Wilfred Leslie - "Providing some 'searious' fun in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 44            November 8, 2001

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Willie Leslie

A recent advertising campaign from the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) strongly emphasizes that "Tourism means Business." To ensure each visitor's satisfaction when visiting this "Jewel in the Caribbean" it is essential that they are treated with the utmost professionalism and greeted with that unique Belizean hospitality. Being the number one tourism destination in Belize, San Pedro must strive for only the best when it comes to giving service to their clients. This week the San Pedro Sun salutes a young businessman whose job is to give visitors a glimpse of "Mother Nature's best kept secret" - Wilfred "Willie" Leslie.

    Willie was born in San Pedro on December 18th, 1971 to Martha and Godfrey Leslie (deceased). Sadly, Willie's father passed away when he was only a small child but nevertheless he grew up surrounded by lots of love from his mother and four older brothers: Charles, Martin, Billy and Gerald. Willie attended San Pedro Roman Catholic School and completed three years of high school. Since all of his brothers were involved in the tourism industry, Willie also developed a keen interest in this business. When he was only 15 years old, Willie received his PADI Open Water Scuba Certification. He then went to work with one of his brothers as an assistant on their diving expeditions and eventually led divers into the azure waters of Belize himself. Only a year after receiving his first scuba certification he was certified as a Dive Master by one of San Pedro's most recognized dive instructors - Chris Mosler. Soon after achieving this, Willie was hired to assist in scuba certification at Journey's End Dive Club.

    Throughout this time, Willie would accompany his brother on inland tours, specifically to the Altun Ha Maya ruins. The breathtaking beauty and mystique of this place immediately captured the attention of young Willie who decided to study more about the surrounding flora and fauna. Willie was a "natural" when it came to dealing with people, and the knowledge and experience he gained touring these areas soon made him a "pro" in this business. Throughout the ten years he worked for his brother's tour company, Willie was most often put in charge of visiting travel writers, filmmakers and other distinguished guests, because of his "one-of-a-kind" skills as a tour guide.

    In 1996, Willie accepted an eight-month diving contract with Glover's Reef (a private island resort) as their dive manager. There, he met with leaders in oceanography, geology, marine biology and also with some scientists from NASA belonging to a group called Cedam who concentrate their efforts on ocean conservation and marine medicine studies. After Willie's contract expired, he joined the crew of the Wave Dancer for the next four months before returning home to San Pedro.

    On October 4th, 1997 Willie joined his life in marriage to Sandy Maclean, originally from Vancouver, Canada. Their union has produced three lovely children: Brianna Hope, six years old, Alexa Ray, two, and Jackson Nicholas, 11 months old.

    Having established his family and feeling confident about his tour guide abilities, Willie went out on his own for almost two years. He soon established a reputation for his personal tours which included manatee watching, and river tours to the Altun Ha and Lamanai archaeological sites. Tourism continued to grow in Ambergris Caye and in 1999, Willie and Sandy decided to open their own tour office which they christened Searious Adventures Tour Center.

    Today Searious Adventures, located on the beach in front of Ruby's Hotel, offers only the best in Belizean tours. Willie does the guiding and gives all customers "the royal treatment." "I try to be as informative as I can from the beginning to the end of the tour. I emphasize the ecology of Belize and pride myself in saying that I have intensely researched all the information I provide my clients," Willie told the San Pedro Sun. In addition to the exclusive tours offered by this charismatic guide, Searious Adventures always packs fresh "treats" and drinks for their customers on all their tours. In recognition of his hard work, Willie has the endorsement of the BTB who recommend him for travel groups from abroad. "The positive e-mail and postal correspondence that we receive, almost on a daily basis, is what keeps me going," commented Willie.

    As a side business, Willie and Sandy are the owners of Brianna's Beach House which they rent on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. They are also very involved with the community, donating generously to town activities, the San Pedro Lions Club and other charity fundraisers. Although Searious Adventures keeps Willie very busy, he stated his extra time is devoted unconditionally to his family.  

    With over fifteen years of experience in this business, Willie Leslie continues to specialize in three of the best tours Belize has to offer. Having a pleasant disposition and extensive knowledge, Willie provides many "Searious Adventures" to countless visitors and residents in "Our Community."

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