Home  |  Branches  |  Careers  |  FAQs  |  Feedback
Search
SETTING SAILS TO DREAMS
Print this page   
11 November 2013

Starting up new businesses is not an unfamiliar territory for Heather Crossingham. A United States national, the former real estate broker and clothing company owner has now made Fiji her home with her Australian husband, Jaga Crossingham a building contractor by profession.

"I went to a college for entrepreneurship so starting new businesses is my passion. I was a commercial real estate stock broker having JP Morgan as one of my clients before giving that up to start my own clothing company nVmi (pron. envy me) in San Francisco," Heather said.

In 2008, Heather came to Fiji for a holiday and it was then she met her husband. They both loved the experience in Fiji so much that they returned three months later and married and as how one thing leads to another, decided to stay and start a business together.

"Jaga’s passion is fishing and ironically I don’t even eat fish or go into the ocean and it was his passion for both that I followed. I told Jaga, ‘we’re in Fiji so let’s make this work.’ After the wedding I went to Australia to have our first son and I was able to write a

PR 06 Nov 2013 No. 26 Prepared by the Customer Relations and Business Development Unit,, Fiji Development Bank, 360 Victoria Parade, P.O. Box 104, Suva, FIJI. PH: 3314 866 FX: 3314 886 Email: Lote.Umari@fdb.com.fj Website: www.fdb.com.fj

2

business plan during this time and make arrangements with Investment Fiji for our business."

In 2011, Heather and Jaga started Freedive Fiji Charters based out of the Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour. The company provides charters and cruises for game-fishing, spearfishing, island excursions, sunset cruises and snorkelling. The couple’s relationship with the Pearl goes back to Jaga’s earlier incarnation as the contractor engaged to renovate the hotel in 2011.

"We signed an agreement with Pearl Resort to basically do all of their water sports exclusively as we have done with the Uprising Resort when they hired us. We started with just the two of us, our boat captain and an office manager," Heather said.

The couple’s first vessel was bought from the United States and used for spearfishing then later, free diving as a tourist attraction. Game fishing and other water sports soon followed as the business expanded.

The charter and Jaga’s fishing prowess has been featured on Adventure Bound, an Australian TV series as well as providing the shuttle service and location for publications such as Hawaii Skin Diver and the International Free Diving and Spearfishing News magazine. They featured also on a past cover for the former.

In the short time that they have been in operation, Freedive Fiji is currently rated number one out of 13 tourist attractions in Pacific Harbour by TripAdvisor, a renowned website used by travellers to rate experiences and gauge information on the best hotels,

PR 06 Nov 2013 No. 26 Prepared by the Customer Relations and Business Development Unit,, Fiji Development Bank, 360 Victoria Parade, P.O. Box 104, Suva, FIJI. PH: 3314 866 FX: 3314 886 Email: Lote.Umari@fdb.com.fj Website: www.fdb.com.fj

3

attractions, restaurants, sights and the like in any country. Freedive’s offering now include game fishing, spearfishing, and snorkelling, sunset and island cruises.

"We are so excited by the attention and the prospects we have seen with this business. We are indeed very thankful to the Fiji Development Bank for agreeing to give us a loan. We fully understand the level of risk involved in this business which was the reason it was so hard find willing lenders," said Heather.

Earlier this year, the couple bought a second hand 40 seater catamaran, and with financing from FDB, purchased a 400hp outboard engine and refurbished the catamaran. Financing for projects such as this come under the SME and corporate lending FDB does to the wholesale, retail, hotels and restaurant sector. Assistance includes the purchase of land, buildings, vessels, plant, machinery and equipment as well as working capital.

"The reason we chose to branch out with the 40 passenger catamaran is to allow us to offer island excursions as we have signed on with tour companies such as Rosie’s and ATS," Heather said.

"We are focussed on both the tourism and local customers. We have a lot of clients out of Suva that come by monthly and we have a 10% discount for locals. A lot of corporate companies do fishing charters with us and with their clients from overseas they’ll do charters on our catamaran. Even for corporate bodies, our

PR 06 Nov 2013 No. 26 Prepared by the Customer Relations and Business Development Unit,, Fiji Development Bank, 360 Victoria Parade, P.O. Box 104, Suva, FIJI. PH: 3314 866 FX: 3314 886 Email: Lote.Umari@fdb.com.fj Website: www.fdb.com.fj

4

catamaran can do up to 40 people especially with the holiday season coming up."

Heather with the boat crew of the 40 seater Catamaran

News Archive
Jul
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Jan
Feb
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Dec
Jan