Meet Our Hosts – Grant Ruffel

Captain of Soneva in Aqua

Grant has been captaining boats of all kinds in a multitude of places around the globe for more than two decades. After being in charge of one of the first electrically propelled super yachts in excess of 100ft, he discovered Soneva, and was drawn to the philosophy practiced at the resorts and was excited to continue to play a part in the evolution of sustainability.

Where are you from? 

I was brought up in a small fishing village close to Cape Town in South Africa.

What bought to you the Maldives?

Soneva’s philosophy on sustainability combined with the lure of a tropical ocean paradise.

How many countries have you lived in or travelled to? 

Around 50.

Tell us about your role as Captain of the Soneva in Aqua yacht?

I am responsible for making sure that Soneva in Aqua is ship-shape and ensuring that guests have the time of their life, filled with unforgettable experiences.

It’s pretty difficult to nail down a set routine for my day – it is one of the cool things about my job!

What do you love the most about your job? 

I love being out on the ocean, exploring this tropical wonderland while at the same time working with and meeting some incredible people. It’s amazing seeing guests’ delight and wonderment as they experience something they love for the first time and wanting more of the same.

Describe your perfect day… 

It would start by waking up to witness a magnificent sunrise and heading straight out on the yacht’s tender to surf the perfect wave, not too far from the yacht’s anchorage. We’d successfully coach one of the guests’ children into their first barrel while the parents hoot with joy – throwing both arms into the air with a look of pride all over their faces.  

After breakfast we’d jump into the water from the transom of the yacht to film the guests swimming alongside the giant mantas cruising around the nearby cleaning station on the way back from our surf. It would be incredible to see guests take to the water with much more confidence and enjoyment following a successful free-diving lesson on the first day of their voyage.  

After lunch I’d take the youngest guest (who had been a little intimidated by the reef at the surf spot that morning) and show them how to ride the wake of our tender on one of the surfboards – joined in their new pursuit by a pod of inquisitive dolphins. The dolphins would stay around long enough for us to set up the dolphin sled – enabling all the guests to experience what it feels like to swim alongside these amazing creatures.

In the evening, we would marvel at the beauty of the setting sun and the changing colours of the sky over a picture-perfect deserted island. With the water rich in bioluminescent plankton, we’d decide to head back into the ocean, feeling like Peter Pan as we swim alongside giant mantas, their outlines glowing as they glide past us leaving a trail of stars in their wake.

After an delicious dinner we’d all pass out with a huge grin on our faces and the feeling of deep satisfaction that comes from time well spent. The perfect day, filled with amazing experiences that create unforgettable memories. 

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