20 Belize Sailing Stories: Crew Feature ‐ Christina Gentle - Belize Sailing Vacations 20 Belize Sailing Stories: Crew Feature ‐ Christina Gentle - Belize Sailing Vacations

20 Belize Sailing Stories: Crew Feature ‐ Christina Gentle

At 32, Christie is going into her eighth season with us at BSV and is now considered a “veteran.” Aside from preparing mouth-watering dishes and wildly popular tropical cocktails for her guests, she is a passionate sailor and has completed four ASA certifications.

We caught up with Christie and asked her to share her most cherished memories, experiences, and advice with you.

1.) What have been some of your most memorable charter moments?

I’ve experienced quite a few awe-inspiring moments with guests while on charter. One of my favorite memories that will live rent-free in my mind, and I’m pretty sure our guests’ as well, is a snorkeling expedition led by Captain Manny.

A family of five was sailing with us for a week on a southern itinerary when Captain Manny whisked us away to the Colson Cayes for the first snorkel of the charter. Excited, we all jumped in and followed him as he maneuvered expertly through the coral patches. After ten minutes in the water, he suddenly stopped, popped his head out, and pointed to a huge gray spot about 20 feet in front of us. A manatee was swimming towards us! At first, we didn’t know what to do – everyone froze and just stared at this magnificent gentle giant.

Swimming with a sea cow on day one was the highlight of the trip! The dolphins, nurse sharks, sea stars, stingrays, turtles, and spectacular reef patches we saw during the remainder of the week were also memorable, but swimming with the manatee in crystal waters is unforgettable and truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! That was the ice breaker we didn’t know we needed.

2.) Where is your favorite place to visit on a charter?

Having visited well over sixty cayes and islands throughout my beautiful Belize, I must say I have a few favorites.

The southern cayes are scenic, remote, and pristine. Glover’s Reef Atoll, located about 15 miles east of Tobacco Caye outside the reef, is one of my all-time favorite destinations to visit while at sea. It is totally off the grid, allowing you to disconnect completely; it is the epitome of peace and tranquility! Being so far away, there is zero light pollution, so you can’t beat the feeling you get while sitting under a starry sky, listening to the sound of waves (talk about the ultimate stress reliever!).

It is also a diving, fly fishing, snorkeling, and spearfishing haven. I can go on and on about how amazing it is, but I’d rather you experience it for yourself.

3.) What advice would you give guests before arrival, e.g., packing tips, what to bring, etc.?

My advice for a week-long charter is simple. Keep it light – swimwear, shorts, flip flops, and cash (most remote islands don’t usually accept credit cards). Pack extra reef-friendly sunscreen, your GoPro/underwater camera, a great playlist, and a good book.

4.) What are two of your favorite dishes to serve on a charter?

I love the conch and lobster seasons in Belize! There is nothing I enjoy more than grilling lobster at the stern as we watch the sunset and chat about the highlights of the day while sipping on cocktails.

Another of my favorites is a seafood medley soup (shrimp, lobster, fresh catch of the day fish, and conch when in season). It is a coconut milk-based soup with organic veggies, served with fluffy coconut rice and habanero slices.

5.) What are the top conch dishes you make on charter and any chance of a recipe?!

Thank goodness we’re in October: It’s conch season – my favorite! These are a few of the delicious meals I enjoy making with this meaty white muscle:

  • Ceviche
  • Chowder
  • Fritters
  • Lightly seasoned grilled cracked conch
If you’d like to try your hand at making Belizean Conch Fritters, here’s the recipe:
  • Clean and wash conch with lime.
  • Measure and mix together:
    • 2 lbs conch, diced
    • 1/3 cup onion, finely diced
    • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
    • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3 tsp baking powder
  • Add your favorite spices to your liking: curry powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper, paprika, and salt.
  • Stir in 3 cups beer (I use Belikin Lighthouse Lager) into flour mixture. Do not overmix.
  • Using two spoons (or your hands), form balls and shallow-fry in hot vegetable oil until golden brown.
  • Serve on a bed of fresh lettuce with a duo of sauces. I serve mine with aioli and a sweet habanero chili sauce for an extra kick.