Name: Alexander Gayk
Education/Certifications: Master 500GT, Chief Officer 3000GT, Deck Officer Class VI, Merchant Marine Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden Mariner Study Program, Seaman School Viking Gothenburg, IMO Advanced Fire Fighting
Languages: English, German, Swedish
Captain Alexander grew up on the Swedish west coast and started sailing dinghies at age 9. He has worked at sea since 1989 when he decided to join the Swedish Merchant Navy. The majority of his time on the water has been on yachts, starting off as a Bosun and spending ten years as chief officer and the following as Captain which is a position he has now held since 2006. Aside from M/Y HIGHLANDER, Captain Alexander has been on board M/Y THUNDER B, M/Y REBELLIOUS, M/Y AMBROSIA, and M/Y INDULGENCE. Through all the years he has spent onboard, Captain has been able to cruise the waters of Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives, the Red Sea gulf of Aqaba, the Western Mediterranean, the Baltic region, the North Sea, Canarias, Windward and Leeward Islands, and more.
Captain Alexander comes with extensive knowledge in on board economics, maintenance planning, and implementation. His enthusiasm for the job is reflected through the one-of-a-kind guest experience that is provided with the help of his outstanding crew. His motto is to always show kindness in any way he can, and this is always on full display when he steps onboard.
Classic cars, graphic design, board sports, cooking, and hiking are among Captain Alexander’s list of hobbies.
Name: Rochelle Stebbing
Position: Chief Officer
Nationality: South African
Education/Certifications: MCA OOW 3000gt, Master of Yachts 200t, PWC Instructor, Powerboat level II, PADI Advanced Diver, BA in Tourism & Hospitality, International Bartending & Mixology, TEFL Certification
Languages: English, Spanish (Conversational)
Rochelle grew up in the suburbs of Johannesburg close to the wild open bush. She was running a hotel in Fiji when she met her first yachties and heard about the industry. She then decided to quit her job and has now been yachting for almost 10 years.
Rochelle manages the entire exterior of the vessel, ensuring maintenance and toys are operating above guest standards for the safety of all those on board. She is always looking for new ways to teach and encourage her team as she strongly believes that keeping the crew happy will directly translate to the guest experience.
Rochelle would like to progress her career in yachting and become captain in the near future. Outside of yachting, she would love to own her own business doing day excursions via boats.
Rochelle wants all guests to leave HIGHLANDER knowing they will never forget all of the new experiences they just had.
Name: Didi Balaban
Education/Certifications: STCW, ENG, HACCP
Languages: English, Turkish
After being a land-based chef for many years, Didi gravitated towards the yachting industry for the ability to travel the world and experience different cultures and cuisines. She has now appeased the palates of many charter guests on a variety of vessels and is excited to continue her journey on M/Y HIGHLANDER. Didi specializes in Mediterranean, French, Greek, Turkish, Thai, and Chinese cuisine but is willing and able to cater to any guest request. Providing outstanding service is Didi’s number one goal, and she can’t wait to welcome guests aboard her table.
When Didi is not busy cooking, she enjoys reading, hiking, exercising, watching movies, and listening to music.
Name: Maryna Yakymenko
Position: Chief Stewardess
Education/Certifications: High Vocational School of Maritime Tourism Service, Bartender Diploma, Massage Certificates
Languages: English, Russian, Spanish, Greek, Basic German
It was always Maryna’s childhood dream to work at sea, and she finally made it a reality when she joined the yachting industry at the age of 19. She has since traveled the waters of Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain, Croatia, Miami, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas on a range of vessels. Maryna is known to put extensive detail and compassion into all of her work, providing guests with the ultima five-star luxury experience.
Maryna is currently studying to obtain her Superyacht Management Diploma in hopes of one day achieving her goal to become a Yacht Manager. When Maryna is not busy executing a successful charter, you can find her at the gym or spending time with friends & colleagues.
Maryna is excited to welcome guests on board HIGHLANDER for the experience of a lifetime.
Name: Georgios Sinos
Position: Rotational Chief Engineer
Education/Certifications: Chief Engineer Unlimited, Ship Security Officer, Speed Boat Operator License, STCW, Free Dive Level 1, ABS
Languages: English, Greek
Georgios grew up in Piraeus Greece, the largest port in the Balkans. He started yachting in 2015, catering to his sociable nature. Georgios keeps the team spirit alive, always radiating a positive attitude to those on board. One day he hopes to work on an 80' explorer yacht cruising around the world. When Georgios has free time, you can find him taking a jog or enjoying the slopes. Georgios can’t wait to welcome the next guests on board for a smooth and memorable charter experience.
