Reviews continued

We celebrated our upcoming 20th anniversary with a week long sail in the Virgin Islands on the Bel Ami. We flew to St. Thomas where we met our wonderful hosts, Captain Dave and Admiral Bobbie Rae Goodman. Some of the highlights of our trip include a hike to the Petroglyphs on St. John, snorkeling at The Bight on Norman Island and Waterlemon Cay, visiting The Baths on Virgin Gorda, and enjoying Bushwackers at the Big Bamboo, Loblolly Bay followed by a lobster dinner under the stars at the Anegada Reef Hotel. The winds were favorable and each day brought a new adventure. Captain Dave’s sailing experience and knowledge of the area made this is a memorable vacation we will be talking about for a long time. Also, Admiral Bobbie Rae made us feel right at home from the moment she gave us our welcome aboard orientation. The Bel Ami is perfectly suited for one couple to enjoy a romantic getaway! Captain Dave’s culinary skills also deserve a mention. Our meals and snacks were customized to our eating preferences and everything was delicious! From beginning to end, our week on the Bel Ami was more than we could have imagined.

-Chris and Wayne, March 2016

A great introduction to BVI cruising with Captain Dave & Bobbie Rae.

We were sailboat refugees from the frozen north looking for a place to defrost in February. Bel Ami was the perfect prescription for our cold. Capt Dave and Bobbi Rae helped us find the hot spots that we had in mind, and some we had never heard of. The hot tub in the moonlight has to revisited when we return. A hike to Ram’ s Head gave us a fantastic view of the playground that would be our’s for the week. Bel Ami is an Amel 53 not your everyday charter sailboat that you find in the Virgin islands. The Amel 53 is a boat that can handle anything the ocean can give it Capt Dave and Bobbi Rae know how show you the playground that is the Virgin islands. Our days would start with fresh ground coffee brewed in the galley that is fully equipped. The new day ahead would be full of activities and a new destination. Snorkeling the caves and reefs was unforgettable the variety of fish, coral and feather worms exceeded expectations. Capt Dave guided us to some great sites with local knowledge to maximize the dive experience. Sailing from island to island was filled with fun talking about the next stop and how did we get here. I would highly recommend a stay with Captain Dave and Bobbi Rae to sailors and landlubbers alike.

-Greg and Diane, February 2016

I planned this vacation for my 50th birthday. My husband was initially a bit reluctant because in the past, he has had problems with sea-sickness. That turned out to be no issue at all and we both had a fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime trip. Captain Dave and Admiral Bobbie picked us up at the airport in St. Thomas and we were sailing on the beautiful Bel Ami within an hour of landing! The cabin is quite spacious and there was plenty of room. The first night we anchored at Christmas Cove and had wonderful “delivery pizza” picked up by Cpt. Dave in the dinghy from a local pizza boat! Very fun way to start the trip. Another day, we saw two fisherman spear a Red Snapper and within minutes, Cpt. Dave hopped on the dinghy, negotiated a price for the fish and in a few hours, we were enjoying a perfectly prepared Red Snapper for dinner! Overall, everything was wonderful. The meals cooked by Cpt. Dave were fabulous [much, much better than nearly any meal we had ashore]. Cpt. Dave and Bobbie were so accommodating: each morning, we would look at the map and Dave would give us a few options and then we picked what appealed to us the most. He out did himself by arranging a tour of Oil Nut Bay knowing that we were interested in landscaping and property development. The days were crammed with so many fun things from hiking, lazing around a beach, checking out some beach bars and some beautiful resorts but we never felt rushed and enjoyed sailing from island to island every day. Captain Dave is clearly an extremely experienced captain and we felt extremely safe despite having no real experience sailing previously. Bobbie is a delight and we shared our mutual passion for landscaping and art during the trip. Both Dave and Bobbie were a joy to spend seven days with and we are now blessed to count them among our friends.

-Kat and Andy, January 2016

We could not have asked for a more beautiful honeymoon destination and experience. “Captain” Dave and “Admiral” Bobbie Rae were experienced, engaging, and delightful hosts. They not only accommodated our dietary and beverage requests, but they truly presented our meals in a creative and beautiful way. They were not just our hosts, they became our friends; we played games, enjoyed music together, and danced the night away. Whether we were trading stories, hiking in the pouring rain, or snorkeling through dark caves, it truly was the best experience either of us have ever had. Captain Dave knows the sea and the islands like the back of his hand and Bobbie Rae treats her guests like they were her own family. We will not hesitate to return to the Bel Ami to see our new friends, Dave and Bobbie Rae, for another amazing adventure in the Virgin Islands. Thank you Dave and Bobbie Rae for making our honeymoon more amazing than we could have ever imagined. We look forward to seeing you again someday, and we are sincere in our invitation to you to come to Colorado for a skiing, (killer) hiking, or whitewater rafting trip!

