Setting sail for 'Caribbean Life'

He’s used to touring the Okanagan and throwing parties in the sunshine, but now JC Rathwell and his wife are looking for another adventure which will take them off the snowy streets during the winter months.

Rathwell is the owner and captain of Kelowna Dinner Cruises, which runs chartered events from June to September and sets sail from Kerry Park.

“We are basically unemployed for seven months of the year, so we decided to go down to the Caribbean to find a business down there to run,” explains Rathwell.

For the last two years Rathwell and his wife have been touring Saint Martin, Saint Lucia, and Roatan, looking for a Caribbean island to move to.

"We want to spend 10 months of the year down there and operate a business down there as well.”

While looking at property in the Caribbean, the captain and his mate were approached by a familiar looking realtor, who told the two that Caribbean Life, a lifestyle program on HGTV, was always on the hunt for interesting couples.

“Six months later we go to Roatan, Honduras, to look at some property and HGTV calls out of the blue and says are you interested in buying a place soon?,” describes Rathwell. “I said yes. They wanted to know if we had bought yet, which we hadn’t so they said ‘don’t buy yet, we want to come down and film you looking at some property and maybe you can choose one’.”

HGTV informed the couple that the producers would pick three houses for them and they could choose one out of the three that fits their price range.

However, Rothwell’s wife Felicia had some stipulations to the type of home and the amenities that she wanted if they were to pick a property of HGTV’s choosing.

“We were looking at a condo, something with no maintenance, something in a gated community. We wanted amenities, so things we could do in the community, like go to the gym, go for coffee, as well as beach access,” says Felicia.

Although she had a certain concept in mind for her Caribbean home, she says she was surprised by HGTV’s choices.

“It was interesting they had some really nice places available in Roatan for us to look at.”

The couple was filmed for four days straight making for a very long and intense house buying process.

“We got up at 5:30 or six o’clock in the morning, Felicia had to get her make-up on, get all dressed and ready to go, be on the set by 6:15, get mic’d up, get the lighting all set up and then film from seven o’clock in the morning right through until dusk,” explains Rathwell.

While Felicia called the experience interesting, she enjoyed the overall entertainment of the adventure.

“Nothing I have ever been in before, so it was a great experience. I enjoyed it, but it was rough on some days, the repetitiveness and the learning the difficult techniques of trying to film a TV show.”

To find out what options the Rathwell’s were given and which property they decided to make their home, tune into Carribbean Life on HGTV on February 15 at 10 p.m.


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