Name: Apostolos Gkontevas
Position: Rotational Chief Engineer
Education/Certifications: Unlimited Chief Engineer Class A Certificate, Engine Room Simulator Certification, SSO, V3 Passengers Ship Certification. V1/2 tanker Ship Certification. Extend Certificate of Life Saving at Sea and Firefighting. High-speed Boat Driving License
Languages: English, Greek
Apostolos was born in Athens and grew up in Piraeus, next to the biggest port in Greece. As an adolescent, he practiced martial arts and participated in the national championship of kickboxing where he won two golden metals. Apostolos says that sports have taught him discipline which has given him the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Apostolos has always been excited about yachts and decided to enter the industry back in 2010. He has since been on a variety of private and charter yachts sailing the waters of Greece, Italy, Turkey, France, Spain, Tenerife, Cavo Verde, the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas. He has great organizational skills and an advanced capability of upkeeping the vessel to the highest of standards. Apostolos wants guests to sit back, relax, and make remarkable memories that they will carry them for a lifetime.
Apostolos’ passions include kickboxing, reading, and of course, engineering.
Name: Dinesh Malwattage
Position: Second Steward
Nationality: Sri Lankan
Education/Certifications: STCW, Food & Beverage Diploma
Languages: English, Sinhala
Dinesh was born and raised in Kotte, Sri Lanka. After working as part of the front office staff at a hotel, he decided to enter yachting due to his love for travel. He has now been in the industry for five years, starting off as a housekeeping and laundry steward on a 223’ yacht and working his way up to second steward. Dinesh is known for his friendly personality and positive attitude. He is always one step ahead of a guest request and is quick to cater to any immediate needs. Dinesh wants to continue to work his way up to chief steward and outside of yachting, wants to start his own catering business.
When Dinesh is not welcoming guests aboard, you can find him jogging, cooking, or traveling.
Name: Kayleigh Taylor
Nationality: South African
Education/Certifications: STCW, Stewardess Course
Kayleigh grew up in Christmas Rock, a coastal village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa but currently resides in Fort Lauderdale. Before entering yachting, she previously worked in the beauty industry as a makeup artist, lash technician, and freelance massage therapist. Kayleigh is extremely personable and loves interacting with guests and learning about their multitude of different experiences. She is able to see the bright side in any situation, which allows her to maintain a calm and poised attitude. Guests are in great hands with Kayleigh’s amazing attention to detail and she can’t wait to welcome new arrivals on board and perhaps even offer a makeup lesson or two.
Name: Nadia Popova
Education/Certifications: High Vocational School of the Maritime Tourism Service, Guest Advanced Food & Beverage Service, STCW, Food Safety and Hygiene for Catering, Security Duties
Languages: English, Russian
Nadia is a Ukraine native who currently resides in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She entered the yachting industry in 2015 and has since gained experience on both private and charter vessels. Nadia can be described as a highly motivated stewardess with a sincere personality who is focused on the priorities of guests. She loves that yachting has given her the ability to experience different cultures, and she will never take that for granted. Dedicated to providing VIP service, all those who step on board HIGHLANDER are sure to enjoy a travel experience like no other.
Running, meditating, swimming, and cycling are among the many things Nadia likes to take part in whenever time allows.
Name: Nick Noble
Education/Certifications: RYA Short Range Certificate, RYA Diesel Engine Course, RYA Yacht Master Offshore Sail, Marine Basic First Aid, PDSD Certificate, RYA
Nick hails from beautiful Victoria, BC. Growing up on an island, he always had access to the beach which led him to pursue a variety of water activities. After being introduced to yachting by a captain in the industry, Nick made his move from customer service and hasn’t looked back since. With his main priority being guest satisfaction, Nick takes his customer relations background to provide the “wow” factor on board. He is dedicated to providing attentive, prompt, and effective service and is always willing to provide help in any capacity in order to help the boat thrive.
Yachting has now become one of Nick’s passions and he plans to continue taking the courses necessary to lead him to captain one day. Nick wants all guests to leave HIGHLANDER knowing how happy the crew is to have had the opportunity to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Nick enjoys trying new things sports, traveling, food, and camping.
Name: Marcelo Santana
Education/Certifications: Bachelor of Business Administration, STCW, ENG1, PSA, PB2, PDSD
Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese
Marcelo was raised in Salvador Bahia Brazil, a city situated near the ocean with strong African culture. Prior to entering yachting, Marcelo worked in sales for 8 years and in the automotive industry as a supervisor at a mechanic shop for over 10 years. Marcelo likes to say that he brings on board the joy of living in harmony. He prides himself on always showing the utmost respect to both guests and crew. Aside from working towards his Yacht Master Course to move up in the industry, Marcelo has dreams of one day working in architecture. Due to his passion for surfing and traveling, you can be sure to catch Marcelo at the beach during his spare time.
Marcelo can’t wait to share his joy of living with all guests who step on board HIGHLANDER.