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Crew Spotlight – Jess

Part of our big-picture mission here at Holo Holo Charters is to attract healthy, happy humans that make the world a better place, and to foster a stable, fulfilling work environment that makes them stay.

Our Assistant Operations Manager, Jess Rickard, really embodies that ideal, and we’d like to take this blog post to recognize this bright and multi-talented woman.

Kauai reef guardian

Jess applied in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology/Marine Biology, a Captain’s License, and extensive experience working on boats from Alaska to the Virgin Islands, and just about everywhere in between. Hiring her was a no-brainer!

When Jess’s friend Darla, a biologist on Maui, caught wind that Jess was working on Hawaii’s Kaulakahi Channel (crewing on our signature Napali-Niihau Super Tour), she connected her with Dr. Robin Baird, a Cascadia Research Group research biologist and author of The Lives of Hawai‘i’s Dolphins and Whales: Natural History and Conservation.

Shortly thereafter Darla’s connection, Jess asked Holo management for permission to take pictures of ocean wildlife while working– to time-stamp, location-stamp, and send to Cascadia Research. The answer was, Yes, that would be fine. As long it doesn’t interfere with safety and service of course…. but yes.

Supporting two of Jess’s passions—marine biology and photography–while contributing to Cascadia Research’s extensive and important research of dolphins and whales? Sounded like another no-brainer.

Kauai Cassadia Research

Cascadia Research Group loaned Jess a 400mm telephoto lens for her Nikon D7500 and she began photographing and documenting sightings of bottlenose dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins, Orca whales, pilot whales, false killer whales, and more. In 2019, Jess was one of Cascadia Research Group’s top private contributors! In addition to her independent work, she’s accompanied the organization on their research vessels both off of Kauai and off of the Big Island’s Kona Coast.

There’s no doubt that Jess’s efforts and contributions have broadened the general understanding of Hawaii’s fascinating cetacean species.

Kalalau hiking toursAnother reason we admire Jess is for her involvement with Reef Guardians, a non-profit organization that aims to protect the world’s coral reefs through education. During school breaks on Kauai, Reef Guardians holds a 3-day “Coral Reef Kids Camp” for kids 8-13 years old. The camps are available for everyone, regardless of financial resources, and entail a lot of snorkeling, learning, and discovery about coral reefs, fish, invertebrates, plankton, and more.

Guess who schedules her days off around these kids’ camps? You guessed it, Jess Rickard! And in 2020, she took a leadership role in developing Reef Guardians’ online curriculum, a curriculum that Kauai may soon be sharing with everyone (not just kids!) through QR codes strategically placed around the island.

Captain Jess, we salute you! Your passion for the ocean is inspiring, and you actively make the world a better place by applying your many skills and sharing your expertise with others. We’re proud to have you on the Holo Holo team (six great years so far!) and we thank you wholeheartedly for your service, on and off the job.

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