There was no way in the world a diamond necklace would go missing on our watch. NO WAY! We’ve been in the yacht charter business for decades and pride ourselves on offering simply the best service in the industry, no holds barred. We have always gone above and beyond the call of duty, and this time would be no different. Even if that entailed rummaging through a dumpster full of stinky rubbish in the middle of the night in search of a guest’s diamond necklace that had gone AWOL.
We get that most yacht charter guests have very little idea of what goes on behind the scenes and how much blood, sweat and tears (and garbage sifting) is needed to create the illusion of a ‘perfectly seamless voyage aboard a luxury yacht’. Yes, we get that. In fact, we make that. That’s our job. To make you feel as if the stars align ‘just right’ to ensure that ideal secluded cove is reached in time for sundowners, that perfect table at that picture-postcard seaside restaurant is waiting for you, that medication you’ve forgotten to bring is delivered to your cabin by dinner time and that a brand new bottle of that whiskey you love is on board. Except…the stars don’t really do that. We do.
So it’s the final gala evening of a Fortune 500 President’s Club Incentive event, where we had 120 people sailing on a fleet of luxury catamarans. Their voyage started with two days at the glitzy Ritz in St. Thomas, followed by four days of cruising the British Virgin Islands. The trip was going splendidly and although bringing everything together had been hard work, there were no mini-crises which had to be averted. Yes, I admit it, we thought we had it in the bag.
On the final evening, barefoot and carefree on the pristine sands of Prickly Pear Cay beach, a gorgeous deserted island near Virgin Gorda, we were all enjoying a beachside Gilligan’s Island Castaway themed party, complete with several Mary Anns and plenty of skippers. We’re always there, did you know that? Behind the scenes, or just to the side, but always present. For those rare times when you really need us. Like this night in question.
It was a starry night, the sky was resplendent, and the reflection of the moon on the sea was utterly breathtaking. All of this lulled us into a false sense of security: that all was well with the world. For goodness’ sakes, even the palm trees were swaying in the refreshing breeze! Ha!
Just as the fire dancer was about to limbo under the burning bar – a tense moment as I’m sure you’d appreciate - and milliseconds before the reggae band started playing, Brad felt an eerily familiar tap on the shoulder.
The palm trees stop swaying. In our industry, we all know what that tap means…
Houston, we have a problem.
A captain from one of the catamarans proceeds to inform Brad that a guest of his had presented his wife with a surprise diamond necklace the night before and that the wife had wrapped it in a tissue and left it by her bedside. To be promptly thrown in the trash by the stewardess as she was tidying the cabin. The captain had unknowingly brought the trash ashore to a dumpster at mid-day, at our last port of call – about 10 miles away. The discovery of the missing necklace was made just as the wife was preparing for the party. Panic ensued.
Brad springs into action! Off to retrieve the trash bag he goes! With no shoes, of course, because who in their right mind shows up to a beachside Gilligan’s Island Castaway theme party with shoes on??!! Fortunately, the French catamaran in question uses very distinctive trash bags (because they are French and that’s just what they do) so, at least, there was some hope that the rummaging could be kept to a minimum. Brad and ally-in-arms (ie. the catamaran captain) jump on a tender and race ashore to Virgin Gorda, where a cab awaits to take them to the dumpster. According to Brad, it was all very ‘James Bond 007’ – well, except for the dumpster part, I suppose. Twenty minutes they race and wind their way through the hills, before finally reaching dumpster-headquarters, aka the little charming village of Spanishtown.
The dumpster is located.
The dumpster is inspected.
The dumpster is empty.
At the nearest police station, Brad is given the address of the dumpster manager, who has no phone, you see, because we are really in the middle of nowhere here. Batman and Robin then race to the man’s house, raise him from his slumber and convince him to go and unlock the main dumpster collection unit (a small monetary incentive may or may not have exchanged hands). At the site of a mountain of rubbish, Brad dives head-first. He and the catamaran captain spend the next hour, flashlight in hand, sorting through the trash.
It probably won’t surprise you to know that the diamond necklace was safely returned to the exceedingly grateful lady, at about 5 am. After all, building up to this crescendo and ending it in a failure would probably not be a good option. Failure, for us, is never an option.
At Ocean Getaways, we’ll go to great lengths to ensure your vacation aboard one of our luxury yacht charters is one of the most memorable and splendid you will ever have. We’ll do our best to make sure the memories you take home are only of good times, fantastic activities, amazing food, and a brilliant crew. And it’s totally OK if you never discover backflips that we do to ensure this happens. We’ll jump on a mountain of trash for you if need be, and our biggest satisfaction will come by knowing you will never even find out.
Then we’ll really know our job is done.