Your host will be Patrick Higgins. He’s a NAI Certified Interpretive Guide, USCG licensed Captain and University of Florida accredited Master Naturalist with a combined degree in Biology & Environmental Science and over 27,000 miles sea experience, including 4 years sailing around the world with his then young family as crew aboard Skyeboat. He is also a regular interpretive speaker and guide at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Born into an Anglo-American Family, Patrick has dual US/British citizenship. He grew up sailing Long Island Sound and the New England coast and on his father’s impractical but beautiful Chesapeake bugeye ketch. It was a traditional wooden boat with a coal stove, wooden mast hoops and blocks, manila rope, cotton sails, a barn door of a rudder and a massive clipper bow that was originally built for oyster dredging and turned heads wherever she went.
Every summer was spent living aboard with his brother, two sisters and mother. His father would join them at weekends and move them to a new port before returning to the city. Patrick’s berth was a hammock slung over the centreboard trunk. The days were passed exploring creeks and catching crabs and at night reading by the hiss of a Coleman lantern. This engendered in him a sense of adventure, a fascination with the natural world and a love of the sea; passions that he has never lost.
As a boy Patrick collected ‘bugs’ and to his brother’s chagrin snakes which he kept in a shared bedroom in Manhattan. He started off studying Zoology at NYU but then got distracted, transferred to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and spent 11 years as an officer in the British Army, followed by a business career in high technology both here and in the UK. Along the way he married Martha from Minnesota, his first mate ever since, including for their 4 year sailing trip around the world while home schooling their now grown three young sons.
They have owned a number of boats before TropicBird including a Catalina 25, Hunter 34, Cheoy Lee 43, Drascombe Longboat, Sunspeed cutter and a traditional little gaff-rigged Post Boat based on a design that delivered mail to Scotland’s Western Isles .
Patrick & Martha have had a home in Naples since 2003 and are full time residents. Within the limitations of a suburban yard and HOA rules they try as much as possible to maintain a native garden to encourage local wildlife.
A consummate host, who really cares about his guests’ enjoyment and with a sharp sense of humor, Patrick is passionate about Florida’s biodiversity and sharing his love of the sea and nature.
He does this in a knowledgeable, revealing, and entertaining manner, being careful to calibrate this to his audience’s level of interest and adhering to the principle that mere information is not Interpretation, rather interpretation is revelation based on information, and that beauty can speak for itself. Interpretive content is tailored to each party with as much or as little as you like, and age appropriate content/activities for children. It’s your charter: guests are equally welcome just to sit back with a chilled drink and enjoy the sail.