This whole making our dream a reality thing has been a work in progress since we met in Vieques four years ago. Both of our lives have shifted and merged into a joint venture…to make a living…using a luxury catamaran…in the Caribbean…more specifically where Tomas is from, the tiny magical island of Vieques, PR.
Over the past four years we have added two additions to our family (our son Milan and daughter Taleia- currently 22 and 7 months old ), established an LLC in PR (Nautical Mermaid Charters LLC), obtained a USCG 50 ton Master Captains license, four ASA certifications, written a business plan, sold and saved, been working on building a house in Vieques, and have just officially been approved for financing via an SBA guaranteed loan for the start-up of our business.
Both Tomas and I have grown up on boats, Tomas on more power boats and myself on more monohull sail boats. We have both owned a few boats and we both love to be out on the water. Neither of us have owned or sailed a large catamaran until May of 2015. We took our American Sailing Association courses living aboard a 37′ Island Spirit catamaran for 7 days sailing from Fort Lauderdale down to the upper keys and back. We used the course to learn as much as we could about catamarans, navigation and sailing, but also as a trial run to see if we were both really sure we wanted to go through with our plans to start a business on a catamaran. And both finished the week aboard with a resounding YES…ABSOLUTELY!
We also left that trip, unbeknownst to us, with another baby on board the mother ship! We were pregnant! We had left our son Milan (at the time only 6 months old) with my parents for the week away. We were planning to have more children….just not planning on it being quite so soon. We have since been blessed with a beautiful addition to our family, our daughter Taleia. And we have continued on the path of starting up a nautical tourism business in Puerto Rico.
I have always adored Puerto Rico. In addition to the ease of travel to the island, due to being a US territory, and the convenience of the use of the same currency (the US dollar), the island still manages to maintain its own unique flavor and exoticness. The warmth of the people, the music, the family oriented and social culture, the beautiful beaches, and the celebratory nature of EVERYTHING!!! Boricuas don’t need to be given a big excuse to celebrate. I think for these reasons the island has been rated one of the top 3 happiest places to live in the world per several Gallup studies over the years.
I have always said I would love to live in PR just didn’t know what I would do to make a living there. So fast forward to meeting Tomas in paradise, our common love of boats, being on the water, nature, hosting our friends and family, and the idea of a nautical tourism business was born.
I have a background in environmental science including having been with the EPA at its headquarters in DC working in the Department of Water. My core interest around the environment has always been in conservation and protection.
Tomas has a background in electricity, plumbing and as a foreman in a variety of construction settings. In addition to being able to fix almost anything, he is very knowledgeable of the waters surrounding Vieques. The combination of our passions, interests and skills pointed us towards our perfect joint dream.
The tourism industry in Puerto Rico is definitely the strongest arena historically and the potential for us to be able to make a living doing something we both love, in a place we love, that is eco-friendly and fun, came to life.
Nauti Mermaid Charters – Catamaran Sailing Cruises will offer day sailing cruises aboard a luxury catamaran around Vieques, Puerto Rico. We plan to offer sailing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and clear bottom kayaks along with food and drink on our eco-cruises.
Where we are in the process is currently living in a home in Vero Beach, Florida. We have been approved for financing by the bank and are waiting for the details and approval by the SBA for the portion of the loan to be guaranteed by them. After that goes through, we will schedule a closing with the bank. Once we close with the bank, we will officially be in a position to make an offer on a vessel! And then the fun begins! We are so excited and anxiously awaiting the SBA guarantee on our business loan.