Looking back at 2020
We started 2020 70ish miles due East of Eleuthera, Bahamas, on the way to the USVI. Eight days later we were freshening things up: refilling water and fuel, and feeling quite thankful to be on solid ground again. The next two months were spent running snorkel charters on our 43ft catamaran, Seas Life, and generally goofing around while things were quiet and cold back home on Folly Beach.
Of course cold weather encourages folks to plan cold weather vacations, so we were scheduling tours from March on in Charleston and we were BOOKED (spring break, bachelorette parties, and the most school groups we’d ever had on the schedule)! COVID was still a legend in China, Europe, and had a small handful of cases in the US when we headed into the open ocean to come home. Imagine our surprise when the phones got service 14 days later off the coast of SC – quarantine had started, don’t gather in large groups, maybe wear a mask, don’t visit grandma, there’s no toilet paper, and of course ALL our work was cancelled for the next month. It was like waking up from a coma and the whole world was different. I don’t recommend it.
We have been full time boat captains for years and don’t have other jobs, so things got interesting trying to fill the time. (Especially since we lived full time on a sailboat and marinas and boat landings tried to close for a while). Folly Beach shut down to the general public for what seemed like an eternity, meaning we couldn’t run tours even if we wanted to. When things opened we had an entirely new business plan: only private tours, mandatory face masks, extremely limited capacity. Our first tour of the year was May 29th. It wasn’t easy and there was a lot of pushback from people in the beginning and a lot of folks chose other tour companies that didn’t require masks. That was ok by us. The extra time gave us as a chance to expand into trip options that hadn’t been possible due to a general lack of time.
All in all 2020 turned out to be a most unusual year with some very special moments. We couldn’t be more grateful for all those who supported us this year, but with constant rescheduling in the beginning while everyone was figuring it out, willingness to follow COVID precautions, and trusting us with new tour options, and helping us grow into a better company for the years to come.
Here are some of the highlights.
- Making and selling puzzles of some of our favorite images. Thanks to those who bought them and helped pay slip rent in April.
- Making virtual tours. Yes this was somewhat embarrassing. Yes we will make more this winter. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-CsXoYdv8n74X6Arhax-fQ
- Small, private boat tours giving us the ability to provide a unique and memorable experience for families
- Expanding into culinary tours (more than just the lowcountry boils and wine and cheese trips!!)
- Intimate beach weddings
- Extended sailing tours complete with lunch or dinner
- Fossil tours (where we actually get to walk with folks on the beach, not just drop them off!)
- More kayaking
- Did I mention food?
- After school program. This was a HUGE one for us. Offering trips for school groups that show firsthand what they learn in class is one of Capt. Weatherly’s most favorite things to do. It was such a bummer to lose the ability to connect with kids in that way. We took a step back, re-evaluated, and launched our first ever 8 week after school program this Fall. It was a BLAST and we are so thankful for the parents who trusted us with their children on everything from paddleboarding to sailing to learning about our barrier islands and shells. The program was so successful that we are able to expand into multiple age groups and days in the spring 🙂
Things we didn’t improve on: Figuring out how on earth to make these pictures sit where we want them to on the blog page.
Here are some more of our favorite pictures from the year. Thanks for being here with us. We can’t wait to share 2021 with you in whatever ways we can.