A few weeks ago we farewelled Antonio, our fantastic Housekeeping Manager. Antonio has returned to the Canary Islands to run his family business and is very much missed by everyone here at The Atlantic. We couldn’t let him leave without delving into his interesting story, including his background in Aquaculture, how he found himself in Byron and what’s next…
Can you please share a little about your background and what brought you to Australia?
I grew up in the Canaries on an island called Lanzaroti (Lanzarote) surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a volcanic island – a bit like Hawaii, the only green you can see are the gardens of houses. It’s full of lava and beautiful sand. I’ve always related to the ocean, having been surrounded by it my whole life – I’ve bodyboarded, surf, fished and sailed all my life.
I studied Sea Science and did a Master Thesis in Aquaculture (fish farming) and spent nearly 8 months in Crete. After that, I started working for the university Aquaculture Research Group (ULPGC) and then received a grant to do a PhD focusing on the nutritional requirements of larvae. I had an idea to setup a business related to aquaculture – fast growth species or octopus, however when I was about to finish my thesis (scientific articles and thesis oral presentation), my mother got sick and passed away – it put a huge halt to it all. I started questioning everything.
With the support of my family and thesis director (Dr. Hernández-Cruz), I ended up finishing my PhD but no longer wanted to work at the university or in aquaculture. One of my friends was planning a trip to Bali and Byron and convinced me to go with him – he said, “you no longer have any excuses Antonio”. So I said, “okay, let’s go to Bali”. That was two and a half years ago. My journey was to listen to what my body was asking for – I found peace, longboarding rhythm and beautiful energy around this journey, in Byron Bay.
How did your job at The Atlantic come about?
When I came to Byron, I started working for a housekeeping company, servicing various houses. The Atlantic caught my attention for a few reasons – having grown up surrounded by The Atlantic ocean, the name really stuck out, also the address, 13, was my mother’s wedding date and favourite number – I thought, this is my place. So I handed in my resume and then received a call up and I said you will never be disappointed in hiring me…and that was the start.
I didn’t set out to become the Housekeeping Manager – I wasn’t looking for any responsibility when I started. After one year of being at The Atlantic, the Manager decided to leave so she wanted to involve me as much as possible to take over her role and allow for a smooth transition…it naturally flowed from there. I enjoyed establishing the Manager role and creating systems that allowed me to use my scientific side and play with the data. I was keen to find ways to improve the efficiency of the Housekeeping team and help the business save money and I was super happy and totally involved because I was learning.
We are sad to see you go! What have you loved most about working at The Atlantic and living in Byron?
I am super sad to leave Byron – it’s a beautiful place to live. I would surf in the mornings, practice yoga or reiki. Then come to Atlantic and enjoy working with this amazing team. I met so many beautiful souls here. There is a real harmony inside The Atlantic, and all our guest feel it. Everybody enjoys working here.
What’s next for you?
I was meant to stay for another two years, but my father recently retired and asked me to take over the family business with my sister Pilar. We are the official Toyota dealership and workshop on the island I grew up on (38 years). In a way, I have always been part of the business as my father would often ask for my objective point of view – he always valued my opinion. Often a lot of my advice was based on concepts I learnt here – thanks to Gary and Stephen. I feel like I need to pay back my father for the beautiful life he gave me.
I have mixed feelings, I’m sad to leave but I am looking forward to being closer to my family and a beautiful challenge.
We wish you all the very best! Do you have any final parting words?
I’d like to thank and mention some staff members and friends. There are some very special ones I have worked with at The Atlantic – Julia and Heidi are amazing souls as are Tommi, Amy and Ida. My beautiful teachers, Gary, Stephen, Deb, Cristina and Des – I always appreciated the easy and clear communication between us. Christina shaped my eye in deeply cleaning and I am a perfectionist – she’s like a mum to me, same with Crystal who worked here as well. There are so many people to thank from housekeeping – they have all been great – I guess to highlight those that really made my life easier, it would have to be Cristina, Crystal, Paula, Nico, Lucha, Jin, María, Alejandra, Sharon, German, Tamara, Patricia and Roberto.
Finally, my life motto- you’ve just got to go with the flow. Whatever comes is a beautiful lesson.