Captain Matt Neidlinger
I grew up boating, waterskiing and fishing on the Mississippi River in northwestern Illinois. My father was a US Naval officer and he taught me to love and respect the water at an early age. I also inherited my love of travel from him.
I first visited the Caribbean in 1989 and I knew from that moment that the islands were very special. In the following years, while working as a diesel engine designer, I found myself spending all of my money on travel. So, I switched gears and worked in travel and tourism for the next decade. During that time, I realized that I enjoyed sharing the travel experience as much as the travel itself.
In 2005 Melissa and I chartered a yacht in the BVI, and that was all it took. We instantly knew that we wanted to share the beauty of the Caribbean with as many people as possible. One year later we moved to the islands to start our career as charter yacht crew.
I currently hold a USCG 50-ton Master License, and am a PADI certified Divemaster. In my spare time I enjoy waterskiing, wakeboarding, snorkeling, and hiking the trails in the BVI. I also love playing bartender and tour-guide to those looking for little adventure.
Come sailing with us and let us show you the Caribbean we fell in love with.
Chef Melissa Neidlinger
Hi! My name is Melissa, and I am the chef / first mate aboard Free Ingwe.
I am hoping to show you a little bit of the beauty and grace of the Caribbean, while creating meals to keep you full and happy.
I've always had an "obsession" with food, be it eating or making it. So after I graduated from Indiana University with a degree I had little interest in pursuing, I enrolled in the Culinary and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. It was there that I was able to turn my obsession into a career.
I enjoy cooking just about everything! I have a deep appreciation for all cuisines, from my own Midwest roots of comfort food to International zest. I enjoy taking an ordinary dish and adding an unexpected flair. It is my single greatest hope that I can provide meals that match the magic of your vacation.
I also enjoy boating and water activities. As a PADI certified Dive Instructor, I can assist in showing you the gorgeous sights of the world underwater. Enjoy snorkeling, water skiing, or just lounging in the water with a cold beverage? Me too! I will be on hand to offer suggestions on where to go, what to do, or what not to do!
My personal interests include hiking, scuba diving, water skiing, running, doing crossword puzzles, drinking good wine with great friends, and meeting new people.
Come aboard Free Ingwe, and let the cares of the world blow away with the breeze!
I want to take the time to truly thank you for your suggestion to book with Matt and Melissa on Free Ingwe - what an awesome couple of individuals, and what a great team they make! They took care of our diverse group, and yet everyone felt like the vacation was tailored to them individually.
Matt showed an expert knowledge of the area and the workings of sailing vessels, answering our many, many questions, and was always kind and patient. Melissa has a very funny sense of humor, and is a master of cuisine, delivering a continuous cavalcade of delicious treats and sumptuous meals, magically from inside a small galley, and yet each night topped the last!
Also, both Matt and Melissa are accomplished divers - we felt really safe and very well-guided on all the dives, and saw some amazing things - my tarpon fishing buddies will never believe that I got to swim with a school of tarpon :)
Again, what an absolutely awesome trip - we will be back, and we can't to see our new Caribbean friends again!