Remember When discovers luscious and tropical Dominica

NURTURE IN NATURE 

Remember When is proud to be featured in Boat International magazine with a detailed narrative about an unforgettable journey into Dominica, a well-kept Caribbean secret.

Adapted with permission from www.boatinternational.com April 2017 by Sophia Wilson

Nicknamed Nature Island, Dominica’s mountainous landscapes promise new adventures. Sophia Wilson discovers the Caribbean’s wild side in luxury, on board Remember When.

“You get a piece of everything—rainforests, mountains, waterfalls, hot water baths and active volcanoes”

The isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not,” says Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, when describing his deep devotion to the island on which the play is set. The true location of the island is a matter of academic debate but arguably the rugged volcanic topography and lush forests of Dominica offer an equally mystical modern day alternative.

 “It is the last island in the Caribbean that has not been discovered as a tourism destination,” says Dominican Andrew “Cobra” O’Brien, owner of Cobra Tours & Yacht Services, as he drives us from the small domestic airport. “You get a piece of everything on Nature Island—rainforests, mountains, untouched champagne dive sites, more waterfalls than anywhere else in the region, therapeutic hot water baths and active volcanoes.” 

The island experienced its own tempest in 2015 when Tropical Storm Erika struck. The deadliest natural disaster in Dominica since Hurricane David in 1979, it killed 30 people and destroyed hundreds of homes. Despite a valiant recovery effort, the scars are still visible—roads are in need of repair and temporary structures replace most of the shoreside bridges that were washed away in the storm. However, driving along the twisting roads past deserted black beaches, tropical green forests and mist covered mountain peaks, I am instantly enchanted by my surroundings: this is no typical Caribbean island. 

Dominica Boiling Lake Hike

Thankfully, while The Tempest is based around events after a shipwreck, my exploration of Dominica is anything but unfortunate, on board 49 metre Christensen motor yacht Remember When. Dominica has been described as “self-defensive”, with its rugged topography making it difficult to build the large luxury hotel developments seen on other Caribbean islands such as St Lucia. So a superyacht is the best way to enjoy this undeveloped destination and, with her pristine interior, vast water toy selection and professional but adventurous crew, Remember When is the perfect vessel. 

Captain Hennie du Plessis, who was involved in the build with the original owner in 2010, believes the yacht’s layout helps her charter credentials. “I would say it is one of the best for its size for charter,” he says. “She has a lot of cabins and big deck spaces. Everyone that comes on here says how charter friendly the boat is.” 

While Dominica has a stunning coastline to explore, many of its treasures are on land. The country is home to the Caribbean’s longest hiking trail, which passes through gorges, valleys, natural springs and cascading waterfalls. The 115 mile Waitukubuli National Trail, which is split into 14 sections and takes two weeks to complete, is not for the faint-hearted. However, for those who just want a taste, certain legs of the trail are easily accessible to dip in and out of.

We opt for a short walk around the Syndicate Nature Trail, in the foothills of Morne Diablotin, Dominica’s tallest mountain. Morne Diablotin National Park is home to two species of parrot, the Jaco and the Sisserou, the latter of which adorns Dominica’s flag. Their vivid emerald feathers and shrill shrieks make them easy to spot as we stop on a platform looking across a lush green gorge. As impressive as the wildlife are the Sloanea caribaea trees, whose buttress roots stretch across the forest floor in search of nutrients.

Dominica's luscious rugged terrain beckons Caribbean travelers.

Just a short drive from the Syndicate Nature Trail lies another of Dominica’s natural assets—Milton Falls. With more than 365 rivers criss-crossing the island, a choice of waterfalls awaits, depending on where you are moored—from Emerald Pool in central Dominica to the twin Trafalgar Falls near the capital of Roseau.

The hike to Milton Falls winds up a boulder-filled river path and takes about 45 minutes to complete. A hundred metres from the waterfall we need to cross the river and my guide hands me a vine with which to swing across. Thankfully my inner Tarzan surfaces and just around the corner I am rewarded with the sight of a 25 metre cascade of water crashing into the pool below. After a less than dignified change of clothes behind a nearby rock, I enter the crystal clear waters of the cool pool beneath the waterfall. The icy water and powerful flow is the perfect way to rediscover your inner child and the beauty of Dominica is that you get it all to yourself.

