Captain Ben was always fascinated by the sea. He started scuba diving and sailing regularly while studying marine biology at UVA. He later moved to Florida to be closer to the water and earn his master’s degree from the University of Miami. During Ben's time in Florida he taught scuba diving and ran boats upgrading his USCG Master captains credential to 100GT. Ben is also an American Sailing Association sailing instructor and enjoys sharing the intricacies of sailing this amazing vessel with interested guests. He is very serious about the safety of his guests and yacht, but this certainly does not impede his ability to have fun on board.
During his time in Florida is where he met Michelle and the two have been inseparable since day one. After getting engaged they decided a life on the water in the Caribbean would suit them perfectly and began to work towards the big move. The two initially took jobs on the water cruising and diving. Daily snorkel and scuba trips were rewarding, but they knew they wanted to get to sail more while sharing their culinary creations with people and EXCESS was the perfect fit.
On board Excess Ben enjoys sharing a wide variety of water activities with his guests, including diving boards, underwater scooters, wakeboarding, tubing and many more. He is a highly credentialed PADI scuba and freediving instructor who is also classically trained in marine biology and enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge of the organisms and ecosystems we observe under water with guests. Ben is a veteran with a background in fitness training who will gladly take you on a rewarding hike to some of the best views atop the islands or can put together and accompany you in a morning workout on board, upon request. Ben also loves crafting your favorite cocktail and getting you comfortable in one of the vessel's large exterior spaces or taking that perfect vacation photo for your group with his drone.
Michelle is known for her kind nature and positive outlook. “In optimism there is magic,” she often says. Born on the Central East Coast of Florida, Michelle grew up with saltwater coursing through her veins. She spent the weekends cruising the waters of the inter-coastal with her family who taught her all about boating, sea life and fishing. Although boating was the highlight of every week, she never imagined it one day becoming a part of her career.
Cooking also became a passion for Michelle at a young age. She spent every Christmas break in Pennsylvania with her Italian grandmother and great grandmother. This time spent was invaluable as she learned all about the foundation of her families’ secret recipes. “Even now when I visit we still spend 80% of the time in the kitchen (the other 20% eating),” Michelle says. She continues, “It’s so great that I can now give my grandmother a rest; cooking for her and proving that I was paying close attention all these years.”
Michelle loves to cook with fresh herbs, vegetables and lean proteins. Her favorite challenge is turning something some consider boring into something magnificent! She loves experimenting with combinations of French and Asian flavors that send the taste buds spinning. Guests aboard Excess are in for a tasty experience that will be remembered long after their charter.When not in the galley you can find Michelle leading dives/snorkels, planning memorable events for any occasion or shaking up delicious cocktails. Basically, anything to make chartering on Excess the vacation of a lifetime.
Ben started working in the Caribbean in 2013 and together with Michelle they have been chartering in the Caribbean Islands as a team since early 2016. They take pride in everything they do and enjoy applying their combined 20 years experience in hospitality with their local knowledge to create the perfect experience for your group.
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