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At the helm of Nautical Ibiza: Paul Shepherd

Ibiza is becoming a more popular destination for tourists wishing to explore the Western Mediterranean by sea and the charter industry continues to grow every year.

We caught up with one charter company owner, Paul Shepherd of Nautical Ibiza boat charters, on board one of his boats to have a chat about the allure of island.

What does Ibiza mean to you?

It's the ‘live and let live' attitude that tends to come with the island that made me stay here. It's the sense of freedom that you don't get in other places. I came here originally to play rugby. I was here only for 4 weeks but I never went home.

What's your favourite memory since you've been here of the island?

Probably my first ever charter that I conducted in 2013. After all the effort that had gone into it, with very little money, in the first week of May it all came together and I went out with about 8 or 9 women on a hen-do. We had a fantastic day out on the water.

What kind of changes have you seen since you came to the island?

Well it's become a lot more policed. From my point of view, having a legal charter company, things on the water have become more policed which is better because we can still offer the fantastic days out that were being over shadowed by the pirates and illegal charters. The island coming in line with the law is working in our favour in that sense. I also think that it's become more corporate. The whole island in general has become more of a money making-process, which can take the fun out of it.

How would you change that?

I don't know, it's difficult because the whole world's going in the same direction. I remember coming here fifteen years ago and it was a different place, with a different feel. It's difficult to change and I'm not sure it will change but, from a business point of view, it's going in a good direction. It's becoming, especially Ibiza Town, more like San Tropez or Monaco and less hippy.

What are the three most special things about Ibiza and why?

Like I said initially, the ‘live and let live' attitude is essential here because you've so many different people from different walks of life coming together. You can go to a nightclub here and there's 8000 people and everyone comes from a different place or country, they all have different occupations, and everyone's getting on well.

It's also one of the most versatile places I've ever been. You can come here with your children or your elderly parents and you can really isolate yourselves and have a wonderful time. Alternatively, you've got the best parties on the planet.

Thirdly, the Island's beauty. This is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and I've lived and worked all over the world. The coastline here is my favourite thing, being a skipper. It really takes your breath away. It's absolutely fantastic and not something you would expect in the Mediterranean.

What is your connection to the sea?

I've been into water sports since I was a little boy. I started getting into boats as I got older and I‘ve been into sailing now for about 15 years. I also took a very keen interest in marine biology. Some charters are great if you just want to go out and drink and listen to music but I also like to inform them of the marine life and the history that we have here. That's got to be my favourite part. Being able to share the island's secrets, especially the North of the island, which is completely uncharted. People don't know it exists and it's only accessible by sea.

What are your favourite moments when you are at sea? What makes you think, ‘this is the life'?

My favourite times, 100%, are dawn and dusk. When you sail at dawn or dusk and the water's at its calmest, especially first thing on the morning, which is also feeding times. All the dolphins are out there. That's my favourite time, when you can sit back and the water's like glass, you're sailing, you can't see land, you can go anywhere in the world, nothing can stop you.

If you were to lose everything tomorrow, would you start up a boat business again?

Yes, for sure. My roots take me back to the ocean for sailing. Sure I have other business ventures and ideas that I want to get involved with but boats are where I come from, they're what I know.

Is there a special allure to Ibiza's waters?

Definitely. There's something magical about this island - everyone says it. Things like Es Vedra - a mystical place. That South West corner of Ibiza is the best. That's the most spectacular: Atlantis, Es Vedra, Cala Jondal, Es Cubells. It's beautiful. Also, the west coast of Formentera - when you take someone right down that west coast, it's completely untouched. You won't see another boat there. You can drop anchor in crystal clear water and I challenge anyone to tell me if they're in the Med or the Caribbean. I like to go to the east side of Illetas in October. You can go on the beach and you're the only people there, it's absolutely wonderful.

If you were to be honoured for the work you have done for Ibiza, what would you choose?

I can walk down any street in Ibiza and nobody can say that I ripped him off. To offer a service, a good honest service, that actually provides what you say you're going to provide, that is something to be honoured for, because there are very few companies that I feel do that.

What's your advice for anyone coming to Ibiza?

Get away from tourist commercial areas. You've got the coast and the mountains. There are so many different aspects and assets this island has. Too many people come here and sit in the same bar for seven days. You've got to get out of there and go and explore the island because it's one of the most beautiful and fascinating places you can go to, certainly in Europe.

If you are considering a day's charter during your holiday, why not visit the Nautical Ibiza website to see what they can do for you? Book online or, alternatively, call Paul direct on +34 971 340 337 for a chat.