‘United Arab Emirates Edition’ Capeland timepiece from Baume & Mercier

UAE inspired timepiece – Nice indeed

As UAE national day gets closer, most luxury goods providers are turning to personalise and brand items to a patriotic theme and the Swiss maison d’Horlogerie also announced a new ‘United Arab Emirates Edition’ Capeland timepiece. Since I started delving into marketing, its interesting to watch brands immerse their products and services with relevant local events and move with the times.

The new limited edition was specially designed to represent the colours of the UAE flag and is a true reflection of Baume & Mercier’s dedication to the country, reiterated by the brand having its only boutique in the world in the world-famous Dubai Mall.

The UAE Edition Capeland flyback chronograph has a diameter of 44mm. The off-white dial features a red tachymeter & green telemeter and a black alligator strap with red stitching. The sapphire crystal case back offers wearers the chance to view the manufacture self-winding movement (La Joux-Perret 8147) featuring an open worked oscillating weight adorned with “Côtes de Genève” snailed décor and Phi symbol, the brand signature. Only 100 pieces are available, and each is engraved “UAE Edition – 001/100” highlighting the exclusivity of this exceptional edition.

The sport-chic Capeland series of men’s exclusive automatic flyback chronographs possesses its own lineage, offering immediately identifiable features that reflect the line’s heritage and inspiration. The collection blends historical tradition with contemporary style and elegant appeal – enabling the wearer to celebrate each of life’s moments.

Inspired by a 1948 single-push piece chronograph vintage model, the collection was designed for easy daily wear. The charismatic series epitomizes a relaxed lifestyle and strength of character….sounds a bit like how one would describe me I reckon (Cheeky grin!) 🙂

Hatteras Making the Dream a Reality

Cool to see the behind the scenes work

Just received some progress notes on the new Hatteras 100 Raised Pilothouse, which is scheduled to debut next fall. It shows lamination work on the hull with engineers and craftsmen laying in electrical, plumbing and propulsion systems.

Special work has also gone into making the engine room a showpiece, featuring twin CAT C32A @ 1900 BHP marine diesels as the center of attention. The main deck and superstructure got finished in lamination followed by a complex rotation involving two gigantic cranes before being sent to the line.

The cap for this beautiful new Hatteras is currently undergoing its finishing touches. The tooling department will soon complete the massive 80 foot flybridge mold and then send it to the lamination department for part construction….looks like that will be on schedule.

As the larger pieces of the puzzle come together, several smaller ones have too. In the woodshop and finishing room, a number of the stateroom cabinets and dressers are done. The open-grain wenge is finished with a clear topcoat, to show off the wood’s natural color. The rich, dark wooden surfaces will be balanced with elegant dimensional doors and drawer fronts; accented with off-white padded-panels….Well done to the Hatteras team as we are able to see the process via their awesome progress images on this cool baby!

The new Atlantis philosophy lands on the web

With so many yacht websites out there, it is nice to see some really cool ones coming out of the woods once in a while – and the new Atlantis Yachts website is certainly very cool. Revolutionary graphic design shows at first glance all the modernity and dynamism of the brand.

The new website:

  • shows redesigned structure to allow access from pc and tablet.
  • has updated content to provide visitors with a committed and attractive experience: more information, more details, more curiosities and more material to learn and appreciate the new Atlantis philosophy: Clever Yachting, Italian Style.
  • reflects awesome technology, style, performance, and a balance between comfort and practicality. With Azimut Yachts’ wealth of experience, Atlantis is the ideal synthesis! between qualitative efficiency and the refined taste of the Italian design

Welcome on board, www.atlantisyachts.it

Mike Rutzen at Atlantis – education on Great White Sharks

With Mike Rutzen & the beautiful Rima at The Lost Chambers, Atlantis

After driving on race tracks, bashing dunes, sky diving and generally doing anything that raises the blood pressure, my next big adrenaline driven adventure will be diving with sharks…..inspired by none other than Michael Rutzen, who is known as one of the few people in the world who free-dives with Great White Sharks and campaigns for their preservation around the world.

