First Female Afro-Carribbean Yacht Charter Master Captain
Grace Taylor: My best friend and colleague Benita Marshall is a powerhouse! She is the first female Afro-Caribbean yacht charter master captain here in the US Virgin Islands and is rocking it! She is very active in her community and makes sure to pass on precious opportunities just as she has received.
She and soon-to-be spouse created a youth wellness and sailing program here that teaches the local youth the fundamentals of sailing and helps them achieve overall wellness through food, exercise, and ocean therapy. I witnessed her start from the bottom up and am so proud of what she is accomplishing. She literally puts her life on the line for others and asks for nothing in return. She is on fire and deserves to be recognized for it!
I am a flare of bright energy and a lover of sunset swimming and fresh pesto. With 2+ years of experience and upwards of 1000 nautical miles on near coastal waters as well as carrying my USCG Master 100 ton, I truly feel one with the ocean and have surrendered to wherever the waves take me. Hailing from all over the Caribbean with family roots in several islands from Cuba to Trinidad, I consider myself “your local island explorer” of food, fun, culture, and of course waves.
I come alive in the kitchen and have the best time making art in the galley. With over 5 years in the culinary and restaurant industry, I am well versed in various diets and allergies, and believe that whatever you put into your body, should always make you feel better. “Making sure the guests dance when they eat” has always been my thrill and something I look forward to when preparing delicious food.
Rising to the motion of the ocean and the light of the sun is always something I want to do for the rest of my life. I am a certified yoga and pilates instructor and believe that health is truly wealth, so mindful movement, meditation, and breathing are some the things I love to connect with my guests on. I am passionate about feeding the spirit within as well as having fun almost every second of my life, so you probably find me in prayer and meditation at 6am to doing flips off the boat 3 hours later.
When did your journey of mindfulness begin?
I began my mindfulness journey in high school as my high school offered yoga classes. It brought me to an exciting place in my young adult life, introduced me to many friends I have to this day, and overall brought a great peace and tranquil energy to my life.
I then began teaching yoga while in college, offering classes in the local park in Brooklyn where I lived, which spared my love for guiding others and helping other find the peace I found.
What is included in your youth wellness and sailing program? What motivated you to start this?
Included in my wellness and sailing program is an introduction to cooking, the practice of breathing, and the fundamentals of basic sailing. We want to guide children through breathing and stretching techniques when they are filled with mixed and conflicting emotions. We walk the children through easy recipes and snacks as well as get them prepped for time on the ocean with understanding certain sailing maneuvers and rules and regulations of the boating and marine industry.
If you had a magic wand, you would...
I would grant equal opportunity to everyone all over the world workplace.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are swimming, biking, making fresh pesto, after swim stretching, dancing under the sunset, and talking to my parents and telling them I love them.
I as well as my fiancé-to-be believe in the power of prayer and meditation, so as we rise in the morning, we do just that for about 30 minutes. Following that, we jump into our 45 minute exercise and then jump into the ocean for a morning swim.