WILLEMSTAD – When the Ambrosi family bought Ocean Encounters on Curacao in 2003, the intention was to make it a long-lasting family business, and 15 years later, it remains just that.
On January 1st, 2018 Nolo & Monica Ambrosi and minority shareholder Zyta de Koeijer, sold the majority shares of Ocean Encounters to their long-time employee and Managing Director Jeremiah Peek. In doing so, the family of employees that helped build Ocean Encounters into Curaçao’s 5-Star premier dive center, remains intact.
“For the last 11 years, Jeremiah has committed to help build our business, while working at every position imaginable; from fill station attendant to head of rental & repair, from dive instructor to boat captain, and from facility supervisor to managing director, the list goes on and on. When he applied in 2006, there was no open position available, so he even worked 6 weeks for free while waiting for an open opportunity! When Monica and I decided to sell the business, we were absolutely thrilled this opportunity arose to keep Ocean Encounters in the family,” said Nolo.
Growing up on the west coast of the United States, Jeremiah has taken his love of travel, water and customer service and made it a career. After graduating from the University of Colorado, and beginning a career in the Engineering field, he embraced the opportunity for a 4-month assignment to work on a development project for middle Egypt. Upon arriving in Egypt, he took the first opportunity to dust off his rarely used “c-card” and re-discovered the majesty of the underwater world. That 4-month assignment, turned into 8 years exploring the Egyptian Red Sea.
“Almost twenty years ago I made a decision that changed my life by accepting an overseas position in Egypt. The first weekend I was there I Ocean-Encounters-boatjoined the local dive club to make some friends, and that led to a diving addiction that had to be fed weekly. I loved learning about diving so I enrolled in every class from Advanced Open Water to Extended Range Diver to Divemaster. After passing my PADI IDC early in 2003, I began to lay out my plans to spend the rest of my life “living post cards” instead of buying them on short holidays. After 8 years exploring Egypt, my Dutch girlfriend and I moved to Curaçao in 2006 to pursue a “life without shoes.” The first Dive Center I visited to apply for work was Ocean Encounters. Once I stepped foot on the facility located at Lions Dive Beach Resort, I was blown away by how professionally it was run, and the quality and condition of the beautifully maintained fleet of custom dive boats. I immediately knew that this was the place for me, and dreamt one day to make it mine. Eleven years later, the dream has come a reality,” reminisced Jeremiah.
Located south of the hurricane belt, Curaçao provides a wealth of year-round opportunities for divers and outdoor enthusiasts due to its healthy marine environment coupled with a treasure of top-side attractions. “Curaçao has a unique ability to grab you and make you want to stay. Not only is the diving some of the best in the Caribbean, but there is so much else to do. From night life, to outdoor adventure, a melting pot of cultures and a UNESCO World Heritage downtown. There’s always good live music, or just a relaxing sunset happy hour followed by a diverse “foodie” experience at one of our many restaurants. With so much to offer, “island fever” is never an issue. I still can’t understand why Curaçao has been kept the “Caribbean’s best kept secret” for so long. Maybe that’s part of the charm,” Jeremiah explains.