April 28, 2005 – Wave Phillips took two loves and made a job of them.
He said during a recent interview in downtown Christiansted that he was about nine years old when his love for engines first developed into a love of four-wheeling.
He ended up leaving St. Croix for a while to finish school in Boston, but back home about four years ago he started to think of the unique natural history of the island and how he could draw visitors' attention to it. Tan Tan Tours was born, its motto: "Where the tan tan trees grow…we go."
Sitting in his jeep near the boardwalk, stopping now and then to wave to a friend or offer greetings to a tourist, Phillips explained that Tan Tan Tours allows people to see the island "like they can see it no other way."
His excursions come in three sizes — two, four or eight hours and the destination is up to the client. Whether to the top of Goat Hill to overlook Point Udall and the east end, or out to the west end and a stop deep in the rain forest at Mt. Victory, Phillips takes customers wherever they want to go.
As a bonus to those who don't mix work and pleasure, he says there is very little hiking. Its mostly just about four-wheeling and getting to places no one else can. But the occasional short walk, such as one that leads down to the tide pools at Annaly Bay, is well worth the effort.
Because of his knowledge of the island's less-traveled byways, Phillips says he was recently chosen to lead a film-crew around St. Croix. He says he worked closely with the Department of Tourism on that project and that the crew shot a commercial now being shown throughout the United States.
Another group he has developed a good working relationship with is the Danish tourists who frequent St. Croix. He noted that, "The Danes are really interested in the cultural history of the island."
Phillips says the business goes up and down with the fragile Crucian economy. The startup was not smooth, he said, and some in the St. Croix Taxi Association didn't take to Tan Tan Tours right away. But now, Phillips says, his problem with the Taxi Association has been resolved, and one thing more is certain, ""I love what I am doing. I love my job."
Those interested in taking a Tan Tan tour can contact Phillips at 773-7041.
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