As we walk back from the falls the guide climbs up the side of the embankment and returns with a bunch of grapefruit, which he cuts open and serves. It is without question the best grapefruit I have ever eaten, both sweet and juicy. Dominica’s climate means that it is bursting with natural produce and throughout the day the group is presented with fresh coconuts and cocoa, as well as a vast selection of spices and herbs. It is this natural produce that the nation credits for the health of its older population and the longevity of Ma Pampo, who it was claimed was the oldest person in the world before she died at the age of 128 in 2003. Her celebrity status remains, with paintings of her across the island, and I defy any visitor to speak to a Dominican without her life being mentioned.

While Dominica still has a raw beauty, Remember When is there to offer the luxuries expected from a Caribbean charter. After a day exploring there is plenty of time for a sundowner in the spa pool or an opulent soak in the master suite’s vast bath before a delicious meal prepared by chef Daniela Sanchez. Runner-up at last year’s Antigua Charter Yacht Show chef’s competition, Sanchez creates meals that combine her love of different cultures and her natural ability to balance flavours and spicing—from seared tuna with polenta to chilli chocolate pudding.

Left: The hike to Milton Falls concludes with the rewarding sight of a 25m cascade
Right: Canoeing up Indian River offers gorgeous views and an intriguing passage

Unfortunately, no matter how luxurious the superyacht, one element always remains out of the control of the captain and crew—the weather. While Dominica has consistent yearround temperatures, ranging from 21˚C to 28˚C, the vibrant green of the island doesn’t come without significant annual rainfall. I wake one morning to never-ending sheets of rain—Portsmouth in Dominica bears a remarkable resemblance to the grey colours of Portsmouth in the UK in December.

However, it is occasions like these that truly test a charter crew. After all, it is easy to show guests a good time when the sun is shining, but it is a new challenge altogether when Mother Nature decides to spoil the party. Unfazed by the situation, the crew steps in to ensure all guests are entertained. Despite expecting us not to be on board, a three course “light” lunch is produced, chief stewardess Bianca Franck hosts a wine and cheese pairing and we are invited into the galley to learn how to make plant pot chocolate puddings. Nothing is too much trouble for this crew, from hosting Alice in Wonderland themed lunches to taking basketfuls of mud-stained clothes after hiking and returning them freshly ironed to my cabin. 

Once the rain has cleared I am able to discover another of Dominica’s star attractions, the Indian River. No motorised boats are allowed on the 4.3 mile stretch flowing between the town of Portsmouth and the village of Glanvillia, so instead Cobra rows us upstream as the canopy closes in overhead. With its mangrove-lined banks and mineral green water, I feel like I am venturing up the Amazon rather than messing about in the Caribbean. En route we row into an inlet with a wooden shack perched on the bank, which was used as the set for Tia Dalma’s cottage in Dead Man’s Chest, the second film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Surrounded by gnarled mangrove roots and large fern leaves, it is not hard to see why producers chose the location.

Once back out on the main stretch of river, we begin to hear the distant sound of a saxophone floating through the trees and before long a jetty comes into sight. Once on shore I am greeted by not only a saxophonist, but also stunning botanical gardens dotted with vibrant fuchsias and a bar hand-built by Cobra himself. Being both young and foolish I opt to try the signature cocktail—the Dynamite. As its name suggests it packs a punch and is probably only recommended for those who have a penchant for paint stripper. If you fancy something a little less lethal opt for the passion fruit rum punch instead.

162' Christensen Motoryacht Remember When is prepared to pamper guests in style after a day of adventures in Dominica.

Sites like Bush Bar are a reminder that, while Dominica may lack a glamorous sheen, it more than makes up for it in natural charm. I’m not surprised when Cobra tells me that celebrity visitors—including Bill Gates, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Oprah Winfrey and Mick Jagger—have all enjoyed trips to the picturesque island.

Despite it being Du Plessis’ first visit to Dominica, he has also succumbed to the island’s attractions. “Every Caribbean island has its thing but Dominica is something special,” says the captain. “This is the kind of place that I like to visit and that I like to come back to.” With an owner who is a diving fanatic, and the crew sharing this passion, a further draw for Remember When is Dominica’s spectacular diving. Possibly the most famous is Champagne Reef, which as its name suggests is famous for the tiny bubbles that are released through holes in the reef from the volcanic activity underneath.

The beauty of Champagne Reef is that it is directly accessible from the shoreline. Companies such as Champagne Reef Dive & Snorkel can organise a private divemaster to lead you through the coral gardens full of healthy reefs, tubes, sponges and colourful fishes and the 23 metre descent. And while the attraction is best experienced by diving, you can still enjoy the gently bubbling spectacle while snorkelling, if you prefer.

