Dee Osinski has been many things – government worker, educator, small business owner, water sport competitor – but she looks most at home sitting in her captains chair aboard the sailboat Zulu.
She calls it her dream job. “I never have a bad day. You never have a bad day on the ocean,” Osinski says.
She left her job at the Waste Management Authority in January of last year to devote full time to Bilinda Charters. She bought Zulu, a 36-foot Alvin Stratus in 1992. She is the third owner of the mono hull. She retains the charter business name Bilinda Charters from the previous owner. She sails out of the Green Cay Marina.
One reason she likes the job so much is the people.
“I love interacting with different people. I meet people from all over the world and it is interesting,” Osinski says. Her customers seem to reciprocate that feeling. Sally Grahm, of Boulder, Colo., out on a half day cruise on the Zulu on a recent November afternoon said, “What I like about it is that Dee takes you to a safe place to snorkel and then she lets you go on your own if you want or she stays with you and helps if you need that.”
Shane and Alicia Rittenhouse, who had just been married two days before, were also on that cruise. Alicia said, “I love it. Dee is such a great teacher.” She added that it was her first time on a sailboat and “It was not as rough as I expected.”
Dee takes advantage of Zulu being docked in close proximity to the East End Marine Park and usually takes her passengers there to snorkel. She says, “The Park encompasses a mosaic of fringe reefs, mangrove forests, sea grass beds and nesting sites for endangered sea turtles. Within the crystal waters, sunshine illuminates coral monuments and rainbow colored fish, hidden just beneath the surface.”
Her specialty is private day sails with guided snorkeling tours along the barrier reef south of Buck Island. Passengers can participate or just relax. She says on her website, “If you want to take the helm or be part of the crew I would be happy to accommodate you. I encourage you to be part of the team and learn through hands-on experience as we spend our day together. You may already be a sailor and just want to experience sailing in our local waters. I will crew for you.”
Kelli Barton was her sole crew member on the sail mentioned above. They worked efficiently as a team, expertly tacking to get the boat out to the reef just south of Buck Island. On the way back, with a tailwind, the sail was smooth, straight and delightful. The crew offered up tasty snacks and drinks as Dee talked about the various homes and sights on the St. Croix shoreline.
She has been sailing and diving the waters around St. Croix since 1978. So she finds it easy during her cruises to inject into the conversation local lore as well as comments about coral reef life.
She is a dive master and wind surfed from Coral Bay, St. John to Salt River, St. Croix in four and a half hours in a Hawaiian Tropic Cup.
Bilinda Cruises can be reached at (340) 514-2270 or at www.sailbilinda.com.
Some of the offerings include: Half Day Sail (10 a.m.- 2 p.m.) and (2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.) provides snorkeling gear, a guided tour of the reef, water and soft drinks. The full day version (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) private charter is for up to six passengers.
Sunset Cruises: Two hours, soft drinks, rum punch and a light snack provided. Private charter for two up to six passengers.
Tuesday and Thursday Half day Sail (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) This is a mixed party charter with snorkeling gear and soft drinks provided. Guided tour of the reef offered. Osinski says she is flexible with the private sailing times.