Captain Steve Kammerzelt has been with Big Beard’s Adventure Tours since 2002. He met his wife, Local Photographer Lindsay Kammerzelt, on the boat Renegade in March 2004 when she was visiting friends on vacation. After he persuaded her to move to St. Croix, Steve later proposed to Lindsay on Buck Island and they were married in 2007. Their two daughters were born on St. Croix and have been going to Buck Island on Big Beard’s boats since before they were born.
Steve: I was on a camping trip with friends in Baja, Mexico in early 2002. While sitting around the campfire talking, a good friend convinced me to move to St. Croix. He said it would be perfect for me, and he was right. I’ve always loved sailing, and missed being on the water. Not long after I moved here, I got a job working on the boats with Big Beard’s Adventure Tours, and I’ve been with the company ever since. I later met my wife on the boat Renegade. We’ve since bought a home and are raising two children here. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Lindsay: My first visit to St. Croix was on vacation with a group of friends in early 2004. We went on the full-day snorkeling tour to Buck Island with Big Beard’s Adventure Tours, and Steve was working on the boat. I’d never met anyone like him before, and I knew it was meant to be. I made the move to St. Croix to be with him in 2005, we got married here in 2007, and our two children were born on St. Croix shortly after. We absolutely love this special island community, and we can’t imagine our lives any other way.
Lindsay: When I first moved to St. Croix, I worked as a crew member and first mate on Big Beard’s boats for 3 1/2 years. Working on the boats was such an incredible and memorable experience! Getting to know the passengers, teaching them how to snorkel, and sharing the underwater park with them was so rewarding – not to mention the Big Beard’s crew is like family. Plus Steve and I got to spend our days together out on the water! I never imagined myself in such a job and it was truly an amazing way to spend my first years here on-island. I had always done photography (weddings, portraits, etc.) but never thought I would work on boats! When I left the boat job to have kids, I started my local photography business. I am so thankful for the opportunity to pursue my career here on St. Croix – but I’ll never forget my days working on the Big Beard’s boats!
Steve: My first week on St. Croix, I was snorkeling out at Cane Bay and got to swim with two dolphins, a mother and her calf, for about 20 minutes. Knowing very little about the island, I remember thinking how wonderful it was that you could go to the beach and swim with dolphins whenever you wanted. Only later did I realize how special that experience was. Watching the baby dolphin curiously approach me while its mother circled at a more reasonable distance is, to this day, one of my favorite experiences in the water. While I love this island and the community that I’ve come to be part of, it’s the water as much as anything that keeps me here. After 15 years of taking trips to Buck Island, I still have days that take my breath away.
3. In what ways do you enjoy giving back to your island community and which non-profits do you most like to support?
We enjoy sharing the beauty and wonder of Buck Island Reef National Monument with visitors and locals alike. One of the more rewarding parts of the job is getting someone in the water and snorkeling for the first time. We believe that the more people see and understand the environment around them, the more inclined they are to help take care of it. The St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA) has been doing great work for many years for the environment and community on St. Croix, and we are happy to sponsor a “Learn to Snorkel” clinic they host. We frequently get requests to donate to various organizations and causes on-island, and we enjoy helping out as many as we can.
4. What is the best piece of advice you can give someone new to St. Croix about making the leap to island life?
5. Finish this sentence, “Caribbean Life is _______________.”
Steve & Lindsay Kammerzelt are the owners of Big Beard’s Adventure Tours. Lindsay also owns a professional photography business, Lindsay Kammerzelt Photography. In their spare time, they love enjoying the beauty of St. Croix with family and friends. Lindsay is a triathlete and recently completed the Ironman sprint. The Kammerzelt’s are involved with the Christiansted Retail & Restaurant Association, St. Croix Chamber of Commerce and Hotel & Tourism Association. Steve has lived on St. Croix for 15 years and originally hails from Wisconsin. Lindsay has been on-island for 12 years and grew-up in Maryland. She graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Media Arts, Design and Photography.