-Scott and Michelle, Dec 2015

From the minute I contacted Captain Dave I knew I was in good hands, I told him this was a surprise trip and he and Bobbie Rae played along with the surprise right up to the moment my husband boarded the Bel Ami. The trip exceeded our expectations as we enjoyed the beaches, drinks, sun, snorkeling, music, and hiking. Captain Dave was excellent at showing my husband the basics of sailing as well. He took us to many islands so that we could enjoy what we liked to do such as relaxing, socialising, a nice meal, drinks at sunset and a massage at the spa. We enjoyed his accordion playing, singing and harmony by Bobbie Rae. The food preparation by Captain Dave was amazing and he provided great insight on food preparation based only on our inquiries. Fantastic holiday and we would recommend this to anyone! Don’t forget to try the key lime pie at Willy T’s and spend the evening dancing.

-Chris and Janene from Canada

To celebrate our 40th anniversary, we chose Bel Ami for the privacy and flexibility, and got way more than we expected! Dave and Bobbie Rae were excellent hosts, open to our interests and eager to share their favorite destinations. Dave was able to arrange a delightful inn on shore for us at the last minute, and adapt to our travel delay with ease. Then we were off wherever the wind took us on a far-ranging tour of the BVIs, with stops for plenty of beautiful views, excellent snorkeling, and playing our instruments at beach-front bars. Sharing music with Dave and Bobbie Rae was a hoot, especially when it resulted in other patrons buying us rounds! And then there was the night we traded jokes for hours! And the time we played cards in a beach-side shack after snorkeling and laughed even more! When I’d ask where we were going for the day, Dave would reply he didn’t know. This through me off at the beginning of the trip, but by the end, I could appreciate that we could go anywhere! Not to mention that Dave provided us with a great photo montage afterward, so we didn’t feel any pressure to take lots of shots ourselves. All in all, a grand adventure that we’ll remember forever!

-Jo and Phil from Encinitas, California

Wow, what a great time was had by all… I’ll get to the point, captain Dave got my itinerary and we spoke a few times. I knew my itinerary was very ambitious to say the least. I was going to be elated if we accomplished what i had set out for. Well, captain Dave is “THE MAN” !!! He took us further and did it better than we ever expected… you need to do the same. we felt very safe and in the experienced hands the whole way…

-Team KK

Great way to spend our fifth anniversary!

We booked this adventure to celebrate our fifth anniversary and we had a truly memorable trip.
Not being a sailor and never having traveled on a boat of this size I was more than a bit apprehensive as I am prone to seasickness on small craft. I did take Bonine each morning and never had an issue.
Dave and Bobbi-Rae were waiting for us at the airport which was a truly welcome sight after some flight delays and an arrival about 4 hours later than planned. We had a quick dinner and then were off to spend our first night aboard Bel-Ami.
The cabin is very comfortable with a very good amount of storage space. We were off to dreamland in no time after a long travel day. We slept very soundly in our cabin and the gentle rocking while at anchor was truly relaxing.
Our cruise departed the next day for St. Johns. The sail over was fun and we enjoyed fabulous scenery.
Once we put into a cove for the evening we quickly settled into a routine of snorkeling and kayaking. Captain Dave located a SUP board we could rent for the week so we had that aboard as well for water fun.
We really enjoyed the snorkeling everywhere we went (St. Johns, Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke and Tortola).
On St. John’s we went out on a Captain Dave led hike over the mountain to Cruz Bay where we rescued a baby goat and then we treated ourselves to some great Cheeseburgers and atmosphere at Skinny legs. We also explored the ruins of an old Sugar Mill and had encounters with local Deer and Mongoose.
Captain Dave and Bobbi-Rae prepared very tasty meals for us throughout the cruise. They really do all they can to make your favorites for you during your stay. Captain Dave even located my wayward sunglasses that had blown off my head and sunk!
We truly enjoyed the freedom of no set itinerary and running on island time.
Not having sailing experience was a bit of drawback as I didn’t know what to expect and for me personally I did not find sailing to be very relaxing. We did minimize our sailing time as a result and spent as much time engaged in water sports as possible which is what we truly enjoy.
The islands are truly breathtaking and the water is blue and wonderful. We really enjoyed this trip and we were both sad the morning we had to leave for home. We hope to have another sailing adventure as this experience has just provided us with an appetite for more.