Mike is so passionate describing his unique adventures as he travels extensively around the world to create an understanding and respect for this great predator, sharing his knowledge and involving as many people as possible in his conservation battle.  I met Mike at Atlantis, The Lost Chambers as he was with the Atlantis Marine Team who are keen to go to Fiji to experience the awesome dive sites there. (I reckon I have convinced marine conservationist, the beautiful  Rima Jabado to hang out in my flat in Nadi while doing day trips diving near untouched islands – since we have over 330 beautiful islands, it’s a diver’s dream paradise)

Mike Rutzen is sweet, down to earth and if you love the marine world as much as I do being an Island girl, watch Mike’s travels and activities which are extensively documented on TV programmes including ‘Beyond Fear’ with National Geographic, ‘Sharkman’ and ‘Shark Night’ on Discovery Channel, ‘60 Minutes special’  with Anderson Cooper, ‘The Great White Shark’ on CNN and ‘A Living Legend’ on BBC Natural World. Mike has been face to face with one of the greatest predators in the world, with no protection and no fear!

I hope someday I also get to spend some time with Steve Kaiser of the Marine Sciences and Engineering team at Atlantis –  I believe he works hard to provide education to the masses about sharks through a number of activities including the thrilling Shark Dive in the Shark Lagoon at Atlantis. It would also be great to talk more about Rima and her work on marine conservation and I reckon that will be a whole new blog on its own…watch this space.

Guests to the next Lost Chambers ‘Family Fun Day’ will be able to meet Michael Rutzen and hear him speak about Shark Conservation. Other Atlantis activities include special educational sessions with marine animal specialists, interaction with the Atlantis scuba divers, touch and feel marine exhibits, face painting, treasure hunts etc.

You can also meet ‘Shark Man’ Mike face to face as he will describe tales of his adventures diving and protecting sharks around the globe on Saturday. In his talk “The Great White Shark Carcharodon Carcharias – Behaviour and Conservation,” He will tell stories about diving with sharks; his free-diving and behavioural observations; eco-tourism as a winning solution and his research and future projects.

I warn you though…Mike is so passionate about his work, the enthusiasm rubs off on you and like me, you will find yourself navigating the high seas in no time! Thanks to the awesome team at Atlantis who always have interesting activities lined up at The Lost Chambers for kids like little diva @NJD2000, we as adults also end up learning about environment, conservation in a beautiful setting like Atlantis.

I am starting diving courses with Al Boom next month when my traumatised left arm is back in action so I can do the shark dive at Atlantis – super excited. (And no…the arm was not traumatised flipping the car on a race track as all my near and dear ones seem to think). 

Innovative concept from Gulf Craft for outdoor entertaining space

The dynamic guys at Gulf Craft Inc., the largest manufacturer of luxury yachts and fiberglass boats in the Middle East and Asia last Saturday showed VVIPs at its shipyard’s the largest ever hull construction – the Majesty 135.

I already wrote about the awesome 30th anniversary gala celebration we attended at Gulf Craft’s yacht manufacturing facility in the UAE … These guys know what they are doing and are the nicest, warmest people you will ever meet so its always a pleasure being with them.

The Majesty 105 is the latest in a series of revolutionary concepts created by Gulf Craft. It represents both, the degree of engineering, design and technological sophistication already achieved by the company during its three decades in the business as well as its ability to anticipate and meet the need for striking new superyacht concepts tailored to diverse cruising needs.

We had the exclusive opportunity to tour the striking blue-hulled, triple-decked superyacht which features 5 staterooms, including a luxurious owner’s stateroom, 2 crew cabins and one captain’s cabin, 8 bathrooms in addition to a dayhead. The Majesty 105 runs on 2 Caterpiller C32 rated engines and can reach top speeds of 27 knots.

The interiors are furnished in gold teak veneer with soft, light carpeting and furnishings in a sea-inspired colour scheme that gives a nod to Mediterranean elegance. Extensive exterior space – including an outdoor steering helm and a hard-topped sundeck fitted with comfortable sofa seating, a wet bar, fridge, icemaker and barbeque makes this the perfect yacht for outdoor entertaining.