Despite spanning just 290 square miles, you could take weeks rather than the few short days that I have to explore Dominica. Leaving the island and cruising for 10 hours overnight we awake to find ourselves arriving in the newly created UNESCO World Heritage Site of Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua. Such a short passage proves that Dominica is easily accessible for those who want to explore a destination that even Shakespeare would have been inspired by. 

Yachts International features Remember When in the Exumas

Motoryacht Remember When is proud to be featured in Yachts International’s April 2017 edition, on a fabulous article by Andrew T. Parkinson that takes you through a detailed journey of the Exumas in the Bahamas. Read on to enjoy and relive a luxury yacht charter experience.

Reprinted with permission from Yachts International Magazine.

Leaps of Faith

A charter aboard the Christensen Remember When is all about embracing the unknown—and being thrilled in return.

By Andrew T. Parkinson

"If I’m being honest, I must have resembled an exasperated Chihuahua, sprinting back and forth at the edge of the dock. I wasn’t so much speaking as I was yipping, talking as much to myself as anyone else, staring into the water at the school of sharks. I took a deep breath and said, or at least muttered, “Okay, I’m gonna do it.” 

I leaned forward and … nope. No way. This was insane. I’m a father with two kids at home. I don’t jump into a school of sharks.

Crewmembers from 162-foot (49.3-meter) Christensen Remember When were already in the water, smiling and gently encouraging me to overcome my fear. These were just nurse sharks, after all. Thiswas a marina at Compass Cay in the Exumas, not some pitch-black cave in the middle of nowhere. The crew had been in the water with these sharks countless times. So had quite a few 6- and 8-year-old visitors to this popular winter charter destination.

This next bit of conversation, I think, happened only inside my head.

I have to do it.
No, I don’t.
Yes, I do.
One, two, three…
No! No! No!

When my body finally hit the clear, warm water, and when my blood pressure dropped to the point that I realized my eyes were open and I could, in fact, still see, the only thing I felt was calm. It was a remarkable sensation, almost like being baptized anew, welcomed into a club of people who experience life’s moments differently. The sharks may as well have been rough skinned puppies, as curious about me as I was about them. I minded my fingers, as the crew had instructed, but even still, I’m sure that I was playing with those sharks, and that they were playing with me.

I wasn’t looking at nature. I was immersed in it. I was living it in a way that I never knew was even possible. CONTINUE READING >

A luxury yachting evening of cocktails and canapés

Remember When at the FYBA Charter Open House in Fort Lauderdale.

The crew of 162’ Christensen Motoryacht Remember When was very happy to host Fort Lauderdale charter agents, brokers, media and various industry professionals for a lovely soiree including delicious cocktails and canapés, following the FYBA Charter Seminar Open House at Bahia Mar.

Guests were received by charter experienced Captain Cisco Chadinha and the attentive team of Remember When who provided detailed tours of the interior accommodations, social areas and beautiful exterior decks. The yacht was fully decorated to show-standards and guests were impressed by the elegant and detailed tablescapes, flower arrangements, and even a perfect exercise equipment setup on the sundeck showcasing the fitness possibilities onboard, including treadmill, rowing machine, free weights, yoga mats, steps and more. On the water, the 42’ Towed Tender fully equipped for fishing was also on display off of the ample swim platform.

Acclaimed Chef Daniela Sanchez delighted every palate with a menu that included

  • Mexican style tuna tartare with sriracha mayo in a sesame seed cornet
  • Slow cooked beef rib wonton taco with avo mousse and garlic aioli
  • Wildflower Margaritas

The Wildflower Margaritas were a sensation—besides being tropically gorgeous—the delicate spicy touch of each drink got everyone talking and craving for more.

The highlight of the evening was truly the attentiveness of the crew of Motoryacht Remember When who are an example of what the yachting lifestyle is all about—luxury, attention to detail, professional 5-star service, and a positive vibe that ensures everyone has a fabulous time.

Private viewing events such as the FYBA Charter Open House offer an outstanding opportunity for brokers and agents to get to know yachts and their crew and Remember When is grateful to all guests for such a wonderful turnout. 

A sweet favorite: Potted Plants Dessert

Remember When's Mini Potted Plant Desserts are not only attractive to the eye—they are much more than pretty to look at—Chef Daniela’s chocolate mousse will indulge even the most discerning chocolate connoisseurs!

Dessert is always a special occasion onboard the culinary-strong Motoryacht Remember When and Chef Daniela Sanchez is always ready to offer spectacular alternatives that are yummy and beautiful—in fact a work of art. The Potted Plants Dessert has been one of her best received creations and charter guests request them over and over, they also make a perfect Earth Day treat. While there are many variations possible, here are some of Chef Daniela's preferred combinations, these are neither hard to make, nor seriously gourmet, but they are really pretty and kids and adults smile plenty when they get them.

