Work on St John

Here’s something that I have grown to absolutely love about life on St John- the happiness I see in my husband’s face when he comes home from work.

Everyone wants to know our “story”… What we did before we moved here, how we had the guts to move to an island, and what we do for work on St John.

For me, there is no short answer. I am a free lance writer, a choreographer who teaches cardio hip hop, I’m a distributor for the Juice Plus+ Company, and I have a travel planning service. All of this keeps me busy, and I am blessed beyond words to have this incredible opportunity to focus on things that I am truly passionate about.

Answering the question, “What does Shaun do?” is a little simpler. He’s a crew member on charter boats that take people on fun excursions throughout the Virgin Islands. Pretty cool, right? He gets to hang out with happy vacationers all day long, share in their experiences of hiking beautiful beaches on Virgin Gorda and snorkeling in turquoise waters. He takes people out on sunset sails and serves them tropical drinks.

Cruz Bay Watersports USVI

Cruz Bay Watersports USVI

Man With a Plan

I’m so proud of Shaun for deciding in advance what he wanted to do for work on St John. Before we even moved here, he completed STCW classes on St. Thomas, the courses necessary to get his crew member credentials. It was a financial investment and a time commitment, but he was focused on the end goal.

Before we came to St John, Shaun worked as an accountant. He spent his days inside an office, sitting in a cubical, staring at a computer screen. Excel was his best friend or his worst enemy, I guess it just depends on how you look at it.

Granted, he’s up at the crack of dawn and gets home much later now, but Shaun leaves the house each morning in his bathing suit and flip-flops. He has a big, festive, “island” hat to shade his face, and his backpack is full of sunscreen, Chapstick, and snorkel gear. He often works 12 and 13 hour days and comes home physically exhausted, yet he is more emotionally fulfilled by his day at work.

Even though working on a boat isn’t rocket science, it is a pretty important job to be responsible for peoples’ safety and happiness, even if just for a day. I started thinking about it… how many people have the opportunity to introduce others to paradise? How many people can say they are truly fulfilled each and every day in their chosen profession?

Cruz Bay Watersports USVI

Cruz Bay Watersports USVI

If you’re one of the lucky ones with that kind of job, you should keep doing it! That’s amazing! If you’re not, my hope is that one day you will be able to find something that brings you and those around you happiness and joy.

I recently got to tag along on one of Shaun’s work trips. It was a pretty stress free day for me, and I loved seeing him in action! Here’s a quick video I made…


Jost van Dyke BVI

Ashley Cates, St. John USVI Blogger

  • Ruthanna Hart
    July 13, 2015

    Hello there!

    My boyfriend, Thomas, and I are in the planning stages of relocating to the islands. I have to say, thank you so much for documenting your experience! Your blog is an inspiration to me every time I think… Ugh this move is going to be impossible. I have to say, the biggest thing thing holding us back from the big move is the thought that we will not find work. We are 23, recent grads, have no ties to a long term lease or mortgage, a little money in our savings account and we are so ready for our next adventure! We are planning to move early September. I hope that we can grab a drink when we are in town!


  • Meredith
    May 16, 2015

    I worked for Cruz bay water sports when I lived on STJ. It seems all great but they are hands down is the worst company I have ever worked for in my life and the higher up people are mean a treat everyone like you never worked on a boat in your life . Long hours no pay and no respect. Don’t work there.

    • Ashley
      May 17, 2015

      I hate to hear that you had such a negative experience! When did you work for CBW? Are you still on STJ? If so, I hope to meet you in person,

  • Lindsay
    May 14, 2015

    What an amazing job! My dream has always been to move me, my Husband & Son down to the Islands! I love reading your blog & seeing your pics on Instagram. Hopefully, one day we will make it down there.

    • Ashley
      May 14, 2015

      Hi Lindsay! Thanks for reading! I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. I love sharing our experiences here on St. John. Let me know if you make plans to come our way!

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