By: Emily Wilson
During my first few weeks in the Virgin Islands I spent my time tracking down local scientists in hopes of securing a job in my field as a marine biologist. I quickly found that while scientist positions were nonexistent, there were endless opportunities in the tourism industry. After bouncing around a bit, I eventually found myself working on a funny looking boat with some pretty amazing people.
I started working for Bad Kitty/Calypso Charters in October of 2013. I went into the job with some boating experience, a ton of knowledge about the ocean, and a sense of adventure. The job turned out to be a better fit than I could ever have imagined. With the combination of a fun crew and a fast, comfortable, boats zipping in and around the Virgin Islands’ waters the job gave me sense of belonging to something amazing. Seeing endless smiles on vacationers as they explored new sights and learned about the local history and environment became quite rewarding. I use my knowledge of marine science every day to educate snorkelers as they experience, for the first time, the colorful underwater life. Nothing compares to the joy I witness when placing a live sea star into the hands of a child for the first time. A look of total fascination tells me it will be a lifetime memory.
Working in the charter business can sometimes test my patience and be physically exhausting, but I am reminded daily why I love my job. It is so rewarding taking people outside of their normal surroundings into a new universe. It is by helping to connect our visitors to the natural beauty of the Caribbean ocean and surrounding reefs that the experience becomes more than just a boat trip. For most visitors it’s a new way of looking at the world!