Captain, 147-foot McMullen and Wing motoryacht Big Fish
Date interviewed: April 2012
You were the build captain aboard Big Fish, which launched in March 2010, and you’ve been at the helm ever since. The yacht has literally been all over the world, including Antarctica. What is your favorite charter destination of them all?
I like French Polynesia. The Society Islands are nice, with Tahiti and Bora Bora and others in between, but the Tuamotus archipelago is my favorite. It’s more remote with incredible fishing and scuba diving. We are a yacht built for that kind of fun, and we are really in our element in the Tuamotus.
Do you recommend that charter clients do both island groups at the same time?
If you have two weeks for the itinerary, then yes, the Tuamotus and the Societies are a great pair. We would start in the Tuamotus first and then do the Society Islands last.
Sometimes people look at a chart and want to add the Marquesas or the Austral Islands during a third week on charter, but to be honest they’re quite far away. The Marquesas are a good 700 miles from the Society Islands. To me, with two or three weeks, there is plenty to do in a combined itinerary of the Tuamotus and the Society Islands.
Big Fish has chartered in Tahiti quite a bit, and you’ve been visiting French Polynesia for more than a decade on other boats, including one owned by software guru Larry Ellison. How does your prior experience with ultimate luxury clients help with the charter experience that Big Fish offers today in French Polynesia?
We have established quite a network of local providers on all the islands. We can arrange not just the standard scuba and snorkeling, but also things like ATV tours, private days at Tahitian pearl farms, beach barbecues with talented fire dancers, paddling of traditional canoes with local master instructors—just all kinds of incredible things.
If the charter client wants to be active, he will find no shortage of excitement and adventure with us. We are used to going above and beyond, even in the middle of nowhere.
I understand you will be finishing the summer 2012 season in French Polynesia. Is there still charter availability?
We have some weeks open in late May, June, and August, yes. After that the boat goes to New Zealand, so we’re hoping to get one or two more charters on the books before we leave this beautiful destination.
The owner’s next yacht, Star Fish, is under construction now and scheduled to launch in early 2013. She is also being built with charter in mind, enhancing many of the features first built into Big Fish. Will you stay with Big Fish or move to the new boat?
The idea is to keep one and sell one, so whichever one stays with the owner, that’s the one I’ll be on. And I’m hoping to get back to French Polynesia with whichever boat we still have. Even after all these years, it’s still my favorite place to charter in the entire world.