, and it's already a sh-tshow," Sandy lamented.  

Kyle Viljoen and Tumi Mhlongo's FaceTime with Captain Sandy Yawn

Though the stews weren't able to get to Italy in time to greet the first set of charter guests, they did appear virtually on the premiere. How? Captain Sandy video called the pair from the boat. 

"I've never wanted to be on Italian soil more than now," Tumi said while she was on Facetime with Kyle and Sandy.

The captain then asked for an update on the situation. "There's such a backlog with visas," Kyle explained, while Tumi joked that she would "swim all the way there" if she had to.

Split of Tumi Mhlongo and Kyle Viljoen while wearing their Below Deck charter uniforms.

Tumi Mhlongo Opens Up About Missing the First Charter

While chatting with The Daily Dish ahead of the Season 8 premiere, Tumi revealed why it was difficult to see the Mustique crew get the charter season started without her. 

Because Tumi wasn't there, Natalya was the one who set up the interior. As a result, Tumi said that her "anxiety was off the roof."

"I'm not going to beat around the bush with that one," she said about feeling anxious during that first charter. "I mean, because with me, I really like to plan things, and I like to have things structured, and I obviously would have wanted that."

"I kind of felt a little bit dysfunctional, because I'm not there," she continued. "I just wanted to get there. It's just one of those things."

Though she wasn't able to bond with the crew right away, Tumi shared the experience with Kyle — something she said that "100 percent" brought them together as friends ahead of the charter season. 

"We definitely bonded [over] our anxiety," Tumi joked. 

Thankfully, as you can see on the teaser trailer for the season here, Tumi and Kyle do eventually make it on the boat. To find out what happens next, tune in to new episodes of Below Deck Mediterranean on Mondays at 9/8c on Bravo. Stream episodes the next day on Peacock. 

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