WITH AXOPAR & OCEAN FRONTIERS
"Explore life above and below the water, snorkel, free-dive or simply chill out..."
Ernesto von der Esch is co-owner and operator of Ocean Frontiers, a charter company specializing in tailor-made trips operating out of The Turks and Caicos Islands. He comes qualified – very qualified. As a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, and qualified MCA/RYA Oceanmaster (200T), he formerly captained several private yachts in the Mediterranean before returning to his beloved Caribbean to set up the business in 2018.
Located in the North Atlantic as part of the Bahamas island chain, and slightly north of the West Indies, these two groups of beautiful tropical islands are known primarily for tourism and as an offshore financial centre.
Ocean Frontiers saw this proximity as an opportunity to offer half-day and full-day charters to explore life above and below the water, snorkel, free-dive or just simply chill out for that escape from a heated and stressful city lifestyle.
"Everything you could wish for in one boat." So says Ernesto about his Axopar. We talked to Ernesto about why he selected an Axopar 37 Sun-Top, named MV Bonita, to fulfill the demanding remit for his new company:
“We bought an Axopar 37 Sun-Top because this particular design met all our requirements; offshore B classification with plenty of space, shade from the sun and a smooth ride."
“There are three well defined areas for sunbathing, including the bow, relaxing amidships or socializing in the back by the swim platform with easy access to the water for snorkeling and swimming."
“We had been looking at many different brands and types of boat on the internet and also within specialist magazines. I like Scandinavian boats and European contemporary design, but few resonated with American taste, as the vast majority of our customers are from the USA."
“Inboards and pod drives were a big no because they are expensive to maintain in our remote situation. Ease of maintenance, a lack of diesel fumes and shallow draft (given the shallow sand banks and precious coral reefs), were vital factors for us, as was the boat itself in complementing the image of our new company. "
“We test drove the Axopar because we had heard about its guaranteed smooth and safe ride in different sea conditions. The Easterly Trade winds across the Caicos Bank, which create choppy waters, made the Axopar the strongest contender because of the boat’s handling characteristics, versatility and dry ride."
So would Ernesto consider another Axopar to join the 37ST?
“Yes! We would definitely buy another one, once the business has grown enough. The boat is perfect for what we offer and copes well with local sea conditions. The ample storage in the Lazarette that goes all the way to the front seats is invaluable, especially when we purchase more ‘toys’ for our customers’ pleasure.”
“We can visit the most popular spots around Providenciales, or choose to explore the less well known corners of the archipelago like West Caicos, French Cay and West Sand Spit, or all the way to South Caicos or Ambergis Cay”.
Ocean Frontiers runs M/V Bonita on twin Mercury 300hp Verado engines for their performance, low-noise and reliability. Flat calm days are a rarity there because of the trade winds, but 10 guests and crew are happy onboard in winds of 10-20 knots (up to Force 5 on the Beaufort scale) and in waves of up to 1.5 metres.