Operating in the Caribbean
As a child, Ish anxiously awaited the arrival of summer when he would head to his grandparents’ cottage in Ontario. The waters of Lake Huron became the playground where Ish learned to sail his grandparents’ 16’ Wayfarer. On any given sunny summer day, he could be found out on the lake struggling to untangle himself from a rat’s nest of lines or being caught by a sneaky gust that caused him to capsize. Those first few years with the Wayfarer served as a foundation for a great passion for sailing. After graduating from high school, Ish attended Prescott College in Arizona where he fed an insatiable appetite for the outdoors. College orientation, a 3-week backpacking trip through a canyon in Arizona, opened a whole new world of outdoor pursuits and possibilities. Over the next 4 years, he filled his spare time with surfing, backcountry skiing, white water rafting, rock climbing, stargazing, campfire-ing, and howling at the moon! A desire to sail in salt water persisted, even in the desert. Ish satisfied his salt water cravings with a job living and working aboard sailboats in the British Virgin Islands. Over 6 summers with Sail Caribbean, a summer camp for teens, Ish served as captain, fleet captain, and program director. He was able to also fulfill his aspiration to work on a commercial salmon fishing boat in Alaska before finally realizing his lifelong dream of leading unforgettable charters for guests in the Virgin Islands. His time in the VI has given him outstanding knowledge of the local culture and natural treasures to be enjoyed here. He has a deep love for these beautiful islands and the surrounding waters and is excited to share this passion with each and every guest who comes aboard.
Born and raised in the countryside of French Lake, NB Canada, Danica grew up playing outdoors, camping, and dancing. From the age of 13-19 Danica was a competitive dancer, and spent her teen years traveling the country competing! Danica then attended Renaissance College and graduated with a Bachelors of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Leadership. While obtaining this degree, Danica was able to complete two internships, one took her across the world to the Himalayan Children Care Home and Environmental Conservation in Pokhara, Nepal. This internship not only opened up Danica’s worldview and passion for lifelong learning, but also for the environment and cultural exploration. While living amongst 86 buddhist children, Danica had to not only change the way she lived , but she had to learn how to cook vegan meals for nearly 100 people three times a day! This was her first experience really learning to cook! After returning home, Danica then went to the University of New Brunswick for her Bachelor of Education, specializing in Social Humanities, English, and the Arts for secondary students. Upon graduating with her B.Ed. Danica received her first full time teaching job, in Saint Lucia, teaching at the International School Saint Lucia. This is where Danica fell in love with the Caribbean and all things island life. While living in Saint Lucia, Danica spent all of her free time outdoors; snorkeling, diving, hiking, organizing beach clean ups, learning how to sail, and of course, exploring the local culture trying all kinds of local foods and produce! It was in 2021 when Danica knew it was time for a new adventure. Danica and her partner bought a hurricane damaged Bavaria 33 cruiser from the BVI and spent the next year living off the grid aboard the vessel in the USVI while fixing her up! This proved to be one of the biggest learning and growth experiences of her life! While gaining a variety of new skills; such as being trained and working as a first mate, living off the grid, sailing a live-aboard vessel and assisting with various hands on boat repair jobs, Danica also got a part time job working at the Saint Thomas Yacht Club. Danica worked as a host and waitress for the STYC restaurant; The Galley, which scratched her love-of-food-itch, taught her about fine dining, and again improved her knowledge of cuisine and cooking. After a year of living on a sailboat, tons of hard work, and infinite learning, Danica is now ready to take her passion for travel, adventure, and culture and use it to help lead unforgettable charters for guests in the Virgin Islands. Her time living aboard/fixing Scallywag and working at The Galley in the VI has given her knowledge of the local culture, island food favorites, and all the fun and beauty these stunning islands have to offer! Danica prides herself in being a lifelong learner, and loves to take on new adventures and learning experiences while making those around her feel happy, safe, and excited about life!
Thanksgiving BVI 2022 Charter
Our group was affectionately known as the Turkey Week Tandem 2022 (it included friends/family on the Scuba Doo and we toured around the BVIs as a tandem team). On Southern Comfort, Ish and Danica got stuck with us, the Jensen-Blackwoods and Violas. 4 adults and 4 kids (or 8 kids, depending on your definition of “adults”). And let me just say, IT WAS A BLAST.
Ish and Danica are, quite simply, both amazing. Ish is a first class captain - smart, skilled, patient and funny. We loved him. Danica (Dani) is an incredibly skilled chef, and she is also kind, sweet, thoughtful and accommodating. She is fantastic and the kids adored her. We lucked out!
Ish left no stone unturned and navigated us to the best spots to hit (whether it’s to snorkel, dive, dance or shop). We hit Willy T’s (yes, we all jumped and Ish filmed it from below!), The Baths, Salt Island, Saba Rock, Bitter End Yacht Club, Soggy Dollar, Sandy Cay, secret coves and special places - the list goes on. He clearly knows the BVIs very well and that made a big, noticeable difference, especially when/if you want to modify itineraries mid-trip! He also patiently and carefully orchestrated first-time dives for the adults and kids. So special.
