I know there are lots of people on this board who had great experiences with him, so please understand that my story represents only my own opinion. You might likely have a wonderful experience on a different day. This is not meant to be a slam on his business, but an honest description of what happened on his boat that day, to provide readers with an idea of what *could* happen if they choose this option to get to the Baths.
Ship time/local time was the same, and we were let off the ship at 7AM. We met a guy with the DandD sign right outside the gate at 7:30. We agreed to go with him, then we waited. And waited. And waited.
Apparently there was a family who had requested a reservation with him, and he didn't want to leave without them. So we waited. And waited. And waited.
Side note: these people make their living off tourists. Please, please, cancel with them if you aren't going to show! He didn't want to leave because that family represented $200 (maybe more, not sure how many were supposed to be in the party) for him that day. As a result, all the other people who were going with him had to wait for the people who didn't show, and it cost us each about an hour and a half of our day, while we sat and waited. Eventually, at 9:00ish, he found another family to take the place of those who didn't show, and we were able to leave.
During the hour and a half that we spent waiting, the weather/sea went from clear and calm, to overcast, then rainy with choppy waves. There is no cover on Dion's boat, except the little tent part that is over where the driver stands. If it rains, you will get wet.
Dion's boat is beautiful: not sure how many feet, but a big speed boat with three huge motors on the back. It is built to go fast and crash on waves, maybe jump ramps and stuff. If you sit near the front, you will get a lot of motion, while people at the back will get minimal movement. Would have been nice if he'd mentioned that before we left.
Anyway, there were 13 of us on his boat that day, and it was pretty full: 2 30-something couples (including me and DH), a 50-ish mom with 3 boys and a girl, ages 17-23 or so, and a family of 4 with two little girls, ages 8 and 6. Luckily the little girls were sitting in the back the whole time, so they were mostly protected from what was to come.
I found out later that Dion was not the guy driving the boat. It was a guy named Alex, and I guess he's not experienced with driving passengers. He started out going really fast, banging the boat over waves, the boat was probably banging down about 3 or 4 feet over each wave, over and over again. The mom lady and I were sitting at the foremost seats on the boat, and after the 4th or 5th bang, her back started to spasm, so one of the teen boys at the back switched spots with her.
There was nothing to hold onto. The boat just kept banging and banging. It was a horrible horrible nightmare. My husband was holding onto his seat bottom, and I was holding on to him. I really think those little girls might have been thrown out of the boat if they would have been in the front. One time the boat banged so bad that several people were literally thrown off the seats and onto the floor. My husband bruised his tailbone so bad that he hurt every time he sat down for the rest of the cruise. Finally Alex slowed down, and then it was just wavy. Would be fun, if we weren't all in pain and terrified.
It was at this point that I realized that none of us had a life-jacket, and had no idea where we might find one should we need it. I found myself keeping an eye on the other boats that were out there, and wondering how long we would have to tread water before they could rescue us.
It took about 35 minutes to get to the Baths, but it felt like at least an hour. It was very rough that day, but Alex drove the boat right into the swimming area and attempted to get it up on the beach. Maybe usually when they do this the beach is empty, but after we waited so long for the no-shows, there were lots of people on the beach. At some point, Alex lost control of the boat, and it was swaying wildly, almost tipping one way, then the other. A couple of guys jumped off and ran away from the boat, and one of them rescued the little girls off the back. A guy on another boat out further came in to pull our boat back out, then we all jumped in about 50 feet from shore and swam in. I think Alex did some serious damage to the boat. We saw one motor crack against the hull of the rescue boat.
When we were finally on the beach, a tour guide from another group told us that we should have Alex pick us up at the marina, about $4/pp cab ride. What?!? If the marina was an option, why on earth did he do such a stupid, dangerous maneuver with the boat on the beach?!? Apparently it costs him $30 to dock there, but it would be a small price to pay given the circumstances.
Anyway, we all decided to go back early "just in case" so we met Alex at the marina via taxis at 12:30. The ride back was lovely, no waves, nice weather, kind of what we'd hoped for all along. Smooth, relaxing, took about 20 minutes. He had beer/pop/water, but not enough beer for all the adults, so some of the guys were gentlemen and took water instead, so the ladies could have the beer.
I don't even know if this boat is still operating. It seemed like 2 of the 3 motors were pretty seriously damaged in the beach incident. Maybe that's why he took it slowly on the way back, I really don't know.
Anyway, we ended up having a good, if shortened, day, and we ended up with a crazy adventure story (not to mention lots of bruises and sore bones). We also met some really terrific people. I don't think it's likely this will happen to you and your family, but if the weather doesn't look perfect, I would definitely take the ferry instead.
Also, insist that he dock at the marina and pay the extra $4 pp for a taxi!