Liveaboard Diving Caribbean | About Zeppelin Dive & Sail

Greetings and welcome!

We are thrilled that you are reading about Zeppelin Dive & Sail. We would like to share with you a little information about us. We are Elly and Wayne from Vancouver, BC, Canada. We met over 35 years ago and bought our first sailboat while we were dating, a 22 foot Catalina, which was bright yellow and white, so we named her the Rubber Duck. That is where Elly first learned to sail under the watchful eye of “El Capitan” Wayne. After many weekends out on the boat, it looked like she was a “keeper”…. Elly that is, and so our sailing life began.

After 27 years of sailing the Pacific Northwest waters of British Columbia, Canada and Washington State, U.S.A., including 15 years of living aboard 2 different sailboats, we decided to make a major change in our lifestyle and leave Canada in 2009 to go sailing. We spent a total of 2 ½ years travelling and exploring the Pacific coast of North America, visiting California, Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama on our way to the Panama Canal.

After transiting the Panama Canal we worked our way north into the Caribbean via Bocas Del Toro, San Andreas, and Providencia and eventually arrived in Roatan, Honduras. Our original plan was to stay for 3 months to dive and explore the amazing coral reefs and then continue north into the Caribbean, however, the sailing gods had other plans for us.

We fell in love with the Bay Islands and decided to open a Roatan diving and sailing charter business specializing in private liveaboard dive vacations and luxury liveaboard sailing charters. There were no other operators offering liveaboard diving Caribbean vacations on a sailboat in the entire Western Caribbean and we are still the only ones that combine private sailing and diving charters.

If you would like to read more about us, our journey, and our liveaboard sailboat Zeppelin please see the tabs below.

Zeppelin Roatan

We both worked in the corporate world for many years and had several different careers, and in the final chapters of our “regular” life worked as self-employed consultants. While working, we were always spending as much family time as possible outside with nature enjoying all British Columbia’s beauty be it sailing, diving or skiing. In his younger days Wayne was a CSIA ski instructor and Advanced Life Support Paramedic.

Once our son was off to university and Elly was no longer in the pick-up boat watching bubbles, she was curious to see for herself what was below the ocean and started scuba diving. Wayne has been diving since the early 70’s and happy to have a new dive buddy. Since then we have spent many days and weeks diving in Canada, the USA, Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Caribbean. During 2009 we both obtained our PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors certifications and can also teach a number of PADI specialties.

After an inspiring yoga retreat in Kythira, Greece, Elly decided to teach yoga, and received her 200 hour CYT Yoga Instructor certification in 2008. In addition to Hatha, she has specialized teacher training in Kundalini, Yin, and Vinyasa Flow. Elly has had the pure joy of teaching her special blend of Hatha, Vinyasa Flow and Kundalini yoga to fellow cruisers, tourists and locals throughout Canada, Mexico, El Salvador, Panama and now Roatan.

On Roatan she has taught at Earth Mama’s yoga studio in the West End, at the water’s edge at Little French Key, Barefoot Cay Resort, Pristine Bay Resort and at Paya Bay Resort on the East End. Elly also teaches public classes at Parrot Tree Marina and private classes to guests staying on the island. Elly is also an Aqua Fit Leader and teaches at Parrot Tree Resort.

We bring a mature approach to both scuba diving, sailing, liveaboard diving Caribbean vacations and yoga instruction and love sharing our passions with others. We are also amateur photographers and almost all of the images you see on our website, both above and below the water, were taken by one of us or by our Divemaster Cristina.

Zeppelin Roatan

Our Crew Member Cristina, PADI Divemaster

After a previous very “normal”  corporate life (a Masters degree in Entrepreneurship and five years as a Business Counselor in Paris) Cristina decided in 2015 to take a sabbatical from her job and travel through South America starting with Argentina. Her purpose was to learn a new language, Spanish, and discover a new continent, a new culture. But she did much more!

The cold Patagonian winter pushed her to seek the sun in the north of South America. She arrived in Ecuador, where she decided to give scuba diving a try. And it was love at first dive! One month later, she was in Nicaragua working hard to pass her Divemaster course and exams. After successful completion she worked as a DM in Corn Island, Nicaragua and also in Ecuador prior to joining us on Zeppelin for 2017’s season.

