5 Caribbean Events Not To Miss!

 

When you sail the blue-green waters of the southern Caribbean with Barefoot Yacht Charters, you might want a break from the pleasures of diving, snorkeling and sunbathing to visit one of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ spectacular land sites.

If you’re in the mood to party Vincy style, get a better sense of Vincentians and their culture, ‘events’ are the way to go. Whatever your idea of a ‘must-see’ event, big or small, there are plenty to choose from in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Since not all 2016 dates are available as of this writing, let Barefoot Yacht Charters help with your itinerary as your vacation time approaches.

Music starts SVG’s year of activities with the Mustique Blues Festival. Premiere performances from local, regional and international artistes run from 20 January to 3 February. And the Bequia Music Festival enlivens that island from 21- 24 January. Blues, country, steel pan, calypso, jam sessions on the beach, with plenty barbeque, dancing, jump ups and fun

Theatre, gospel and dance Performing Arts festivals happen in February, April, September and November. So very Vincy are these shows, usually locally written and choreographed.

March brings a religious and fun side to many Easter celebrations, one of the most popular being Easterval on Union Island, starting the 19th. Then island hop to the Bequia Easter Regatta with its boat races, sports, games, music and street jumps from the 24th – 28th.

But, if your vacation dates don’t coincide with this one, catch the Mayreau and Canouan Regattas in May. Also in May, the Maroon Festival on Union Island explodes with flavourful foods, dancing, folksongs and drum-throbbing excitement – all to persuade the gods to bring rain to their desert island. While on Union, don’t miss their Full Moon Party!

If steel pan, soca, calypso, beauty pageants, colourful costumes, painted bodies, pounding beats and dancing feet are your thing, Vincy Mas (Carnival) is a definite must-see. Carnival officially starts 24 June and ends 5 July, but if you can’t participate in this celebration on the mainland, Bequia and Union Island Carnivals come alive a week or two earlier, while the islanders jump up at the Canouan Carnival towards the end of July.

It’s not surprising that there’s a whole Fisherman’s Month in April, and on Bequia a special Fisherman’s Day Competition in July. Lots of action, parties and delicious eating! Then in August, SVG showcases its historically famous, bountiful and versatile tree during the Breadfruit Festival. Also in August, Emancipation Month, with events to commemorate the end of slavery. Leap forward to Independence Day, 27 October, a celebration with parades, beauty pageants, sport competitions (cycling very popular), and activities of all sorts. Even British naval vessels join in the fun.

The unique Nine Mornings before Christmas festival takes place in communities throughout the islands. The party begins in capital Kingstown around 3.00 a.m. with a lighted flambeau street parade, traditional Vincy music, carols and games, and refreshments such as sorrel drinks and ducana (a sweet cassava delicacy wrapped in banana leaves and boiled). Nothing like this nine-day party anywhere.

Whatever must-see events in St Vincent and the Grenadines excite you, sail to them with Barefoot Yacht Charters. Vincy pleasures from the sea, the land and its people await you.

Bequia Sailing Regatta

Bequia Sailing Regatta

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Support the children and win a sailing holiday with Barefoot Yacht Charters

Wouldn’t you love to know you are supporting the children of St Vincent and the Grenadines with Barefoot Yacht Charters, while sailing one of the most beautiful destinations in the world? Of course you would!

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That’s why folks are jumping into the American Sailing Association/Hands Across Sea Caribbean Getaway Sweepstakes. It’s easy!

Follow this sweepstakes entry link to make a donation to support literacy for Caribbean children, and you’ll be entered to win a one-week bareboat sailboat charter for four people in the spectacular St. Vincent and the Grenadines island archipelago, courtesy of Barefoot Yacht Charters.

Second prize is also spectacular: seven nights at beautiful Palm Island Resort & Spa, a luxury private island retreat in the Grenadines, courtesy of Elite Island Resorts.

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Best of all, if you’re sailing with Barefoot Yachts or staying at the beautiful Palm Island Resort, you’ll be helping Hands Across the Sea put great new books into the hands of Caribbean kids, from pre-school to high school age.

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You’ll find contest details and more at the ASA/Hands Caribbean Getaway Sweepstakes page. Entries close at 12:01 AM on October 1, 2014.

Good luck . . . and we’ll see you down here!

Hands Across the Sea and Barefoot Yacht Charters

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NEW Boats! SAME Paradise.

The launch of the new Barefoot Lifestyle brings new boats along with new exciting sailing opportunities. 3 new Catamarans have arrived in the Barefoot Yacht Charters fleet.

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These boats are spacious, affordable, easy to handle, comfortable and efficient for families or groups of up to 8 guests. Click the images to see more details on each new boat in the fleet.

ISAPHIL (the Mermaid) 2014 Lagoon 38

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Isaphil (the Mermaid) is fast, easy to handle and safe, the Lagoon 38 is the most popular boat  for circumnavigations and one of the most successful production charter yachts in the world.

She is extremely well-equipped with a full suite of electronics, and her fastidious owners have also added several touches not usually found on charter yachts of this type – both hot and cold water at the deck shower; additional fresh water capacity; solar panels; and high quality upholstery.

