Company offers more than a tour - expect an adventure

Virgin Islands Daily News: Feb 21, 2011
by Aaron Gray ( Daily News Staff )

Rick and his daughter holding dolphin

Rick Gonzales, owner of Swashbucklin' Tours, with his daughter on a recent fishing tour.

When Rick Gonzales moved to St. Thomas two years ago, he was amazed by the kind of adventure and beauty the island offered. The Utah native quickly started up his own outdoor tour company, Swashbucklin' Tours, so he could expose his knowledge and share his experiences with local residents and visitors to the territory.

Swashbucklin' Tours offers inshore fishing trips along with spearfishing, lobster snaring, hiking and snorkeling tours, but the company's range doesn't end there.

"Every day I wake up, it's a new adventure," said the 37-year-old Gonzales, who is a licensed boat captain. "We're open to anything you can think of. From a day trip to Hans Lollik for a barbeque to hiking through Santa Maria to look for ruins. If you can think of it, we can do it."

The company's motto, "Not your mama's tour," is a clear indication of what they offer.

"I guess we really just appeal to people that are adventurous and off the tourist beaten path," said Gonzales, who grew up as a commercial fisherman in Washington and spends two months a year fishing in Alaska. "We want to show people what St. Thomas is really about."

The most popular tour is the spearfishing tour, Gonzales said, where tour guests get a chance to snare Caribbean lobster during free dive excursions around the island.

Aboard Gonzales' 24-foot Panga boat for fishing trips, tour guests are able to snag yellowtail, hardnose, mackerel, kingfish, barracuda, tarpon, bonito and other species.

The company also offers backcountry tours to some of the most remote beaches and ruin sites on the island. Their web site ensures potential guests that "99 percent of the time, you'll have the entire beach to yourself."

Gonzales is a former U.S. Army combat medic and is married with three children. He said his favorite part about touring people in and around St. Thomas is the instant friendships that come from it.

"Every time I take someone out on a charter or something, we always come back as friends and you can't say that about a lot of jobs in the world," Gonzales said.

For more information on tours and pricing, log-on to, e-mail , call (340) 244-8600 or follow Swashbucklin' Tours on Twitterexternal link.

Featured page

Caribbean Travel + Life: Aug-Sept, 2011

Offshore Thing. On the north side of St. Thomas, the private island Hans Lollick is populated only by goats and those who know people with boats. Got four hours but no boat? Call Swashbucklin' Tours, 340-244-8600.

Editor's note: Hover over the thumbnail at left to see the magazine page. The boat in the picture is the Sea Weasel, and the island in the background is St. Thomas.

Spear Fishing in the Virgin Islands: Bow Hunting Under Water Apr 09, 2012
by Chris Burget

VI Spear Fishing

Spear fishing in the VI - an experience I will never forget.

My fishing adventure began two days earlier on an offshore fishing trip. Rick, the first mate of the Blue Fin 2, showed us a great time. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch many fish. Nevertheless, we all had fun despite the inclement weather, and a few people getting sea sick.

While fishing with Rick, I learned that he also specialized in spear-fishing tours. I quickly signed up, and before I knew it I was up early again for another fishing adventure.

This time, Rick customized the fishing trip just for me. I knew as soon as he pulled up in his red jeep with the logo SwashBuklin Tours on the car door, I was with the right person.

On the way to a secluded bay on the north shore of St. Thomas, we pulled over to glass the waters. We were looking for signs of fish like birds on the water or bait balls of fish in hopes of some good spear-fishing. Once we spotted the ‘boiling water of fish’, Rick got us off to the boat and in for what I would call an underwater avatar experience filled with brilliant colors of fish, coral and clear turquoise waters.

Tarpon in the Virgin Islands

SleepWhenYoureDead.comexternal link: May 02, 2012
by Kyle

Swashbucklin' Tours

Captain Rick uses a net to bring in this big tarpon,
so it doesnn't throw the hook.

Every now and then a day of fishing comes along that is as hard to believe when it’s happening as when its over and just a memory. Today was one of them.

In December my wife and I decided to come to St Thomas and spend a week relaxing and seeking out deserted beaches here in the Southern Caribbean. As soon as plans were firm I started planning to fish at least one of the days.

Much of what I read online was discouraging. Talking about how St Thomas was not the place for in-shore fishing, but thats really what I wanted to do. Then I found Captain Rick who runs Swashbucklin’ Tours. His reviews online were awesome and he seemed like a genuine guy on the phone. A day was booked and the anticipation started to build.

Today was the day. I woke up early and made the drive to the other side of the island at our pre determined time. Capt. Rick rolled up to the sand and jumped out of his boat to greet me. I’ve fished with enough guides to know that Rick is a rare breed. No pompous attitude, no belittling comments, just an encouraging good boat captain who really loves to fish... read more

6 Places Where You Can Forage for Your Food

USNews.comexternal link: July 21, 2017
by Gwen Pratesi


This lionfish was speared off St. Thomas.

If your idea of an extreme culinary destination includes warm sunny days, sandy white beaches and sparkling Caribbean waters, then head south and join Captain Rick of Swashbucklin' Tours for a thrilling adventure aboard the "Sea Weasel" out of beautiful Hull Bay on the north side of the island.

An army veteran and former commercial Alaskan fisherman living in Washington State, Captain Rick moved to St. Thomas 10 years ago and never looked back. Once onboard, he'll teach you the ropes of spearing fish and snaring lobsters, but it's up to you to do the deed.

Be sure to help out the environment and catch a few of the spiny colorful lionfish, an invasive species that's delicious thanks to its buttery flesh. Then, come back to shore and grab a rum punch at Hull Bay Hideaway.

Catching Groupers, Snappers and beast of lobsters with Capt Rick and Devon!

Trip Advisorexternal link: May 22, 2020
by Ricardoscience, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Catch for the day

We went out two days with Captain Rick and Devon and had a blast! These guys are the real thing, their local knowledge of the reefs is very impressive. We caught the biggest lobster i've ever seen and so many good sized snappers and groupers! Definitely recommend Swashbuckling tours to anyone who is keen for an adventure.

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