Main layer options:

  • Chocolate mousse
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Vegan chocolate mousse
  • Chocolate cheesecake
  • Home-made brownies 
  • Home-made chocolate cake

Top layer (cookie dirt):

  • Oreo cookie crumbs
  • Home-made chocolate cookie crumbs
  • If using brownies or chocolate cake for the main layer, the top layer can benefit from a little extra contrast, so lighter cookies work well such as honey graham crackers.

Decor Leaves and Flowers:

  • Mint leaves
  • Fondant sculpted leaves
  • Edible flowers (optional but they add a nice touch of color)

Serving:

  • Glass votive candle holders (Chef Daniela's favorite)
  • Mini ceramic terracotta pots
  • Plastic mini dessert containers (practical alternative for younger kids, or for serving at the beach, poolside, etc).
  • Wooden spoons
  • Home-made cookie spoons (Chef Daniela’s favorite)

And the best place to try these whimsical creations? Of course, a luxury charter onboard Motoryacht Remember When.

Behind the scenes with a luxury charter chef

Chef Daniela Sanchez shares fascinating details about her culinary background, favorite restaurants & meals, and life onboard a luxury yacht.

The chef is one of the most important members of the crew of a luxury yacht, on a charter vacation, the chef can make the experience delicious, fascinating and unforgettable, and Motoryacht Remember When is fortunate to count with Chef Daniela Sanchez whose creations delight the most demanding palates with cuisine that varies from classic to avant garde, exploring a myriad ethnic flavors and worldwide ingredients of the highest quality.

On a recent afternoon onboard Remember When, Chef Daniela shared a little of her personal background, tips & secrets and even some of her favorite places to provision, restaurants and activities. Read on to discover the amazing woman behind the galley of Remember When.

1) How long have you been working in yachting?
I’ve worked in yachting for 6 years, before that I worked in the restaurant world, and in hotel and restaurant management. I love yachting because it can be very creative, as a chef I can design menus that are custom tailored to the preferences of the charter guests, their tastes, the season of year, our location, and even special celebrations that might take place onboard. Additionally charters offer a great opportunity to impress guests who are onboard to experience one of the most exclusive holidays ever.

2) What is your greatest challenge as a yacht chef?
Ironically… cooking for the crew! They are a very international group, with different preferences, and they are also used to having a culinary trained chef cook for them, so they know about good food!

I also had a fun soufflé challenge recently where the guests were really delighted by soufflé, so we created a dinner that involved various kinds of soufflés for the different courses of the meal. Because soufflé has to be served very quickly, the rest of the crew helped out so that every dish could go from the galley to the table in the shortest amount of time possible, while I was ready to create the next soufflé course.

3) At what time do you wake up? What’s special about your routine?
When we’re on charter, I always wake up at 5am, I love to get an early start.
The early morning offers the perfect time for Mise-en-Place. This is a french phrase that refers to the set-up that one needs to do before beginning to cool. This is the time for organizing ingredients, prepping for baking, cooking, sauces, etc.

4) What are your favorite things to do for kids while on charter?
Some charter favorites are:

  • Make your own pizza: this can be fun for various ages
  • Make your own cookies: this can involve a little cooking and baking if the kids are slightly older, or be as simple as decorating if they’re really small.

I find that it’s important to be flexible, things can change quickly on a charter, sometimes an afternoon of water activities can be cancelled due to rain, and some galley activities can save the day and be a lot of fun for the younger guests.

5) What are your favorite places to provision?
Every place in the world has something special, but I do have some favorite ones:

In Italy: While on the Mediterranean side, I love to get Italian porcini mushrooms, little wild strawberries, fresh as well as dried herbs, the juiciest most delicious tomatoes, cheeses of all kinds and of course wines.

In the Caribbean: St Maarten is my favorite place to shop for food in the Caribbean. It was a great blend of French / Dutch ingredients and offers lots of variety.

6) Do you ever practice for special dishes? Where do you get inspiration from?
I do practice, although the galley gets very busy while guests are onboard, when we have down time between charter groups I do like to experiment a little. Yard periods also offer a good time for exploration. And I draw lots of inspiration form Pinterest, I read quite a few culinary blogs, and I love perusing restaurant menus too.

