Erin was born and raised in Amherst, New Hampshire. Amherst is a small town of 11,000 people... that were excited to get their very own Walmart in 2002! It's also home to the Ponemah Wildlife Sanctuary and the Hodgeman State Forest where Erin first found her passion for Nature and exploration. She came to escape the cold winter of 2013, and hasn't left Citrus County yet! Her grandmother, who is also
Sheena's birthday is July 23, that makes her a Leo. Like most Leos we know she is confident, socially gifted, courageous, kind and of course, blessed with a beautiful head of hair. Currently Sheena has been working this head of hair into dreadlocks...
JJ, more formally known as Jeremiah Johnson, has been a kayak guide, a fly board instructor, a life guard and a professional photographer. He's been there for many of our weddings, celebrations and special occasions to record them via video, drone or still as 'Crystal River Photography'.
When Rhonda is not Captaining Ms. Manatee, you can find her digging into a great book of inspiration, traveling, scuba diving....and she LOVES music! She's also a big sports fan so you might catch her watching college football on Saturday to keep up with her Wisconsin Badgers or watching the Packers on Sunday. Shout out to all the other Cheeseheads out there!
Other than Mother Nature, manatees and growing food, Emerson's passion lies in music. Chelsea and Emerson have a traveling musical duo and are called 'Well Worn Soles'; they are FANTASTIC and the crew loves to go watch them play at Burke's and Crackers. He an a-typical Tauras; caring, kind and generous with the best of intentions. He's like most of us, saying that the least favorite part of his job is the early alarm clock ringer. He's never had a job where he had to rise before the sun every day!
Mike was born in Puerto Rico (hence his nickname Rico Sauve! shhhh) but grew up in the Boston area. Like most folks from Boston he is down to earth and a super Red Sox and Patriots fan. Mike comes from a huge Italian/Portuguese family and is married to a lovely lady who bakes us all cupcakes (shout out to Jessica!) Family is very important to Mike, and he's become a very important member of our River Ventures family! We are grateful to have him!
Her motto for a happy life? "Never frown – it causes wrinkles'! And you will never see a frown on this lovely lady's face. Every day here at River Ventures she takes our frowns and turns them upside down...there are smiles where ever this special lady goes!!
She gets to indulge in some of her favorite hobbies daily, swimming, snorkeling and getting up close with wildlife; but on days she's not here working you may find her playing tennis or singing to local elderly and special needs residents
Crystal has lived in this area most of her life, moving here from Pennsylvania in the fourth grade. She doesn't remember much about her young life there, but she does know that she loves her Florida winters without the snow!
She was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and actually went to high school with musical purple royalty, Prince! Laura loves powerboat racing, but would spend any free day cruising around on her Harley. She's a feisty redhead that loves to feel the wind in her hair. Laura's motto is one we all subscribe to here… Crazy hair, don't care!
Marvelous Matt loves to tinker….so when he is not swimming with manatees you may find him making inventions, modifying different objects to make them useful or riding the team around on his go-kart. Man is it fast!! He also loves bugs, spiders and lizards…..you won't believe the species that he collects! He has been a fisherman, a wet suit washer and has worked his way up around here to earn the respect of all his peers.
Captain Wade is a happy-go-lucky, fun loving spirit and his motto is... Be happy, or go away. There is so much beauty and blessings all around if you just open your eyes! He's not sure he ever wants to retire, but he does look forward to growing old with his loving family. Until then, we are PROUD and humbled to consider him an essential member of our River Ventures family!
John is a native Floridian and was born in St. Pete, he's lived in the area for 50 years so he knows his stuff! He is a huge sports fan; basketball, football, hockey. But his real passion is for the Florida Gators
Phil is from Greenley, Colorodo and left when he was 17 to join the Army. He's been doing manatee tours for 5 years now and found his way to Crystal River because of his love for the Nature Coast! He came to town to be a scuba instructor, but quickly fell in love with the manatees! Prior to this, he was a professional Pirate on a cruise ship! Say arrrrgghh when you meet Captain Phil... and he'll know exactly what you mean!
River Ventures Manatee tour was one the best experiences I have ever had! The boat captain was Troy and my in-water guide while snorkeling was Sheena. What wonderful, nice, and positive people these two were!
Thank you, John - for all your years of loyalty, service and providing an inspiration to thousands of animal lovers!! If Johnny B sounds like the Captain for you, it is always possible to request him when making your dreams of swimming with manatees come true!