Updated: Mar 3
The story of how a German photographer- turned scuba instructor, and a South Australian barman/avid surfer ended up kayaking in the Town of 1770 for a living, and what a Mexican bus driver has to do with it all.
In January 2002, I, Janina, took off from Germany on what was supposed to be a 3 month trip through Central America. I wanted to go to Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. That trip slightly escalated and I ended up living on a small island in the Caribbean for three and a half years, teaching scuba diving.
In September 2004, Simon went on a surfing trip to Mexico.
One day, he was boarding a bus, asking the driver if this was the bus to Lake Atitlan (a place in Guatemala he was going to visit), the bus driver waving him in "Si, si. Get on bus!"
If it wasn't for the bus driver, Simon and I would have never met, because the bus wasn't going to Lake Atitlan, let alone Guatemala!
Once Simon realised that he was in Honduras and not Guatemala (oops), he quickly changed his plans and headed for the island of Utila, where I was enjoying drinking Caribbean rum (ahem, I mean teaching scuba diving).
We met, fell in love and decided to spend our lives together. Not the end of the story - just the beginning!
Leaving island life for a life down under
After moving to Australia together in August 2005, we travelled, living in Margaret River and Exmouth in WA, before deciding to move to the East Coast.
Travelling across Australia in our 1973 VW Kombi named BUZZ (to infinity and beyond!!!), we were trying to decide exactly where we wanted to go...
It was a bit difficult as I wanted to get a job teaching scuba diving, and so I wanted to go somewhere with access to the Great Barrier Reef.
Simon had been surfing all his life and wasn't willing to move somewhere that didn't have waves...
We were in Mount Isa when I picked up a tourism brochure and read about Agnes Water and the Town of 1770. "Listen to this babe," -I read out to Simon while he was driving, "this sounds like our place!.... '...the two towns sit on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and have the northern most surf beach...' Sounds like it's made for us!!!"
Before we knew it, we both have jobs and a rental house, - and are settling into the slow life in "Aggie". We bought a block of land only a few months later and got married on one of our favourite beaches in Agnes Water.
Fast forward five years and a few jobs later, when Simon was working as a kayak guide for the previous owner of 1770 Liquid Adventures, the opportunity arose to purchase the business. We didn't hesitate for long. It was a business made for us. With our love for the ocean, our desire to have an outdoors lifestyle and a skill combination that was perfect for this kind of venture, we knew this was our kind of show.
1770 Liquid Adventures
Now it's 2019 and we are still here, we are still loving our life and we have no plans to stop paddling!
Since taking over the business in 2011, we have made many changes over the years.
From changing the logo, to building several websites, adding an online bookings option, starting a Facebook page and Instagram account, developing new tours (our newest one is the NATURE tour), buying new equipment, continually improving our online presence and marketing... it never really ends.
Do we still love it? YES! There are challenges, of course. Not being able to join many community events or gathering with friends because they are always on a weekend. Not being able to take much time off together. Being reliant on the weather and the seasonal ups and downs of tourism.
But then there's the outdoors lifestyle we love so much, the sunsets, the resident dolphins, meeting great people from all over the world and the warm fuzzy feeling we get when someone leaves a great review and we know they had a great time kayaking with us.
"These guys are top of their game! They were brilliant with the safety pre-kayak briefing and their knowledge of the history and ecology of the area was impressive. The kayak tour itself was very enjoyable, we had a lovely time and saw so many animals and so much beauty, it was a high point of our trip to Australia. Watching the sun go down with refreshments and the home made cake was magic. Thank you for such lovely memories Simon & Janina. 5* plus!" Review by Victoria Harlen
And none of what you just read would have happened without the Mexican bus driver! Had Simon boarded the "right" bus, we would have never met…
We have a tequila shot on him once a year.
Why don't you come and join us on one of our kayak adventures?! We'd love to share our passion and stories with you and can't wait to hear yours!