– Rob and Cori

The Bucket List:

On my husband’s bucket list was sailing on a monohull in the Caribbean. And how unbelievably fortunate we were to find Captain Dave Goodman and Admiral Bobbie Rae and their sailboat, the Bel Ami, to allow us to check this off his list. We are senior citizens, were first timers for sailing on a large boat in an ocean, and had only previously experienced the Caribbean through day stops from a couple of large cruise ship travels. So we were unsure, in so many ways, of what to expect, like for instance, what to pack, where would we be going, what would we be doing on and off the boat, safety, being with new acquaintances in close quarters. But through phone conversations, emails and completed preference lists with Captain Dave days before our departure and from our initial interaction with him and Bonnie Rae (they picked us up at the airport and gave us a tour of the island before taking us to the B&B we stayed at the night before our sailing), we instantly knew we had scored a home run. Captain Dave and Bobbie Rae picked us up in their dingy at Secret Harbor Beach, got us and our luggage aboard, and then Bonnie Rae gave us an informational tour of the boat while Dave prepared the boat for take off. This was the first example of the many ways they worked so well together as a team. Our room had plenty of storage, well-appointed (bed with multiple pillows and ocean-themed coverlet), TV with over 100 movies available (we had time for only 1), luxurious towels. After we unpacked, Captain Dave reviewed a few options that were possible for the remainder of the day, based on that days weather conditions, where we were, and where we could get to, and the possible activities at our destination. This was the procedure he followed each day. But being newbies, we generally deferred to his expertise. We appreciated being included on making decisions, but his amazing insight, after only a short amount of time, about our personalities, our interests, our physical abilities, led to each day being perfectly designed just for us. Captain Dave and Bobbie Rae were keen on being sure each part of our trip was to our liking. How does Dave create those awesome breakfasts, lunches, and dinners in that tiny galley? It would take me all day just to cook those meals! And where does he store all the ingredients? My husband and I love all kinds of music and we love to dance. Not only did we experience famous island venues for music and dancing, but also Dave’s onboard extensive music selections and his expertise on the accordion, with Bobbie Rae as backup singer, led to dancing and singing on board. As he knew my husband likes to explore historic sites, he made sure onshore time included hikes to amazing ruins. Yes, sailing the US and British Virgin Islands is a trip we finally got checked off our bucket list. But we are so thankful that Captain Dave and Admiral Bobbie Rae and the Bel Ami are the creators of that check mark. Whether you are a newbie or seasoned sailor, mature or not so mature traveler (in age, I mean), want to snorkel/hike/swim/dance, or just watch the sails blow in the wind, want to get up at the crack of dawn or sleep to brunch time, love bacon for breakfast (as Dave knew we did and provided it every morning) or you are a vegetarian (which Dave is), your check mark should be by the Bel Ami, Dave, and Bobbie Rae.

– Jean and Frank McKeown

AMAZING does not fully capture this experience
Pinch me! We were beyond fortunate to celebrate the end of 2014 and welcome in 2015 among the Bel Ami with Captain Dave and Bobbie Rae. The trip was a gift to my husband and a much needed get-away from the responsibilities of everyday life. A little slice of heaven, for sure, and we could not have asked for more gracious hosts. We had given Captain Dave very broad ideas of what we wanted to do and see, explaining that we needed a rest from decision making and that we trusted him and his decades of experience in the Virgin Islands. He took the ball and ran with it, allowing us to completely relax and taking us to see the perfect sites for our first sailing adventure. We had the opportunity to be as active or as restful as we wanted; we enjoyed days of hiking and snorkeling, as well as days of relaxed reading and reconnecting with one another. Having him provision the boat and prepare meals was a welcome treat, too, as his skills in the galley kept us well fed at all times. (I even attempted to recreate his black bean soup once we were back home!) We must note the additional perks, too, such as pick up/ drop off at the airport, pictures throughout the trip, and Dave’s accordion playing! The Bel Ami is a comfortable boat, there was plenty of space for us and our stuff ~ we had actually packed too much. Captain Dave and Bobbie Rae are a perfect team, who clearly enjoy showing other couples the islands and who made our trip an unforgettable experience that we plan to do again. And again. And again. Lauren and Patrick Haley, celebrating 25 years of togetherness, and Patrick’s 40th birthday.

BelAmi = Mi Amorâ
If you are looking for a sailing adventure with a modern day renaissance couple book a trip on the BelAmi. Captain Dave and Bobbi Rae are the consummate host and hostess. Whatever your vision or dream is for your sailing vacation, this dynamic duo will work magic to accommodate you. Talk about the ultimate in customization. It would almost appear as if the Captain can wave a wand and make your fantasy happen. An hours sail out of Peter Island, I mentioned to Dave, for the first time, that we were interested in a couples massage and the next thing we knew we were on massage tables in one of the most beautiful setting on the planet. And the music, you must know that you will be sailing with a BVI renowned accordion player, how cool is that? I could go on and on but that would just cause you to read more and delay booking your dream vacation immediately. BelAmi = Mi Amor!-

