I started working for GXG 4 years ago; I came in as a Marine Scientist and PADI Diving Instructor. Since my time, I have learned how to sail under many previous amazing captains and have progressed to become a captain myself of Ocean Star a classic schooner that is well recognized around the Caribbean islands and truly a key member of the fleet.
What is your favorite travel memory?
I am in quite a privileged position in that I have so many travel memories to choose from.
When on the boat, I regularly see big marine life like whales breaching and dolphins chasing the boat to then diving underneath the boat and seeing turtles and sharks is a very. However, my most recent memory was two very inquisitive dolphins who stuck around for long enough to allow me to jump in and swim with them. It was a mum and calf and the calf would mimic every motion I did; if I span my body, it would copy; when I blew bubbles, it would play with the bubbles all while the mother looked on making sure I wasn’t causing too much trouble. It was an amazing experience.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
My current work allows for many learning curves. I came into the job knowing very little in terms of sailing and any nautical know-how; in fact, I knew pretty much nothing other than a good boat floats and a bad boat sinks. However, over the last 4 years, I have increased both my practical and theoretical knowledge of how boats work and the various factors that affect them and even managed to get myself to point where Sea|mester has let me take control of Ocean Star a key part in the companies fleet.
Now being the Captain, it makes me appreciate the responsibilities previous captains I’ve worked with had and what an amazing job they all did. I have tried to take the best parts of all and merge them into my own unique style in order to help try and educate and lead the students through an amazing experience.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
The best communications I get from old students are when they get in contact to ask me for a reference letter to some kind of job or internship they're applying for.
I have had a lot of students come on the boat and not be 100% sure what they want to do after the trip or where they want to go, but it's amazing to know that they have left the boat after an amazing trip and been inspired enough either by the sailing side, the science on the trip or that they simply want to travel and experience the world and are asking advice on the best spots to become a dive instructor.
It's always nice to hear from previous students about what they're up to years later and how the trip has affected them.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
I would most likely head out to the Galapagos or the Costa Rica trip with Go Beyond. Both trips have amazing wildlife experiences from rainforests to the amazing exploration of coastal environments and seeing a wide range of wildlife, I am quite a keen photographer of wildlife both in the marine and terrestrial, so the number of wildlife opportunities in those areas would be phenomenal.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
The company is unique as it provides such a broad spectrum of experiences while providing the best quality in such a wide range. From students coming board for 80 to 90 days aboard the bigger ships that work year-round, many of those have never stepped foot on a boat and being afforded the chance to learn diving and experience amazing island adventures.
The summer program offers an amazing chance to learn smaller sailing boats, many more water sports and the chance to make amazing friendships, and then the Go Beyond programs, which provide amazing community service projects around the world with the chance to also experience the best aspects of the local areas.
I often find myself looking at the team around me and being in awe of the energy and the different components some bring to the table, but really, the best moments for me are at the end of the trip when we see the feedback and how much they enjoyed it, and also feedback from parents to say how much their son or daughter has grown upon returning home. Knowing this means that myself and the rest of the staff on the boat made a positive impact on someone's life.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
I think the biggest key to any company succeeding is making sure that everyone gets on well, communicates effectively and really has a good laugh with each other.
I have worked for many places where the environment is quite still and dull. I enjoy working with everyone at GXG - I may go months even years without seeing some because of the travel, but when I end up seeing someone, it’s as of only days have gone by since I saw them, and I think for me that ability to feel relaxed with people and be yourself and be trusted to do what you do is so key in a business.