Friday, September 25, 2009

Some old faces back at Adventure Antigua and more changes too.

big belly party

With more tours on the market and fewer people on island thanks to the "financial crash" we are probably in the most challenging time of our life as a company. Adventure Antigua turns 10 this December and if there was one thing that has helped us get to this point I suppose it's the determination to always have word of mouth be our main revenue generator. We have always had word of mouth as the main way we get business and the main reason for that is that as a company we have all strived to make sure your day out with us is exceptionally good. We have always said that we are not your average snorkeling tour. We take guys who have snorkeled and boated their entire lives, guys who go to sea on their days off, guys who adore Antigua and Barbuda, guys who are friendly and respectful, and we put them on a boat with you. Nothing in the world makes them happy more than for me to tell them I had a nice email thanking them for a lovely tour. We thrive on good reviews and the trip advisors, and Antiguaforums, and cruise ship message boards have all helped us see these reviews.

Over the past few years we have had challenges where some of our best guys have asked me to let them go off and pursue other things. Some have left the country.. others, sadly, have left this world.

Adventure Antigua, although still the best high end excursion company in Antigua, has recently not been as strong as it wanted to be. Three of our best veteran Adventure Antigua crew knew that we needed some help and offered to come back and work with us.

Leslie, our strong man and loudest man has come back to work on the boats and says he is happier than he's been in years. We all love having him back with us too.

Trevor starts work again today after being off in the UK playing county cricket. As a very old windsurfing friend, Trevor and I go way back. I am delighted that he's come back to work once again with us.

Lastly Captain Shamel has decided to join our team again. Shamel, like m any of the other Adventure Antigua guys cares about our company. It's unusual when someone who is no longer working for the company cares so strongly about how well the company does. Shamel is that guy, and with more boating and tour experience than any other of my crew, Shamel will help me with all the boats and may skipper each of them depending on the day.

We have invested some money into erecting a proper building for all of our spare parts, tools, stocks, and other equipment. For ten years we have been shoving stuff here and there and we have finally made a move to get our gear and maintenance department even more organized.

I had wanted to spend about US $70 K on repowering the eco boat, but at this point I am being forced to hold off on that investment. I wish things hadn't gotten so slow, but it will pick up and the funds needed for the project will be there for next summer.

Of course, some of you know about our sailing program. We have invested some money and time into sailing training for our core poweboat crew. Captain JD and Captain Tony just recently completed a three week day skipper course. Two weeks of book work and one week on a yacht doing practical stuff. They passed with flying colours and are excited about our second sailing vessel's launch coming soon. Yes, our second sailing vessel will be finished and launched soon. I'm not sure when because there is a little thing that may postpone it a bit. That little thing is my wedding. lol I am getting married to my beautiful finance and friend, Mykl. She's an addition to Adventure Antigua that we have needed for some time and has proven to be a fantastic consultant on organizational and eco issues.

The rest of the gang seems to be very happy with these changes and we are having a meeting later today to go over more of our plans. I think that over the past six months my core crew has been under too much pressure holding up our high standards without enough support. They did an amazing job, but I know it's been difficult. With the veterans back on the boats and on the team they will be breathing a sigh of relief and happy at the prospect of out continued success. There is no doubt in my mind that Adventure Antigua has the best tours in Antigua and although there will be changes to the management and structure of the organization, we won't change the way we treat our guests or the way we operate our tours. Coming out with us should be like coming to visit old friends on their island.... a place with hidden secrets that they are eager to show you.