Cristina’s passion for diving comes alive when she is leading dives and finds the big,  the small,  the rare, or the most common (but always amazing!) marine creatures and shows them to our guests.  She has an eye for searching out the underwater critters. During last season she took the Lionfish hunting course through the Roatan Marine Park and received her very own Hawaiian sling and is helping to reduce the Lionfish population. She has been nicknamed “Warrior Princess”.

We have owned Zeppelin since the fall of 2000 and she was moored at Spruce Harbour Marina, Vancouver, B.C., Canada until September 2009 when we decided to make a lifestyle change. We had lived aboard there for a total of 15 years and enjoyed our boating community with 55 other full time live aboard boats and 60 recreational boats in the heart of Vancouver.

Zeppelin is our 7th sailboat and our 2nd live aboard. Our philosophy of having a boat has always been to use it and to explore with it and we sailed all year round in all kinds of weather, exploring the coast of BC and Washington State from the north end of Vancouver Island to Puget Sound for nearly 30 years.

In September 2009 we left Vancouver and embarked on our new lifestyle in search of a warmer climate, sun filled days and offshore sailing adventures.

caribbean liveaboard

We spent seven months exploring California, both by water along the coast and inland by rail and car. We then spent one year exploring Mexico including the Baja peninsula and the Sea of Cortez. That area is absolutely stunning, both above and below the water and diving at Cabo Pulmo near Cabo San Lucas and in the Sea of Cortez is not to be missed.

We sailed the mainland Pacific coast of Mexico from San Carlos in the north to Huatulco in the south, with stops everywhere along the way including Mazatlan, La Cruz and Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo and Las Hadas, Tenacatita, Barra de Navidad, Zihuatanejo, Acapulco, and many other places. We also travelled inland to many cities, towns and villages, with Oaxaca being a favorite.

We left Mexico in April 2011 and headed to El Salvador for what we thought would be a brief stop and ended up staying for three months! The scenery is beautiful, the people are amazing and inland travel is so easy and inexpensive we explored virtually the whole country.

After three months in the river estuary at Bahia del Sol, El Salvador we were itching to get diving again so we set sail for Costa Rica. What a beautiful country and the diving totally lives up to its reputation. We had the most amazing dive with bull sharks that we will never forget, and saw white tip sharks and spotted eagle rays on almost every dive!

caribbean liveaboard
caribbean liveaboard

After one month in Costa Rica it was time to head for Panama as we had family commitments. The trip through the western islands of Panama was a highlight of our journey so far, as were Panama City and the crossing through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean. The diving in the western islands especially around Coiba and Jicaron is spectacular, much like Costa Rica but wilder and more remote.

Portobello on the Caribbean side is also highly recommended for its fascinating history, beautiful scenery and again, great diving.

We left Bocas del Toro, Panama in January 2012 and headed north into the Caribbean, stopping at San Andres and Providenciales, islands off the coast of Nicaragua that actually belong to Colombia, for even more stunning scenery and diving. Providenciales is highly recommended for its people, scenery and laid back lifestyle, along with possibly the healthiest reef ecosystem we have seen in this part of the world, other than perhaps Guanaja here in the Bay Islands.

At the end of January 2012 after nearly 30 months and 9,000 miles of travelling we arrived in Roatan and fell in love with the island almost instantly. After spending two months moored in the West End and another month in French Cay Harbor, diving almost daily on the spectacular barrier reefs and loving the great weather, beautiful island scenery and friendly people, we knew that we had found a new home. We decided to open Zeppelin Dive & Sail to share our love of Roatan, diving, sailing and yoga with others from around the world and we hope you allow us to show you this True Paradise in the Caribbean!

Roatan’s Premier Liveaboard Experience

Zeppelin is a custom one-off design drawn by Stan Huntingford, a respected Pacific Northwest designer whose designs include the well-known Maple Leaf 42, 48 and 56, Rafiki 37, Slocum 43, Passport 42, and Liberty 49, as well as numerous other designs. All his boats have the reputation of being comfortable, fast, sea-kindly cruisers.