– Michael Litten and Laura Cordell

Why Sail with Captain Dave and 1st Mate Bobbie Rae?
You will be treated as royalty. Being the only couple on board you can choose your ideal balance of sailing, activities ashore, and snorkeling. Scuba is an option as well.
You will be greeted at the airport and transport you by private car to the dock. Return is the same, only much sadder to be leaving. Captain Dave even takes care of your luggage.
You will appreciate the Captain’s and Bobbie’s excellent culinary skills. We ate incredibly good meals and were felt there was not enough to eat. Drinks and snacks overflowed as well. His pre-cruise checklist includes foods for you to select and he calls la few days before launch to make absolutely sure he understands just what you want.
In addition to being a skilled sailor all his life, Dave knows all the best places to anchor. He considers current, wind, bugs, and diving options. We saw the most unbelievable array of undersea life. Many types of coral, a bevy of sea turtles, a peacock flounder, an octopus, and about 30 different tropical fish – many of which were not in the book.
You will never meet a more gregarious guy than Captain Dave. He knows everyone around town and on the water and they all are glad to see him.
Sleep late.. full breakfast, sail, dive, fancy lunch, sail, dive, elegant supper your favorite music to aid stargazing of an uncluttered sky, then let the waves gently rock you to sleep. Repeat. What a terrific week. The only regret will be that the week sails by all too fast.

In summary, a week with Captain Dave and 1st Mate Bobbie Rae will be memorable because his goal is to make you completely happy.

– Paul and Jeanne Eleazor

We can’t say enough good things about Captain Dave and Bobbie Rae and the entire sailing experience. It was fabulous and more. Dave was an excellent sailor and chef. We loved the morning smoothies, the vegan delights, the accommodations, and the boat itself. We felt safe with Dave, even sailing into harbor after dark, which was probably a favorite of the trip. Dave was very accommodating. He made it clear it was our trip and what we did and where we went was up to us. Couldn’t have asked for anymore!

– Brad and Sheila Crow

We approached the Captain with the intent on learning more about sailing in the Virgin Islands on our own, so the purpose of our vacation was much different than most charters. With that goal in mind, the Captain taught us many things about chart/GPS reading, navigating, barefoot chartering, weather planning and the actual sailing of the boat. Even though that was the focus of our trip, the Captain and his mate Bobbie Rae additionally made it a great vacation. They served us delicious meals catering to our personal tastes, afternoon cocktails and a variety of activities including snorkeling, kayaking, sightseeing and yes, even accordion playing at night. The nice thing about this trip, it can be personalized in so many ways depending on the individuals’ tastes and desires. Regardless, the scenery is great and very relaxing, and the company is very enjoyable. In the short span of 8 days, we feel like we’ve made a lasting connection with the Captain Dave and Bobbie Rae for a lifelong memory..

– Mike and Nancy Herlivich

Our Week on Bel Ami was the grand finale of our three-week honeymoon, and by far the most memorable time. Captain Dave’s friendly hospitality, ability to recommend things we might want to do or places to see, helped make a tailor-made holiday where every day was simply stunning. One of us, as a vegan, was particularly pleased to find not only a kindred spirit in Dave but also a great chef who consistently provided beautiful, tasty food (enjoyed by us both!) We still often was lyrical about the mornings, especially: nothing beats waking up in a gently swaying cabin, walking on deck to survey the scene, and just jump into the clear turquoise waters for a fresh start to the day – followed by one of Dave’s legendary morning smoothies…You can go to really isolated places on a little boat like this: empty beaches, snorkeling in isolated places to see all kinds of wildlife; or, go to the local hot spots for nightlife to meet interesting people. This is a wholehearted recommendation. If you want a holiday that’s completely tailored to you, and be waited on hand and foot if that’s what you like, go on Bel Ami. Holiday of a lifetime.”

– Victor and Suzanne Willdig

Best vacation ever…in the history of the world

Any trip where a 16-year-old girl tells her father you’re a really good dancer has to be among the best vacations ever in the history of the world! So was the case with our voyage on the Bel Ami. Captain Dave was amazing on so many levels. He found an alternative charter when our travel dates changed and then made the Bel Ami available when our dates changed back. He was an outstanding cook who not only shared his own fabulous cuisine, but accommodated our quirky menu requests including making chocolate chips cookies at 11:00pm one night. He provided us with both great entertainment and great family time. Although his itinerary of I’ve got some fun places we can go initially caused some angst with a dad and mom who are professional planners, we couldn’t have dreamed of a better agenda: swimming with turtles, rays and barracudas was a blast for our 2 teenagers, while the beauty of the Baths wowed mom and dad. And if snorkeling and exploring underwater caves and hiking to breathtaking vistas wasn’t enough, a personal song by Foxy himself in Jost Van Dyke, a lobster dinner in Anegada, a sing-along with accordion accompaniment, and dancing with your daughters in public no less really made this the best vacation ever in the history of the world. And we now have a wonderful new friend as well!!!

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