St John Charter Boat Spotlight : Island Roots Charters
A visitor’s first glimpse of the tiny island of St John, US Virgin Islands is by water. No airport means guests arrive by passenger ferry, water taxi or car barge. Landing by boat certainly adds to the anticipation and adventure! The same is true of seeing and discovering St John’s beaches, snorkeling spots and nearby islands and cays. There’s just something magical about discovering(exploring or experiencing) these places onboard a boat!
As you might expect, St John has no shortage of day charter boats. The number of options can make choosing a daunting task. Most charters offer visitors 1/2 or full day snorkeling tours, beach stops, and even trips into the BVI. So how do you choose the St John boat charter that’s right for you, your family and friends, and the places and activities you’d like to see? By getting to know the people behind the charters!
Today’s St John Charter Boat Spotlight is on Island Roots Charters. Owners Jason and Jill Siska share some of what makes their charters special, unique and popular!
1. Thanks for sitting down with me; and sharing your story with the Site’s readers.
Thanks for having us and highlighting our family business! To tell our story, I have to start with Jason’s childhood. He was born on St. John and spent much of his youth exploring its shorelines and surrounding cays. And with a passion for adventure, the sea and fixing things, it’s no surprise that he immediately wound up back on St. John after graduating from college and a 30 day stint on the TV show, SURVIVOR Micronesia.
The next three years he’d find himself teaching at the Gifft Hill School on St. John. But the call of the wild pulled him out of the classroom and onto the sea. Spending the next two and a half years gaining valuable experience working with Low Key Watersports, Cloud Nine Sailing Adventures and Ocean Runner Powerboat Rentals, he became well versed in the “industry.”
And in the summer of 2012, when the opportunity came to purchase a tiny lil’ boat & seasonal small business named “Island Roots,” he didn’t hesitate at the chance. In the beginning, there were a number of very long years, hard at work on the boat, in the shop and behind the scenes of his small owner/operated charter company. From then till now, the business has grown from one to three beautiful and fully equipped 32’ World Cat Power Catamarans and team to match!
2. Island Roots is a popular day charter choice. Can you share what makes your tours so popular?
It’s a combination of just two things… a well equipped boat that can comfortably get you from place to place and most importantly an experienced captain who knows the surrounding waters, understands the local weather patterns and is genuinely interested in providing their guests with the best day possible.
Our team of captains consists of Jason, his younger cousin, Max Misko, and 15 year resident and family man, Ryan Granger. These guys absolutely love what they do. Spending as much time on the sea as most people do in their “nine-to-five.”
They’ve seen it all, snorkeled it all, dealt with families/groups of all sizes, and navigated every imaginable condition. With their knowledge and experience, they’ll be able to help you plan for the best day possible based on your group dynamic, interests and sea conditions.
3. What are your top tour stops for first time visitors?
When you charter with “Island Roots,” there’s no “one size fits all” tour per se… Each day and individual group experience is always going to be different. Whether it’s a STJ “first timer,” a veteran visitor or even just a “day tripper” coming in by cruise ship, we’ll help customize a trip that’ll offer a unique and authentic Virgin Islands boating experience.
Swim with the turtles, snorkel an offshore reef, explore uninhabited cays, “wine & dine” amongst the numerous island bars and restaurants. There’s no shortage of things to do and places to explore!
We’ve obviously got all the “name brand” spots people love and talk about… Trunk Bay, Watermelon Cay, Lime Out, the Baths, Soggy Dollar, Caves & Indians, the Willy T. But there’s also tons of hidden gems that have yet to be “discovered” by the masses. Our job is getting you to those popular spots at the right time to avoid any crowds and knowing when to hop off the “traveled path” to share and explore the lesser known areas.
The only big thing guests need to think about is the type of trip they want to take… USVI, BVI or Sunset. We offer a 6.25hr Full Day USVI charter, a 8hr Full Day or 9.5hr Extended Day BVI charter and a variable afternoon/evening “Golden Hours” charter that starts at 3:45pm and ends at sunset (6:15pm to 7:15pm depending on the time of year).
4. St John has so many repeat guests, what unique spots do you recommend to visitors that have hit most of St John’s beaches and snorkeling spots?
You know, that’s a question we often get from guests… and what I always like to say is that until you’ve toured the islands by boat, you haven’t really experienced the whole Virgin Islands. Many visitors don’t realize there’s miles of shoreline, countless bays, beaches and reefs that are inaccessible by jeep or hiking trail. Not to mention, the dozens of outlying cays surrounding St. John and St. Thomas. Some of our favorites (when conditions permit) are Congo and Lovango Cays, the rugged South shore stretching from Reef Bay to Booby Rock and the remote Northside bays of Mennebeck, Sibb’s, Newfound and Haulover.
5. How far in advance should people reserve a day charter?
Whenever you decide you want to make a “boat day” part of your stay! We’ve got folks that’ll book months out in advance… others wait till maybe just a few weeks… and some last minute inquiries that we’re happy to accommodate as well (if we still have openings). Best thing though, is to reserve your boat charter not long after you book your airfare, accommodations, and vehicle rental. Currently only $100 to reserve your day!
6. What happens if bad weather is forecast for the day of the charter?
In a place where the sun shines and the skies are clear more than 300 days a year, “bad weather” all day is seldom an issue we face. Occasionally we might see a rainy day or rough seas that could prevent us from going out but that happens only a couple times a year… that’s when we’ll try and move guests to a different day, help set them up with friends of ours in the charter industry or just call things off and plan for better weather next time!
Overall though, it’s best to not even think about “what the weather could be” because it’s just gonna stress you out! Que sera, sera… but if you want to track it on your own, we’d recommend using WindGuru.
7. What’s the best way to contact Island Roots Boat Charters?
The best way to contact us would be through the contact us form on our website. It lets you share a little about yourself, your travel dates and your groups interests. You can also easily reserve the trip online through any of the “Book Now” buttons.
We work really, really hard (in front and behind the scenes) to make sure guests always have a high quality experience: learning new skills, experiencing new places, doing things they thought they might never do. The quality of the trip we offer is so important to us… we’d like to think guests feel the same after they’ve spent their day the Island Roots way!
Inquiries / Questions / FAQs https://www.islandrootscharters.com/contact-us-and-faqs
Web site / Boats / Tours / Rates: https://www.islandrootscharters.com/boats-rates-book
Email + Tel: email@example.com 340-643-5000
Connect on Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/islandrootscharters/