Erwin Bamps, COO of Gulf Craft was of course in his element – rightly so as he has done an amazing job with all the arrangements for the unveiling of the Majesty 105.

According to Erwin, the Majesty 105 was conceptualized for the yacht owner who likes to spend the majority of his time above deck, With a steering helm on the sun deck and an interactive outdoor entertaining and lounging space, this is the sort of yacht that would allow you to spend time admiring the coast on an island-hopping itinerary or catch all the action moored alongside waterfront racing circuits like Yas Marina Circuit or the Circuit de Monaco. (I’m pretty sure my friends at Yas Marina will be delighted).

It was also superb to catch up with Sultan….a personality to watch out for in the future as he is one of the younger generation of Emiratis who will carry on the legacy and the amazing work of his family and forefathers. Especially as the younger generation have the support of industry stalwarts like Saeed Hareb, Nabil their teams and families.

All I can say is that this baby is awesome – I already tweeted some pictures of both Majesty 135 and Majesty 105 from the exclusive preview @Fijianchick. Enjoy!

With Saeed Hareb

Erwin Bamps, Saeed Hareb, Mohd Al Shaali & Nabil Farhat at the Majesty 105 launch

The awesomeness of Yas Marina

How cool is this place - Image courtesy Yas Marina team

Whenever I venture towards Yas Island Abu Dhabi, people automatically think it is to fratenise with car manufacturers on the circuit – but diva is not only hooked on super cars….as an island girl, I love everything relating to the sea and my current favourite place to hang out in Abu Dhabi is the Yas Marina.

Now…it has been gut wrenching not tweeting or blogging about it but I did promise dear Jonathan when I do touch on it, it will be from the heart and I will talk about my adventures there from experience – unfortunately I have only been able to do whistle stop tours recently while testing the latest cars. (Yas Island is the best place to cruise around in open top convertibles in the evenings amongst other super cars that are there for a spin on the tracks).

Having orange juice with the GM of Yas Marina Cedric Le Rest during my lunch break at Radisson earlier in the year was the first time I got to know all about Yas Marina and the fabulous way its managed by Camper & Nicholsons Marinas. Samer from Yas as well joined us for a bit of laid back chat and between Samer, Cedric and Jonathan, I found out more about Yas Marina in that one hour than I had from all my adrenaline driven visits to the Yas Island.

Camper & Nicholsons is widely recognised to be one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious yachting business names, with origins dating back to 1782. The company has specialised in marina and waterfront development for over 40 years and has provided services to clients in more than 25 countries worldwide.

Their projects range from small marinas through to developments over 500 hectares. Camper & Nicholsons Marinas International Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Camper & Nicholsons Marina Investments Limited, listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange. Camper & Nicholsons currently operate marinas in Abu Dhabi, Grenada, Italy, Malta and Turkey.

The guys at Camper & Nicholsons are awesome – they recently announced that berth occupancy has doubled in the last 6 months and Cedric believes its due to their extremely competitive annual berth rates – which now includes an F1TM berth.

The best bit here is the VIP Privilege Card that offers berth holders a variety of discounts and value added services to Yas Island facilities. The 2012 Annual Berth rates (starting from 16,455 AED inclusive of a berth at 2012 Formula 1™ week) and the 2012 Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Grand Prix berthing tariffs which start from 10,395 AED. One superyacht to have recently taken an annual berth at Yas Marina is the 95m Indian Empress.

The competitive tariffs, coupled with the success of Yas Island Show Weekends, featuring international superstars such as Madonna, Janet Jackson and Elton John have helped to reinforce Yas Marina’s position as an attractive home port for yachts of all sizes.

Yas Marina features a variety of dining and entertainment options ranging from fine dining at Cipriani or Yotto, to more casual settings like Stars ‘N’ Bars and the vibrant Allure Night Club by Cipriani. I absolutely love Cipriani and it was everything Cedric had said about it to me months before.

