Operating in the Caribbean, West Coast of North America, Florida and the Bahamas
Without a place to really call home, Dane is a true man of the sea. After traveling around the United States in a motor home and a short stint in a house, at the age of 8 his family moved aboard a 45’ sailing vessel and there began his transformation from boy to sailor. With destinations including, South and Central America, Bahamas and the Caribbean, he was able to gain thousands of sea miles before he graduated high school. At the age of eighteen Dane decided to make a career out of his lifestyle and took his blue water experience to the next level. Dane now, with almost 12 years under his belt as a professional yachtsman, has sailed to destinations such as Galapagos, Eastern and Western Mediterranean, South America, Central America, Pacific and Indian Oceans, Atlantic Arctic and the Caribbean.
Dane recently acquired his MCA 3000 gt captain’s license and is now looking to take up flying seaplanes, which has been his life long dream. His spare time is filled up with light tackle fishing, free dive spearfishing, kite boarding and attempting to make people laugh. His main priorities are to ensure that you enjoy your time onboard to the very last minute!
Pete Nelson – First Mate / Safety Officer. South African
Like most people who join the yachting industry, Pete grew up in and around the water hailing from the east coast of South Africa in Durban. Starting in his early 20s, Pete began finding work as a dive instructor and a dive boat skipper around the coast of South Africa and eventually all the way over to the Caribbean in the Cayman Islands. He found his way back to South Africa where he started up his own whale watching and dolphin encounters business which he ran for 5 years before friends convinced him to sell the business and join the wild world of yachting. In 2009, he joined his first boat, a 237’ (72m) motor yacht, which he cruised with throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
From there, his diving and kite surfing background led him to a job on the world’s largest yacht, the 530’ giga yacht, Eclipse, where he became lead deckhand and personal kitesurfing instructor for the boss’s brother-in-law. Pete has also cruised at length throughout the southern Caribbean hitting up places like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Tobago, and Martinique. With his extensive water sports instructor background, our guests are guaranteed to go home with a newfound love of the water and perhaps even a new hobby!
When he’s not on the water surfing or fishing, Pete loves photography and golfing. He hopes to become a yacht captain one day before heading back to South Africa for good to fulfill a dream of becoming a wine farmer.
Carole Welman – Deck Hand. South African
Carole’s love for the ocean emanated at an early age from growing up in Durban on the east coast of South Africa. Spending her childhood and holidays on the family game farm in Hulhulwe, Zululand, She developed a love for the outdoors, animals and a simple, rustic way of living away from the city bustle. Becoming a fitness instructor was a natural progression in following an active lifestyle, But it was her adventurous spirit and infatuation for travel that fueled her across the Atlantic ocean in 2013 sailing from Cape Town, South Africa – through the Caribbean – to Fort Lauderdale on a little 39′ sail cat.
With Carole’s passion for yachting, her driven spirit and being unable to be confined indoors, she chose to start over by working on deck with the dream of one day obtaining her Captains License. When not on the ocean or beneath it, she’ll rise up to any activity or thrill, and occupies her moments of solitude painting or drawing to curb her creative urges.
Sam Wheaton – Engineer. Australian
A farm boy who grew up in the outback town of Tamworth, NSW, Sam got an early start tinkering around with tractors, engines, and other bits of farm machinery laying around the family hobby farm in Australia. He went on to major in I.T. at the University of Newcastle where upon graduating he decided to pursue the yachting life on the suggestion of some friends who were already in the industry. He spent 2 years working on the exterior before he took a sabbatical to head back to Oz where he found employment doing IT app development for mobile phones, mobile security, and Wi-Fi networks. However, the call of the sea was too powerful and he decided to rejoin the yachting industry, this time hoping to build on his IT knowledge and industrious background by immersing himself in the engineering side of things, where he has been for the past 2 years.
Sam hopes to spend several more years in the industry gaining his engineering certifications and possibly some captain’s licensing to eventually run a yacht of his own. He dreams of pursuing his passion for fishing and being able to one day run a fishing charter business in the South Pacific. When he’s not fishing, Sam enjoys watching the Olympics, being a ringer on the golf course, and playing rugby.
Bill Schwartzbach – Chef. American
Chef Bill, son of European immigrants, was raised with old world ethics while spending much of his early years around the kitchen table. Inspired by his mother’s love for food, he went on to pursue an education by graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York. After several stints in some of New York’s finer restaurants, Bill found his niche as Chef in one of south Florida’s highly acclaimed caterers and opening the door to a newly found passion; the yachting industry.
Chef Bill prides himself on preparing unpretentious-yet imaginative cuisine, bringing global flavors together with a focus on keeping it “fresh” at sea.
Ivona Blagojevic – Chief Stewardess. Serbian
Ivona grew up in a big family in the quiet town of Serbia. She left the country at the age of 18, with the idea to live on a small island away from home. Ivona spent several years living in Malta from where she started her career in the yachting industry. She has cruised extensively through the Caribbean, serving members of the British Royal Family, which has given her a solid understanding of what it takes to deliver a first class service. Ivona is passionate about creating and maintaining beautiful interior spaces, and thrilled to be working on a team of professional and highly dedicated people.
If Ivona is not busy mixing cocktails and looking after her guests on board, you will find her skiing in the Alps. She enjoys outdoors, running, and fitness.
Valerie Tarr – Second Stewardess. US Virgin Islander
Born and raised on the small island of St. John, USVI, Valerie has spent the majority of her time on the clear blue sea enjoying sailing, fishing, and water sports. From her love of sports and medicine, she went to college to pursue a career in Athletic Training. She worked for NC State as an Athletic Trainer while also taking graduate school classes for Child Development in Outdoor Recreation.
In her mid twenty’s, she embarked on a different direction becoming a nanny to three children, personal assistant, and house manager to a family in Florida. The 2 ½ years she spent with them, she cruised the U.S. east coast from Florida to Canada, Mediterranean, Bahamas, and Belize. After marrying her yacht captain husband, Dane, it was time to officially join the yachting industry. She enjoys hiking, yoga, and paddle boarding.