She has a simple but efficient deck lay-out, 360 degree vision in the rounded saloon and extremely well insulated engine compartments located a good way from the living quarters. This yacht can easily be handled by just two people, but is comfortable for up to 6.

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AMARYLLIS Belize 43

Amaryllis is an extremely efficient sailing catamaran and one of the fastest in her class, easily handled by a smaller crew but with many of the amenities one might expect to find on a much larger yacht.

This Belize 43 extremely well-equipped (including air conditioning), and every navigational aspect on this yacht has been optimised – the helm station protected by a fixed plexiglass screen, access to the gangways, under-deck stowage of halyards, direct anchorage and more. Meticulous attention has been paid to each detail for greater sailing ease.

Architect Olivier Flahault has succeeded in maximising space and storage capacity making it comfortable and eminently practical for long-term cruising. The saloon has a strikingly spacious feel, and an ingenious innovation enables the seating to adapt to either a circle or square arrangement.

TIR NA NOG Lagoon 38

Tir Na Nog is a 4-cabin / 2-head catamaran providing sufficient space for up to eight guests.

The aft cabins are slightly larger than the forward ones. Two heads with showers are centrally located in each pontoon. The panoramic salon and galley connect directly with the cockpit to offer fantastic indoor-outdoor air flow.

It has a huge interior volume for a 38-footer. Add to this, a large and comfortable cockpit for lounging and dining al fresco, as well as easy transom access to the water or your dinghy, and you have the ideal yacht for larger groups or families.

Choose one of our new, premium or value line boats and come experience the best of The Barefoot Lifestyle and the turquoise waters of the Southern Caribbean on an epic sailing adventure sure to last a lifetime.

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The Barefoot Family 

 

Unique and Unforgettable – The Joy of Family Sailing

Sailing with your family, working together as a team to help crew a yacht, and enjoying time out from the rigours of daily life, will leave you with indelible memories you love to revisit again and again around the dinner table.

Work together

Sailing, whether as a leisure activity or competitive sport, requires teamwork – and there are roles to fulfill for even the most junior member of the family. Sailing together, a family practise coordination, cooperation, and together overcome the challenges that come with the sport. The mutual satisfaction of crewing a boat successfully helps bonding, as well as improving individual self esteem and confidence.

Incorporating activity and exercise into family holidays helps reinforce a healthy attitude to getting up, out and moving, with kids coming quickly to associate being outdoors and active with having fun. Add into that the health benefits for kids of exercising at all, such as better immediate strength, flexibility and endurance, and the long term protections afforded against conditions such as type two diabetes, and getting on to the water together is a natural choice.

Enjoy the bounty of nature 

Getting children (not to mention adults), away from screens, from the distractions of TV, computer games and continual stimulation, is no mean feat. However, finding the time for a break, especially one where kids get to stop, look around, and be amazed by something new, is in incredibly valuable thing to do, for all round mental well being. Kids who spend too long in front of screens struggle to sleep, can struggle with attention disorders and show heightened rates of obesity, as a result of a more sedentary lifestyle.

Persuading even reluctant family members to give up the computer shouldn’t be too difficult once they experience the outstanding nature on offer in the local area. The waters around St Vincent and the Grenadines are blessed with a fantastic range of wildlife for the family to spot and enjoy whilst you sail. Eleven species of dolphins have been identified in our waters, including pan-tropical and spinner dolphins. You may also get to see pilot and sperm whales, not to mention any of the 225 different types of fish that call our area home.

Help your kids to slow down and drink in the beauty of it all, by spending time talking as a family about what you see and experience. Not only will this help everyone appreciate the moment more, it also helps to cement what you see as permanent memories to revisit in future.

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A final sensory pleasure for the whole family to enjoy, is to indulge in the fantastic range of tropical fruits, fresh fish and local vegetables that are available for you during your trip. Tropical Fruits like Paw Paw (Papaya), Guava, Cashew, Pineapple, Passion Fruit, Banana, Soursop, Sapodilla, Coconut, Breadfruit, Sorrel and Mango are popular, and can be found fresh and plentiful. Try also the local Vegetables such as the spinach-like Callaloo, Plantains, Okra and Christophene, along with better known produce such as Sweet Potato and Yam. Introduce your family to these delights, and add an extra dimension to your trip, that they’ll recall every time they taste the flavours of the area again.

Plan to prevent problems 

Travelling with the family means getting organised to ensure everything goes smoothly, from the big things, like having insurance cover in place well in advance and that it extends to partaking on this kind of holiday, to the small, like making sure the kids choose a favourite toy to carry along. Some time spent in advance talking about what to expect, what wildlife and scenery you may see, and how the boat you have chosen operates, will help kids get excited in advance, and focused on enjoying the experience once they’re here. Age appropriate reads can be found to stimulate the discussion.

Read up on the likely climate for the time you plan to visit, to make sure you pack perfectly. Don’t forget to research and pick up any relevant performance clothing, or essential personal kit for your brood. Having the right gear means there’s no such thing as bad weather!