We purchased Zeppelin in October 2000 and immediately set about completely renovating the interior of the boat to suit our vision of a comfortable live-aboard vessel. We redesigned the interior layout and made extensive modifications to every cabin to create our comfortable and beautiful home afloat. Every system on the boat has been replaced and upgraded and a complete refit has been gradually completed since 2001.

liveaboard diving caribbean

She is a flush deck, centre cockpit sloop, measuring 47 feet overall with 15 feet of beam, 42 feet of waterline and 7 feet of draft, with a designed displacement of 30,000 lbs; she is about 37,500 lbs in full cruising trim. She has a deep fin keel with shallow bilges and a fairly flat run aft to a full skeg and rudder.

The hull is very powerful, with the beam carried well aft to a transom that measures 11 feet wide. She is constructed in fiberglass with an Airex cored hull and balsa cored deck and is of immensely strong construction.

The flush deck makes for a dry deck due to the high freeboard and provides a terrific working and playing platform along with a very large volume of space inside the boat for accommodations and storage.

The centre cockpit design gives us three sleeping cabins, two heads both with showers, a large galley and spacious main saloon. We can sleep up to eight people in four cabins while in port and have four offshore sea berths. The cockpit is partially enclosed by a custom designed fixed windshield with side glass panels and hard top and can be fully enclosed by canvas, with plastic or screened panels. This combination provides excellent versatility for all weather conditions.

Zeppelin is sloop rigged, with twin backstays, roller furling jib, mainsail slab reefing, lazy jacks and full spinnaker gear. All control lines for sail handling and reefing are led into the cockpit for ease of handling.

liveaboard diving caribbean
liveaboard diving caribbean

The systems include the main engine, a Perkins 4-236 85 HP diesel; a 3500 watt Maxxum inverter with 150 amp battery charger; a Next Gen 5.5 KW diesel generator; and two 130 watt Kyocera solar panels with MPPT controller. Fuel tankage of 120 gallons provides a cruising range of about 650 miles at 6 knots, maximum speed under power is 8 knots. Water tankage is 150 gallons and we have a 25 gallon per hour reverse osmosis water maker driven by the generator.

For our scuba diving guests we have a gas driven scuba compressor and 12 tanks, along with a dive platform on the stern with fresh water shower. Electronics consist of three GPS units including two chart plotters, one with depth sounder; 24 mile Radar; three VHF radios; wind instruments; autopilot; satellite phone; onboard wifi network with internet wifi and 3G cellular modem boosters; and a 32 inch Philips LED tv with surround sound system for CDs and DVDs as well as over 1500 movies on computer hard drive. Miscellaneous equipment includes all the required safety gear including a six person offshore liferaft and six automatic inflating life vests with built in safety harnesses; a large propane bar-b-que;  two stand up paddleboards; and an 11 foot tandem Ocean kayak.

We have completely renovated Zeppelin, redesigned the interior layout and made extensive modifications to every cabin to create our comfortable and beautiful home afloat. The cabins are all finished in stunning woodwork with a combination of teak and west coast fir and white painted walls. The heads (bathrooms) and galley (kitchen) floors are done in ceramic tile and the remainder of the sole (floor) throughout the boat is west coast fir, finished beautifully to allow all the natural colors of the wood to shine through. The walls and shelving are adorned with original art, photos and sculpture collected during our travels throughout the years, and all of Zeppelin’s systems have been designed for comfort and convenience to provide true luxury.

Zeppelin has a total of eight opening hatches, four large and four small, the main companionway and four dorade vents, all of which are screened. We also have a total of 15 low current draw 12 volt fans to keep the fresh air flowing. These all combine to provide excellent ventilation and cooling breezes throughout the boat. Zeppelin is not air conditioned as we prefer to use natural ventilation and keep the boat open so we have plenty of fresh air. We also prefer to not have to run our generator constantly to power air conditioning due to noise and environmental concerns.

Our cabins are designed to comfortably accommodate a maximum of 4 guests who know each other. This can consist of: two couples; or one couple and two singles (adults or children over 12 yrs); three singles; or four singles if two persons wish to share the master queen.

Aft Cabin Master Suite

This luxurious stateroom has a pillow top natural latex foam queen size bed for your total comfort and relaxed nightly sleeps. The stateroom has seven surrounding port windows on three sides and a large overhead opening screened hatch to allow tropical air to flow in, all to provide natural ventilation, lighting and brightness. There are also four electric fans to provide cooling breezes.

