CAPTAIN – David Gies
Captain David Gies joined Valhalla and managed the interior refit and the organization of setting up a successful charter platform. David had most recently been on board the 150’ charter yacht Themis and prior to that, the successful charter yacht Sea Bear a 124’ Christensen. David’s experience as captain spans over fifteen years and his time on board yachts has logged him enough miles to circumnavigate the world eight times. He has cruised extensively on-board charter yachts in New England, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean. David is originally from Spokane WA and now resides full time in Ft. Lauderdale with his wife and his son. His casual personality and easy going attitude sets the tone for a happy and team oriented crew on board Valhalla. David believes in the importance of details, safety and fun to provide for the ultimate charter experience.
CHEF – Vanessa Coto
Vanessa was born and raised in San Jose, Costa Rica and holds a BA in Hotel Business Management from the Universidad Latina De Costa Rica and a Diplome de Cusine from Le Cordon Bleu. She has enjoyed living in the U.S. form the beautiful coasts of California t the warm beaches of Florida. For fifteen years Vanessa has worked in many different aspects of the service and hospitality industry. Since moving to Florida, she has been cruising extensively in the Bahamas and Eastern Coast. Her true joy is to provide a great experience through excellence in her service and create a memorable time aboard Valhalla. Vanessa enjoys preparing healthy dishes or satisfying that sweet tooth that no one likes to talk about. Whether it’s a French style meal, a craving for American cuisine, Italian or Latin food, she is sure to find the flavor to satisfy your palate.
FIRST MATE – Simon Ambrose
Simon has grown up fishing and surfing the East Coast of Florida from Jacksonville to the Keys. He has worked in various industries on the water from operations manager of a boat club to boat sales. He spent four years in the U.S. Virgin Islands as a captain running day charters and worked professionally on a charter fishing boat. He is an avid fisherman and has a passion for the water and Florida conservation. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, hiking and spending time at the beach with his wife and mini dachshund.
Engineer – Justin billings
Growing up in the windy city of Chicago, Justin experienced all four seasons enjoying the outdoors throughout the year. Most of the time he was playing ice hockey on the frozen lakes during the colder months and water-sports/boating during the hot summers. Justin moved to DC for his professional career with BMW and enjoyed servicing the ultimate driving machine for 14 years. While living in the nation’s capital, he learned how to sail and traveled to various locations on the open ocean. That is where Justin found his passion and decided to join the maritime industry in 2015. During his time away from work, Justin enjoy fishing, hiking/camping in the great outdoors, and expanding his travel adventures.
STEWARDESS – Nikole Ornstein
Born in Hawaii, and growing up in Las Vegas, Nikole discovered her love for the ocean and the hospitality industry early on. She spent six years working in everything from casual to fine dining restaurants and bars. Her love for the industry led her to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing and become a successful event planner. In this career, Nikole developed a passion for creating memorable experiences for guests. She loves being creative with events and watching her guests walk away with unforgettable experiences.
Over the past year, she has worked on charter yachts as a stewardess between the Virgin Islands and Bahamas. Nikole loves to do anything adventurous. From skiing, to hiking, to water sports, to simply exploring and traveling to new destinations. She possesses a refreshing trifecta of passion, dedication to service, and an infectious personality that guests are drawn to.
Deckhand – Mitch Hoag
Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mitch’s passion for being on the water was instilled in him at an early age. He spent most of his summers wakeboarding and water skiing on the lakes at his family’s cottage. Mitch loves being able to create fun experiences for people, which is what led him to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality of Business at Michigan State University. Shortly after graduating, he moved to the British Virgin Islands where he worked at a luxury community doing guided snorkel tours, SUP excursions, and tropical hiking tours as a guest services associate. He later moved on to director of their marine department where he worked closely with yacht management.
After the devastating hurricane Irma hit the islands, Mitch was brought stateside and began his career in the yachting industry. He has been working and travelling on yachts for the past three years. You’ll have a hard time finding Mitch anywhere but the water. He is very active and an avid sports fan/ athlete.
An additional professional stewardess will be onboard for all charters