And Dani! She kept us VERY well fed with amazing meals and was so accommodating to our picky group (and especially sweet to the youngest of our group - a 10 year old chatterbox that woke up early with her daily). A couple of us are gluten free, some don’t eat any fish, and she didn’t disappoint. Breakfasts and desserts (key lime pie!) are a particular highlight (her plating skills are on point), along with delicious salads and yummy dinners. But the showstopping culinary feat was the traditional, full course, delicious THANKSGIVING meal she pulled off. Simply perfect.
So I guess you can say it was a good trip. If you’re a guest and reading this, congratulations. You won!
And to Ish and Dani - thank you so so so much. We will be back.
Jensen-Blackwoods and Violas
July 2022 USVI Charter
Thanks Julia and Ish for taking such great care of us. We loved our time on the Southern Comfort - the food, the water, the peacefulness!
Kerri, Steve, Julia, Lauren, and Gharrett
June 2022 USVI Charter
Julia and Ish,
Planning this special family vacation for us was months in the making and our expectations were far exceeded in every way possible! There was so much attention to every detail during our 7 day voyage from start to finish while making us all feel relaxed and at ease. Every meal that Julia prepared was a culinary masterpiece, on par with any 5 star restaurant and Ish’s knowledge of the boat and water made our busy itinerary seem effortless! We truly enjoyed our hikes, snorkeling, scuba diving (including introducing Brooke and Kristen to diving), fishing, paddle boarding, swimming, lunch at Limeout, and Ish & Julia sitting in on our family “game night”! We truly enjoyed getting to know you both. You are such special and remarkable people.
We thank and appreciate you marking our family vacation unforgettable!
Joe, Debbie, Brooke, Julia, Kristen, and Molly
Julia and Ish,
It is so crazy that a week ago you were strangers and now I am so lucky to call you both our friends! This week has truly been a blast for us and memories we will cherish for years to come. Julia, you did more thank just cook - you made every meal and experience. Both of your attentions to detail as well as your positive, relaxed attitudes made this trip unforgettable. Ish, you took 2 terrified 21/22 year olds and turned us into pro divers! This was a week full of laughs, turtles, squid, caves, tarpon, sailing, and sea butterflies. But the thing that made this boat special wasn’t the views or the activities - it was the 2 of you. You were warm, welcoming, and hilarious as soon as we stepped on the boat, and it was clear immediately that this wasn’t a trip for 6 of us - it was all 8 of us getting to have the best time together! Thank you both for letting me drive the dinghy/ask a million questions/eat my own chicken meals. Your hospitality is like no other, you make a wonderful team and you made SoCo feel like home!
We’ll miss you both
June 2022 USVI Charter
Our 23rd annual “dirty thirty” trip was the best one yet! We want to apologize for all the inappropriate conversations you walked into! :) Snorkel trips were amazing! We loved meeting Tommy and Tony the sea turtles, Darcy and Dudley the dolphins, and Russ the seagull! The crystal mimosas and daily wine flights were a nice touch, too! The food was ok (JUST KIDDING). The meals were amazing!!! Julia, your cinematography skills were above average - thanks for taking so many pictures! Next time, please provide dry ice or smoke machine for the space capsule (psshhhhhhh…)!
In closing, we would like to apologize to all future guests that will never live up to the standard of being “THE BEST GUESTS EVER!!!”
We will be back! :)
Respectfully, the Dirty Thirty (Michelle, Chester, Maija, Jenn, Kirsten, Tracey, Amy, Kate)
May 2022 USVI Charter
What an amazing trip. Wonderful food, wonderful crew! Love, love, love it!
- Wayne & Cindy
Trip of a lifetime! Wonderful crew and good times had by all!
- Addison, Emily & Jackson
Simply the best! Thank you guys so very much for such an amazing time. You both are the best crew ever and we certainly wouldn't have enjoyed ourselves without you!
- Kristen, Dusty & Ryland"
May 2022 USVI Charter
Dear Ish & Julia,
We came aboard Southern Comfort day 1 armed with tons of background research and very high expectations. We knew a lot about our upcoming adventure, but what we didn't know is that not only would our expectations be met but they would be blown away!!! The hospitality and boat knowledge that Julia and Ish displayed were beyond impressive. From the first delicious dinner to the last scrumptious breakfast, Julia's cooking was well planned, gorgeously plated, plentiful and incredibly tasty. We were only bummed that we ate one lunch off the boat, because it could not compare to Julia's! The water activities were also well planned and phenomenal. Ish made everything easy and accessible ... the snorkeling, dives, kayak and paddleboards were a blast! And we even got to water ski!
But what stood out most of all was Julia and Ish's passion for what they do. Everything done with a smile and a kind word, always making us feel confident and pampered. And so many little details that seem easy but we know took a lot of effort. We appreciated every single one!
