‘Below Deck’: Wes and Gabriela Are in Love but a Yachtie Romance Isn’t Easy [Exclusive]

Gabriela Barragan from Below Deck Sailing Yacht said she and Wes O’Dell from Below Deck are definitely in love. But Barragan chatted with Showbiz Cheat Sheet from her home in San Diego, while O’Dell was in St. Thomas with his boat.

She said the couple definitely hopes to stay together and they have a strong connection. But Barragan knows yachtie life isn’t always conducive for couples as they both pursue their careers in the maritime industry. “Wes is great,” Barragan said. “He’s working with the Boy Scouts of America, teaching teenage boys how to sail and survive at sea. He’s still in St Thomas and it’s hurricane season now. But when the Boy Scouts end, he is going to take the boat to a different island. But I’m taking the summer off. So we’ve been away from each other for, like, a month and a half.”

Below Deck’s Wes and Gabriela may have to spend time apart

Barragan described a scenario that many yachtie couples face. “I left at the end of May,” Barragan continued. “But, this is sea life. It’s hard to get attached because inevitably you’re going to have to separate unless you get a job together. And Wes is not into superyachts. He’s his own captain of his own boat. The last thing he wants to do is go work on a superyacht under someone else.”

Gabriela Barragan and Wes O'Dell from 'Below Deck' smile in an embrace
Gabriela Barragan and Wes O’Dell | Photo Gabriela Barragan

“And I’m into yachting because, first of all, the money. And the free travel. So we’re doing the best we can. But, we love each other, and we know that we’re really good friends. So if it doesn’t continue romantically, when I go back to work full time, no one’s feelings are going to be hurt. We’re going to support each other from afar. And it’s going to be fine.”

Gabriela jokes about Wes’s ‘no game’ edit on ‘Below Deck’

O’Dell and Barragan cautiously wadded into going public with their Below Deck romance. She said they are pretty private so going public was a big step for both of them. “We had so many people shipping us,” she recalled. “I didn’t know what that word meant. Shipping is to hope someone’s in a relationship. And it’s a little pun like a play on words because we work on boats.”

“I remember before we even got romantic, people would make comments like no one thought we were dating. Everyone thought we were just friends and colleagues. He’s like, ‘Wait a minute. Why doesn’t anyone think that I would go for you or that you would go for me?; I was like, well, because they gave you the awkward no-game edit on your season!”

She recalled how they laughed about the edit. Adding, “I’m really private. So, when the article came out and people were talking about [the romance] on Reddit, I was just like, cringe. But also, I could see him be like, ‘Ha ha suckers. I do have game!'”

She shares that Wes definitely has game – but she’s the cougar

Barragan said O’Dell’s game is that he’s more of a confident person. He hinted about having a crush on stew Jessica Albert on Below Deck Season 9. But he and Albert never really connected and she quit – without even saying goodbye to him.

“He’s very shy,” she said about O’Dell. “I don’t think Jessica knew really that he was into her. And I didn’t know he was into me either. Like, he doesn’t know how to let you know. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have game. He’s just a quiet, confident person. And, very classy. I’m the aggressor. Because if I’m like you, you’re going to know. I’m a cougar! I’m six years older than him.”

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