And what a season it was!!!
This morning we officially made it into the Top 10 of TripAdvisor Outdoor Activities on Tortola! To say I am excited and filled with gratitude is beyond words. You can’t see me but I am totally doing a happy dance. A huge thanks to ALL who took the time to write us a review. I appreciate your generosity and your thoughtfulness and I want to extend my gratitude. Sometimes its the simplest things that mean the most. We moved 15 positions on TripAdvisor in 9 weeks from #25 to #10. And without you, this wasn’t possible!
Unfortunately, our season was not all smooth sailing and problem free. We had our fair share of issues from the boat to employees.
When Belline II arrived at the dock that fateful Friday evening in December, I quickly found out she was not as meticulously maintained as I was lead to believe and she had several issues arise that should have been caught on the survey. It makes you wonder if paying a huge amount of money to a surveyor, that obviously cuts and pastes and misses some crucial points, is really worth it?
The boat that was supposedly ready for the season to continue with the term charters I had honored over Christmas and New Year was not! We got through it, but boy did it open up a can of worms of exactly what I had bought! This girl needed some TLC and in a big way. I had not budgeted for this in my cash flow since she was supposedly well maintained, but Waltie had let a LOT of maintenance slip in the years before his death, and the crew had not kept on top of it, not an ounce of preventative maintenance had been done, just repairing problems as and when they occurred. And that in itself creates problems.
I hired 123 Hulls to take care of immediate and preventative maintenance issues. What a disaster that turned out to be when they flooded my engine room in February after changing out a cutlass bearing and drive saver. They never checked the shaft seal underway and under pressure. That was a very costly mistake – for which they held NO responsibility. How unbelievable is that! And of course there are NO consumer laws in place on this Island.
The hostess I hired through a friend, (her daughter) Kat, is simply explained as a huge mistake on my part. I was completely oversold on her abilities and work ethic and she way under delivered. I mean, who doesn’t know how to clean a boat! Thankfully, it was a very short lived 8 week experience and we are far better off without her sabotaging actions and very entitled attitude. What did I learn from this experience? Don’t help out a friend (who is no longer a friend) and hire a relative just to help them live on Tortola, especially when they just party as if they are on a continuous vacation!
Capt Ryan has been a rare find here on Tortola! Not only is he a seasoned captain who our guests love talking to and hearing all about his extraordinary life, but he has been putting in a lot of maintenance time when Belline is not out working on charter. Bit by bit he is bringing Belline back to the standard I expect her to be and slowly she is coming back to being in top notch condition.
I have been on the boat for the past 9 weeks and it has been awesome! Even though my job is to market this basically brand new business, I have really missed working on the boat and getting to know our customers – many of whom have left as good friends. We have been blessed with the most amazing guests who have crossed our paths.
We have a new First Mate, Kaycie, arriving shortly and I can’t wait to introduce you all to her. I will also be on the boat as much as I can, it’s keeping me fit and happy. There is no better way than to spend your day sailing around the beautiful BVI.
Cheers to you all!!!