We enjoyed literally every single moment, and we walk away with 2 new friends, many amazing photos and memories we will carry with us forever!
With much gratitude,
Anne and Jeff
Chris and Jason
Dawn and Pete
Laura and Chris
April 2022 USVI Charter
April 2022 USVI Charter
Best trip ever!!! Boat was fabulous. Crew was wonderful. Food was outstanding. We look forward to coming back soon. We would really like to point out that Julia and Ish were so kind and helpful, catering to all our requests. Could not imagine going on another boat trip without checking what boat they are crewing so we can be onboard. Once again, thank you for everything!
March 2022 USVI Charter
After my birthday sailing trip with three other couples was canceled one week into COVID, rescheduled three times, re-directed from BVI to USVI, and had a crew change, I was not sure what our sailing trip would be like. Those concerns quickly disappeared upon arrival to Southern Comfort. We were warmly greeted with Julia’s smile and Ish’s calm demeanor which instantly relaxed us all. The pair worked tirelessly the entire trip - incredible, delicious gourmet meals every day (tailored to address food allergies), selective, beautiful coves to swim, kayak, paddle board, dive, anchor, sail in the turquoise waters were just what we asked and hoped for … every, I mean, every attention to detail was considered. I have never seen two people work as hard as Julia and Ish and yet did so with ease and smiles. They truly care about ensuring you have a wonderful trip and are passionate about what they do. I could not have asked for a better birthday or a vacation. Anyone who is able to have Julia and Ish as their crew would be lucky to have them. The trip was worth waiting for and one I will always remember in a large part to Julia and Ish’s unbelievable hospitality. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Julia and Ish!! We all miss you already
Christmas 2021 USVI Charter
The Maner Family of five enjoyed 7 wonderful days aboard Southern Comfort with Julia and Ish as our crew. From the start Julia and Ish were friendly and professional. We found the boat comfortable and clean. We enjoyed AMAZING healthy meals made by Julia. She was extra careful with our daughter’s tree nut allergy. Her attention to detail was very much appreciated. Ish is a great captain and bartender and was always offering a different cocktail to compliment Julia’s appetizers. Ish also saved the day by going to a pharmacy for medication for one daughter while we were at dinner in Cruz Bay. So kind of him. Overall, the family rates this trip a 10 and we would do it again in a heartbeat. We loved the whole experience! Julia and Ish are the best! ❤️
December 2021 USVI Charter
The whole family considered this to be a once in a lifetime kind of vacation and I have to say that it was one of the fastest seven day vacations that I have ever experienced. Julia and Ish and the Southern Comfort catamaran did not disappoint. They made us feel comfortable from our first planning conversation to our first step onto the Southern Comfort and each and every day until it was time to sadly say goodbye. The food - holy moly can Julia cook! We ate three delicious (and kind of healthy!) meals a day and each and everyone of them was outstanding. What a surprise it was to get that kind of cooking out and about the USVIs! The sailing - Ish is a terrific captain and made us feel safe and sound on both the SoCo and it’s dingie! Ish was also very patient with our questions and responded very deliberately yet in ways that were easy to understand. We really felt that Julia and Ish were a great combination and complimented one another very well. We would give them 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend them to future vacationers.
November 2021 USVI Charter
We hope our delay in sending this note to you does not diminish our gratitude or the joy we experienced for the seven days we sailed the Caribbean on Soterion with Ish and Julia. Every moment was magical as we enjoyed the special quality of your beautiful catamaran and the completely enjoyable company of your Captain, Ish, and First Mate and Chef, Julia. We couldn’t have been more comfortable with such luxurious space and copious amenities. The perfect weather with strong winds, choppy waters, and abundant sunshine was an added benefit. And yet, it is Ish and Julia that made our experience most fun and memorable. In less than an hour, we knew that we were in experienced, capable hands and that getting to know our two hosts would be an absolute delight. As chef, Julia was 100% successful in meeting the challenge of our daughter, Julie’s, unusual dietary restrictions. She presented one beautiful and delicious meal after another that the three of us thoroughly enjoyed. The meals seemed effortless despite the hours she spent in the galley, often with Ish at her side as sous chef or as clean-up assistant afterwards. The way they worked together as the sailing crew was even more impressive. They seemed to read each other’s minds, and their nimbleness running from one part of the boat to the other was enviable. Their partnership as sailors and hosts was a joy to watch, and we’re grateful to have been the beneficiaries of their skill, attentiveness to us, and utterly charming personalities. They also met the challenge of my fall and associated back pain with great concern and care, which made me feel safe and comfortable. We feel as if no words can do justice to their contribution to our absolutely perfect sailing experience, but we hope in some way this conveys our admiration of them and our gratitude for their efforts to care for us in every way possible. They each are very special individuals, and we are privileged to have had the opportunity to get to know them and spend time with them on your extraordinary sailing vessel. They definitely do the magnificent Soterion proud.
Joan and Harry