Imagine your morning beginning with a warm beverage sitting up in bed, surrounded by puffy pillows and enjoying the view of the water out the windows. There is a spacious vanity and large mirror for personal grooming and you can also use this space for your laptop, to wirelessly access the boat’s onboard internet or download your many holiday photos from your camera. A full length mirror is next to the hanging closet and drawers. Adjacent to this stateroom you pass through a west coast underwater design etched glass door to the tiled bathroom with a Mexican copper sink, vacuum flush toilet and shower.

liveaboard diving vacations

Forward Double Suite

liveaboard diving vacations

This stateroom is located in the forward or bow area of the boat. Enjoy the comforts of a firmer double size mattress with soft memory foam top to create a relaxing sleep with two port windows to view the water along with a large opening screened hatch for natural light and fresh tropical air. There are also two electric fans to provide cooling breezes. Stepping down out of the berth, beside it there is a large hanging closet, drawers and full length mirror. Opening the adjacent sliding underwater tropical design etched glass door you step into the Caribbean style tiled bathroom with Mexican porcelain sink, vacuum flush toilet and shower.

Passageway Cabin

We also have a private passageway cabin with two single bunk beds that are perfect for children or singles. The berths are six feet long and 30 inches wide with soft memory foam tops and the upper bunk has a port window to see outside.

This passage way cabin also has an opening screened hatch for natural light and fresh air and fans to provide a cooling breeze if needed.

Main Saloon

off the beaten track diving

This is where the living and dining areas are. It is a very spacious section of the boat and beautifully finished in west coast fir and teak. Stunning framed photographs and unique art work are displayed not only in this area, but also throughout Zeppelin. The dining table was designed and made by a local Honduran craftsman using six different kinds and colors of Central American hardwood, making it a piece of art of its own.

The U shaped seating around the dining table is covered in Sunbrella fabric for comfort and coolness. The settee or couch is seven feet long and with additional throw pillows makes for a wonderful place to relax in the evening with a good book or engage in conversation. This settee also expands into a lounge that accommodates four guests to enjoy popcorn and a movie on the 32 inch LED flat screen TV and surround sound system for DVD’s and CD’s. We also have over 1500 movies available on a computer hard drive for viewing on the TV. There are two port windows at eye level to view outside along with two large opening screened hatches to let in the tropical air and three electrical fans for cooling breezes.

Galley

The galley (kitchen) is located on the port (left) side of the boat and has an upright refrigerator with separate freezer, dishwasher, microwave, propane four burner stove and oven, and icemaker.

The counters & splash are tiled in white with accents of green and yellow and the floor is tiled in terracotta, which gives it a Mediterranean style and a warm home-like feeling. The galley also has two port windows at eye level, and an opening screened hatch and three fans for ventilation. There is a door in the galley that opens to the aft bathroom.

Cockpit

liveaboard diving caribbean

The spacious cockpit has a solid dodger (windshield) with hard top roof and safety glass windows on three sides and covers the entire cockpit, all providing shade and rain protection.

There is seating for eight very comfortably and a dining table for four persons to enjoy a fabulous meal outside in the shade. There is a canvas bimini cover that provides shade for the entire cockpit and side decks.

Foredeck

The flush foredeck lounge area is a terrific place to sit back, relax and watch the world go by. You can enjoy your meals out on the deck at anchor with comfortable chairs and side tables. This is also a wonderful place to be when out sailing, watching the sails catch the breeze, and the scenery and wildlife pass by.

There is also a canvas bimini cover that can be raised while at anchor to provide shade over the entire forward deck.

off the beaten track diving

She has also found a new interest in underwater photography as we tossed her the camera and said “can you take a few photos of the guests for us?”  Now she is hooked and having a great time taking both photos and videos. She has debuted her first video on our Homepage, take a look at our Gallery for it.

Back on the boat Cristina shares her fishes and coral knowledge with guests and in the evenings we all come together after dinner to “ooh & ah” about that day’s photo shoot and live video on the big screen.

Cristina has recently returned from Sardinia, Italy where she worked for a dive shop during the off season and received her Assistant Instructors certification.