7) What are your favorite restaurants?
Off the top of my head I love: 

  • MAHOGANY HOUSE in the Bahamas. 
    It’s in Lyford Cay, Nassau.
    I think they have the best mushroom soup in the world.
  • I also really like MARKET 17 in Fort Lauderdale. 
    It’s right by the 17th Street Bridge, next to the Convention Center.
    They have a very creative and unique menu.

8) You are so busy, when do you eat?
I taste the food I am cooking all the time, for me it’s the best way to check how a dish is turning out. I’m a snacker too. Because I spend most of my day cooking, I tend to have small meals throughout the entire day. However it can be a little strange to try certain foods at odd times of the day. So I may be working on a sauce for a meat or fish dish in the early morning, and I’d still try it even if it’s nor exactly a normal breakfast flavor.

9) What is your favorite food?
PASTA! And I always make my own! 
I love making ravioli, tortellini, pappardelle, and I love to add saffron, basil, spinach, etc.
I also love making my own ICE CREAM. I use a Paco Jet which is a micro pureeing machine that allows me to blend various frozen ingredients and it keeps them frozen which makes for delicious ice cream. Recently I have experimented with:
• Mango and fresh lemongrass
• Vanilla and truffle

10) A chef you admire?
Alain Ducasse, he’s a French / Monégasque chef who operates various well known restaurants (27!) like Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London which is a 3-Star Michelin Guide restaurant.

Any closing thoughts or words of wisdom…
—Never cook when you’re angry!
—Treat people the way you want to be treated.

An “everything-free” chickpea cookie treat

Chickpea-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies.jpg

Motoryacht Remember When’s Chef Daniela Sanchez is well known for her unparalleled ability to please the most discerning palates, culinary and dietary preferences. Eager to provide a special treat to guests who are trying to keep to a diet that's gluten-free, egg-free, grain-free, vegan and protein-filled, she recently developed a cookie recipe that has become a sensation onboard.

Recipe for Chef Daniela's "4Cs Cookies (Chickpeas Chocolate Chip Cookies)"

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Can chickpeas
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla essence
  • ½ Cup peanut butter (almond or other nut butter ok)
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ Cup liquid agave (vegan) or honey (not vegan)
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ Cup organic vegan chocolate chips
  • Nuts (optional, any of your preference)

STEPS

  1. Warm up over to 350ºF
  2. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor and set aside
  3. Mix chocolate chips in by hand
  4. Add nuts of your preference (optional)
  5. Form small dough balls with your hands
  6. Set on baking sheet with a 2" approximate separation
  7. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy!

Happy hour onboard motoryacht Remember When

Favorite-Yacht-Charter-Cocktails.jpg

Nowhere is happy hour happiest than on luxury charter yacht Remember When. Amongst the favorite cocktails prepared by our Chief Stewardess are the Strawberry Mojito—one of her specialties, and the Coffee Martini. So whether you fancy alfresco drinks on the sundeck, an aperitif before dinner in the skylounge or cocktails by the piano in the main salon, join us for a toast to happy time onboard Remember When.

Yachting style cookie recipe

Oatmeal-chocolate-cookies.jpg

Chef Emma Beckett of Motoryacht Remember When often receives compliments for her fabulous cookies, a delicious treat to make, she shares the recipe so that you can enjoy a little bit of her galley creations at home.

Recipe for my "Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookie"

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ½ Stick sweet cream butter unsalted
  • 2 ½ Cups all purpose flour sifted
  • 1 ½ Cups soft brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla essence
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ Cup dark chocolate 60% chocolate chips
  • ½ Cup cranberries
  • ½ Cup quick cook oats
  • ½ Cup chopped walnuts  

STEPS:

  1. Cream together sugar and butter until light in color and fluffy, using a mixer is easiest
  2. Add the egg and mix
  3. Add the flour and all other ingredients until they blend well together
  4. Roll out into a sausage shape and wrap in cling film
  5. Chill for an hour
  6. Slice in half inch sized pieces and bake at 350 ºF

Welcome to 162' Christensen Motoryacht “Remember When”

To charter is to indulge in the journey, to celebrate the beauty of life, to breathe anew. Step aboard the 162' Remember When to embark on the journey of a lifetime, where the wonders of new worlds delight and magical moments surprise at every turn. Relax and unwind in elegant comfort as your professional crew and personal chef cater to your every whim. Whether you’re seeking active adventures under a Caribbean sea, or the leisurely discovery of treasures along the East Coast, it’s time to let the journey begin. Remember When hosts 12 charter guests in 6 spacious staterooms, catered to by a professional crew of 10–11. Visit us often for updates on destinations, itineraries, menus, special events and much more.