Located at the heart of the Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island and located 10 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport, 20 minutes from central Abu Dhabi and 45 minutes from Dubai, Yas Marina has 143 berths for yachts up to 150m in size.  Visitors to the marina can enjoy easy access to pristine coastlines, 200 uninhabited islands and the nearby cosmopolitan cities…….looks like a place tailor made for diva!

Majesty 135 and Gulf Craft’s 30 Year anniversay

This afternoon, two of us, together with Walid got chauffeur driven to Um Al Quwain to join selected VVIPs and members of the Royal family to see the first Majesty 135 as well as celebrate the 30 year anniversary of an organisation that handles high end yacht brands in this region.  

Naturally I couldn’t say no to the invitation as no diva can resist fast cars, private airplanes, yachts or exclusive hospitality. After an afternoon with the Fijians from Shangri-la Fiji and Rajah + an evening at the literature festival, I was naturally knackered but mustered up enough energy to get myself to Umm Al Quwain.

We were welcomed by traditional Emirati music by the sea…island girl felt right at home next to the clear blue waters. We were in luck as we also ended up being the first people to see the Majesty 105 as well – awesome!

After a short drink with Erwin, COO of Gulf Craft who refers to my blog (glad someone other than David is reading them), we get talking about all things to do with yacht brands….he has awesome knowledge of these luxury machines and reiterates the success of Gulf Craft – he is just as passionate as the owners of Gulf Craft who are behind the success of their brands – Oryx, Majesty Yachts and Silver Craft.

Its rare to find people who believe so much in what they do that it becomes their life. I would love to find that love and passion and I reckon it lies in writing. Mainly because its one thing I can take control of and see it through without depending on anyone…its a liberating feeling.
I have loads of pictures of the yacht and both Erwin and Notis were amazing hosts – thanks Erwin for being so attentive and Notis for taking the time for a personal tour of the Majesty 105 despite being busy with the Who’s who of the yachting world.

With Notis on Majesty 135

It was also delightful to see the energy and enthusiasm of Trixee Loh who is the female power behind the Boat Show…its the best enlightened 2 hours I’ve spent today and its not just because Trixee is a Singaporean and I have an affinity with all that is remotely associated with Asia having lived in KL for 9 years with weekend trips to Singapore and Orchard Road. You will see the amazing work Trixee’s team has put forward at next week’s DIBS.

Meanwhile, I salute Gulf Craft, their awesome team for an amazing afternoon in Um Al Quwain. They will be a force to be reckoned with next week!

We caught up as well with Saeed Hareb on DIMC – the last time we had time for a chat was years ago with the Victory Team so today was nice just to be able to see him in an informal setting.

My next venture is a Woman’s Empowerment talk with a beautiful and magnetic Royalty – watch this space!

Majesty 105

Diva hangs out with the Dubai International Boat Show team at DIMC

With His Highness SHeikh Marwan on board his yacht in Um Al Quwain during a Millionaire Group soiree

It is one of Dubai’s busiest weeks. All my friends are super busy….earlier today I caught up with an excited Barbara who is from the main organising team of the Dubai International Boat Show. We became friends early last year while I was shopping with NJD for a yachting weekend with friends and we clicked right away. She is awesome and we had a ball at the Motorshow together. The boat show publicity is done by Wallis Marketing (Mike Wallis and I go back years when we first went to Sharm al Sheikh together with a group for diving and dining – he of course played golf as well but I’ve never delved into this one sport – shame). Mike has an awesome team and together with them and Barbara’s dynamic team at DWTC, I reckon the public is in for a cool show this year.

Few of the cars I have driven already will also be on show :). Naturally my friends from Rolls Royce, Bentley and Mercedes Benz will be there in full force. The Supercar Promenade will show the finest models on four wheels with world class marques that will align perfectly with the prestige of the high-end boating brands.  Visitors will be able to get behind the wheel of some of the world’s fastest and most expensive cars – among them Bentley Continental Series 51, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, and Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé :). My daughter had an awesome time at last years show playing on the yachts and she showed her VIP tag to anyone who sat up and noticed. Little diva is having a fabulous time skiing in Switzerland and I have not had a single phone call :(.

