Sunday, January 30, 2011

Adventure Antigua's other eco ambassador.

A little over a year ago it became apparent that I needed to focus more attention on the presentation of the Eco Tour. Over the past few years there had been quite a few changes on the tour with different crew coming and going, and with what seemed to be a never ending series of problems with engines and propulsion systems, I knew I had to invest in the boat and in the crew.

The boat is another story and I am happy to say that she has never run as economically or as reliably, but this blog is about one of the crew changes.

I put some ads in the paper and online and received a resume from a young lady called Nicola Nash. I didn't know her but immediately was interested to meet up and find out more. She sounded like what the Eco Tour was looking for. She had studied Marine Biology in University, had extensive snorkeling and diving experience and already had quite a bit of experience working on similar excursions. She was also genuinely interested in ecology and conservation which is something I am passionate about. I offered to take her on board and she accepted a job as guide on the boat.

When the boat came back in to port on the first day Nicola worked, the skipper called me to have a chat. Captain Shamel, who is always joking around, sounded serious and said that on a scale of one to ten, Nicola was a twelve!! He said that he thought that with some training, Nicola was going to be the star of the Eco Tour show. He was totally right.

Our reviews on TripAdvisor have never been better and the emails singing praise for our eco tour keep coming in on a weekly basis. Here is a passage from an email I received last week (the photo above also came in the email):
Hi Eli and Nicola

Just to say a huge thankyou for making it such a great trip on Tuesday
Nicola.  Your time and patience was fantastic, and it seemed like
nothing was too much trouble for you.  You obviously love your job,
which let's face it, must be one of the best jobs in the world!  Eli -
Nicola is a credit to you, as are the other guys on the boat. Jill and Chris
This was one of many recently on Tripadvisor:

We recently spent a week vacationing with friends in Antigua Eli Fuller's Adventure Antigua Eco-tour was one of the highlights of our stay on this beautiful island. We met so many kind and friendly people, but I don't think we will ever forget our day with tour-guide Nicola and a fantastic crew, and the FUN we had on the ocean! Despite a little rain, the tour took us around the bays and islands of the north and west sides of Antigua for some fascinating ecological info, beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife (both land and aquatic), a bit of snorkeling and shell-hunting, and a wonderful lunch on board. We hope we can return to Antigua soon, and will definitely plan to spend another day on one of Eli's exceptional tours.
When I get a crew member who loves the ocean so much that they actually go back to sea on their days off then I know it's impossible to find anyone better suited to the job. Nicola takes part in sailing adventures and diving during her spare time and is always ready to help out in any environmental endeavors that come up including helping endangered sea turtles.

I poached this photo from her facebook page and shows her helping one of the most famous sea turtle projects in the world over here in Antigua over at Long Island. In case you are trying to figure out what she's up to, she is counting how many eggs the big female sea turtle is laying.
Anyway, find out more about Nicola and our island's ecology on the Eco Tour if you are lucky enough to get out on it while you are in Antigua.

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