One year ago, Stony Creek native Anna Milne began the journey of taking over her family business; running the beloved Thimble Island tour boat the Volsunga. In the wake of a tragic accident in 2015 which left her father, Bob Milne, unable to Captain the boat, Anna took on the responsibility without hesitation. The Volsunga is a staple not only in Stony Creek but for all of Branford and the neighboring shoreline towns, and after the accident many wondered if the boat would see another summer season on the water.
As small towns often do when a local family is in need, Branford and the “village” of Stony Creek rallied around Anna and her family business, led by her direct competitor Captain Mike Infantino of the Sea Mist.
“I always want to mention Captain Mike and his two sons Justin and Brian, technically they are my competitors but without them I would not be where I am now, Mike kept us a float literally and metaphorically.”
While Anna was finishing her degree in American History from Franklin Peirce College, Captain Mike as well as other local captains like Bob Lilquist and Dave Atkinson essentially ran the business, Anna would often accompany them as a tour guide.
Captain Bob Milne bought the business and brought the Volsunga to the Creek in 1984; Anna knew that to keep the Volsunga in her family she would have to officially become a licensed captain.
In the winter of 2015 Anna began the two-part process of obtaining her OUPV (Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels) as well as her Masters License, allowing her to operate a vessel up to 50 tons, in Freeport Long Island at sea school. It is an intense course, usually 12 hours a day every single day, as well as many background checks to be sure you are fit for duty. Anna successfully completed her courses and officially received her license on June 6th, 2017.
“It was a very long process, but I finally got it!” said Milne “It was important to me to carry on my dad’s legacy.”
The Volsunga offers up a unique opportunity in terms of learning about the history of the Thimble Islands as well as getting folks out on the water. “I want people to be able to experience that and share in that with me and my family and with my dad still.”
Anna hopes to bring father down to the Creek once again this weekend for a boat ride to celebrate Fathers Day. If he is able, it will be the first time the father/daughter team will sail together as licensed captains.
You can visit her and the Volsunga in Stony Creek Tuesday-Sunday; tours run at the top of each hour from 11am-4pm.