This year’s 20th edition of the Dubai International Boat Show will celebrate the rich history and incredible growth of the regional maritime industry, bringing together the ‘who’s who’ in the vast sector from across five continents. In addition to an impressive number of global and regional firsts, the world’s leading marine leisure industry players will unveil their launches to tens of thousands of boating enthusiasts, confirming the event’s growing international reach and continued ability to attract top quality buyers in record numbers two decades after its inaugural staging. Members of our Millionaire Group are waiting in anticipation and keep asking me about what’s in store.

I remember hanging out 8 years ago with the Victory team at DMC when the show still revolved a lot around sports and I was doing profile stories on the main players for our Group. I’m glad they are still members of our group and still as dynamic as ever. Before that, 20 years ago, the Dubai International Boat Show was originally launched as the ‘Watersports & Powerboat Show’ as a fully indoor event held at the Dubai World Trade Centre.  Its current home at the Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi has accelerated its transformation into one of the most influential brands in the world and witnesses incredible growth of 43 times in size and 14 times the number of exhibiting companies since its inception.

Boat Show - image courtesy DIBS

According to a story Mike’s team sent our Millionaire Group today, with an astounding 33 premiers, including world and regional launches, and 750 companies plus 430 boats on display, the strength of this year’s 20th anniversary event programming clearly reaffirms its position as one of the top five international boat shows and the Middle East’s number one destination for leisure marine trade.  46 countries including Austria, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Hongkong, Madagascar, Poland, Philippines, Seychelles and Tunisia will be there.

The show will feature 186 new exhibitors and some of the world’s most renowned brands this year, including Abeking & Rasmussen, Al Futtaim Marine, Blohm + Voss Shipyards GmbH, Bombardier Business Aircraft, CSO Yachts, Dutch Thruster Group, Fehrmann Metallverarbeitung GmbH, Fraser Yachts, Green Marine, Kaiserwerft GmbH, Koot Yachts, Limassol Marina, Mave, Milano Teleport S.p.A., Oldenburger Yacht Interior GmbH & Co., Otto Pienning GmbH, RE-Boat Srl, Sunreef Yachts, Yamal Boats and many more. Plus 11 members of the world’s most prestigious super yachts builders association (SYBAss), to include Abeking & Rasmussen, AMELS, Benetti, CRN, Feadship, Fincantieri, Heesen Yachts, Lurssen, Oceanco, San Lorenzo, and Trinity Yachts, will show their latest yacht models and designs in a dedicated SYBAss Pavillion.

Several of the Dubai International Boat Show stalwarts including leading shipyard Westport have increased their space while North Africa’s latest shipyard, Koot yachts, are among the many first time exhibitors alongside Al Rubban, AM Shipyard and Dutch Thruster Group, who also make their debut appearance. Key exhibitors including Al Shaali, ART Marine, Aquaspeed, Azimut, Cummins, Emirates Boats, Gulf Craft (my favourite), Heinen & Hopman, Princess Yachts and Sunseeker will be very popular I’m sure.

Enjoy the show….Island girl is back on the clear blue waters of the Arabian Sea…even if it is on a yacht in April with my pals in Umm Al Quwain – its too cold for me still to jump into the sea so my after work swimming sessions are on hold. Next up is my take on the soiree with the 100 Top Arab Women’s networking at Emirates Towers plus the Emirates Festival of Literature – it sure is a busy March!

JetPad – Island girl to immerse into the blue waters on a cool new toy

This was the awesome action today at Jumeirah Beach Resort 🙂

Today I went to check out some alternatives to watersports – since my diving instructor screwed me on special offers for PADI lessons, this island girl decided there are other ways to have fun on water and the next best thing launching into the UAE next week at the Boat Show will be a new fun toy for big people like me called a JetPad.

So I had a short chat with the Chairman of JetPad, Alexander who insisted I see a demo of the said JetPad as we sat by the sea at Jumeirah Beach Hotel – I saw it, loved it but I was wearing a nice dress with my sexy Pisces sandals with strings so I could only watch this cool baby on water but have not tried it yet.

It was interesting that this is a UAE product and its all set to splash local waters – its an eco-friendly, fun thing and it is a safe personal watercraft. It is noise-free, Zero Emissions + safety-compliant. Its more like a personal watercraft (PWC) that I’m sure will address a gap in the pleasure craft market.

Historically, PWCs have received a negative response from beachgoers, environmentalists and regulators for their noise, emissions, frequent gasoline leaks and questionable safety issues – I have almost been hit by a few before. One of my Local Emirati friends has one for the kids and its a lot more bulkier than what I saw today. And with an 800km coastline in the UAE and a ban on traditional PWCs in place, the need for an alternative is pressing.

JetPad meets this market demand with a game-changing design incorporating cutting-edge safety features, and featuring innovative lithium ion battery-powered technology that results in zero emissions. Very guilt free I must add and its flip-proof. Knowing how accident prone I can be, this is a definite plus!

Weighing just 70kg, the versatile PWC is easily transported or carried on a boat and capable of reaching speeds of up to 45 km per hour. It has a runtime of 60 minutes, charges in just 30 minutes, and requires minimal maintenance.

Other key features include a controlled speed limiter, and a navigation and on-board entertainment system. Initially launching with the ‘Go-Kart’ edition, JetPad also plans to introduce the ‘Explorer’, which will appeal to budding marine biologists and oceanographers with its steering-wheel controlled fish-eye camera.

Alexander tells me that JetPads will be manufactured in the UAE using top quality ConformitéEuropéenne (CE)-approved components on an ISO-certified assembly line. The first units are set to go on sale in May 2012 locally and internationally…this Pisces water baby is thrilled!

The story of whitebait

On my way back from Fiji, my daughter was most amused when she saw me have a roti sandwich with fried whitebait in Sydney and asked why would I have that for dinner when there was an amazing buffet of delicacies laid out for us in the Business Class lounge.

I quickly launched into the story of whitebait or digana as it’s referred to in Fiji. Digana, or inanga (common galaxies) is a delicacy amongst food enthusiasts around the world and in Fijian families like mine, it is frozen for consumption when in season for visitors like myself who will never experience the amazing taste in any other part of the world.
The most common whitebait species is found in New Zealand and Fiji waters. They are caught using small open-mouthed hand-held nets similar to ones we used for catching baby prawns in our childhood as a weekend activity.

Whitebaiting in the Pacific is a seasonal activity with a fixed and limited period when they can be caught. Foodies in other parts of the world often find whitebait very different and superior in the Pacific than in other parts of the world. In human terms it’s the difference you would find between Europeans and East Europeans or how people find North Americans far superior than the South Americans who are often seen as low class. They are all humans but many people unfortunately view them differently in terms of superiority. Its the difference of a quality German product and a cheap replica done in some dodgy factory in China. In the same way foodies view the whitebait in the Pacific as far superior in taste and texture than what is found in other parts of the world.

As a delicacy, whitebait commands high prices to the extent that it is the most costly fish on the market, if available. It is normally sold fresh in small quantities, although some is frozen to extend the sale period. I’m just grateful my sister always keeps them in supply for my visits to Fiji.

I met a Kiwi who told me that whitebaiting in NZ was a sport because it takes a lot of patience, luck and the reward of a good catch. In places like Mokau District, there are even a few varieties of whitebait. I remember a menu in Portugal not long ago that had whitebait. I looked at the picture and immediately asked the waiter in Lisbon if it was really whitebait. He showed me a sample and it was a far cry from being delicate. I would even go as far as saying it was an insult to call it whitebait.

If you are a foodie and have a soft spot for high-end seafood that tickles your palate, I suggest trying this delicacy when you are next in the Pacific and lucky enough to be there during the whitebaiting season.