A family sailing holiday is a perfect mix of action adventure, meditative silence, dazzling nature, and family bonding, to mean every member of your party can have their ideal trip. Each journey is different, but what unites all our family sailing adventures is the fact you carry away with you a unique and unforgettable set of family memories to treasure.

Barefoot Contributor, Susie Lynam

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Your Barefoot Guide to Swimming with the Turtles

On your Barefoot Yacht Charter, discover the Tobago Cays, where you will find the only natural turtle sanctuary in the Grenadines. Grab your mask and snorkel and dive into the tropical, turquoise waters. 

“Sea turtles are one of the Earth’s most ancient creatures. The seven species that can be found today have been around for 110 million years, since the time of the dinosaurs. The sea turtle’s shell, or “carapace” is streamlined for swimming through the water. Unlike other turtles, sea turtles cannot retract their legs and head into their shells. Their color varies between yellow, greenish and black depending on the species” – Ocean Defenders

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 Turtle Facts:

  • Sea Turtles feed mainly on jellyfish, seaweed, crabs, shrimp, sponges, snails, algae and mollusks.
  • Much like salmon, Sea Turtles will return to the same nesting grounds at which they were born.
  • When females nest, they come to the shore and dig out a nest in the ground with their back flippers. They will bury their eggs and then return to the ocean.
  • A female may lay between 70-190 eggs in her nest depending on the species. When the young hatch out of their eggs, they make their way to the ocean.
  • Green sea turtles can stay under water for as long as five hours even though the length of a feeding dive is usually five minutes or less. Their heart rate slows to conserve oxygen: nine minutes may elapse between heartbeats.

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The Tobago Cays snorkel area is easy to navigate. Dotted along the inside of horseshoe reef you will find red or white moorings that you can use to secure your dinghy for your aquatic adventure. In your preparation, allow for current and always take a buddy with you . The best time for spotting turtles is either in the morning or late afternoon.

While on your bareboat adventure, look out for sea turtles all around. Especially on the eastern side of Baradal Island where an exclusion zone has been created. Snorkelers can share this space with the turtles.

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Be cautious when approaching a resting turtle and as you enter their space. Snorkelers should not grab turtles in any way as they could drown if they are moved in the wrong direction.

Respect the turtles and their habitat and they will give you a beautiful memory to last a lifetime!

If you see a turtle yawn or open their mouth wide, it could be a trigger that they are uncomfortable with the close encounter. If they are afraid or disturbed, they may swim deep or quickly move away from you. Allow them to do so. In extreme distress, they may swipe their flippers over their forehead which is turtle talk for “flip off!”.

Turtles can swim in amazingly fast bursts.

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Sadly, these beautiful reptiles are now globally threatened with extinction and you can help to protect them and enjoy their beauty all at the same time.

It is important to know that the most common and largest threats to sea turtles are human related. While chemical spills and coastal development pose a large problem for marine life, entanglement in man-made garbage and ingestion of plastic bags (mistakenly thought to be jellyfish) are serious threats that affect the turtle population on a daily basis. A large proportion of this is sadly coming from recreational activities.

What we can do to help..

 Ocean Defender gives some helpful tips on how we can all help to reduce damage to Turtles and their habitats 

  • Reduce the Amount of Garbage You Produce, and take an extra beach bag to Clean Up Trash You See On the Beach. Sea turtles often become tangled in plastic and trash both on the shore and in the water. Discarded items such as fishing lines, balloons and plastic bags may also be confused for food and eaten by sea turtles, often resulting in injury or death.
  • Be Aware of Sea Turtle Nesting Areas and Avoid Nesting and Hatching Turtles. Sea turtles are cute, and therefore tempting to touch and observe – but flashlights and people disturb turtles when they are nesting, or trying to nest, on the beach. Make sure to give nesting areas plenty of space, and do not disturb females as they emerge from the ocean looking for a place to nest. Also be conscious of where nesting areas are so that you can avoid trampling the hatchlings as they head to the water.
  • Reduce the Amount of Chemicals You Use. The chemicals you use in and around your boat may be discharged into the sea – killing plants and animals. It is very important to properly dispose of toxic chemicals and, even better, reduce the number of chemicals you use or find alternative products such as biodegradable solutions will help to save the turtles!
  • There are countless ways in which you can make a positive difference in the lives of sea turtles. Organize a clean-up day with your friends and clear the beach of litter, give a presentation to your neighborhood or local school on things they can do to save sea turtles, and most importantly, talk to others about what they can do to make sure they are not putting these important creatures in danger.

If you see something floating in the water, jump into your dinghy and pick it up. You will most likely be saving a turtle’s life. Enjoy your turtle time in the Tobago Cays and creating magical moments with these beautiful, treasured reptiles.

“There are sea turtles everywhere, foraging right below our feet, peaceful but fearless. Nothing about them appears passive, so thick skinned and strong. I want to be like that, wise, peaceful and perfectly equipped to deal with anything. ” Michael J. Fox

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Meet Barefoot’s Sailing School Instructor

Two years down and more to go

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Nancy Hancock

Nancy Hancock, ASA Sailing Instructor for Barefoot Offshore Sailing School

For 2 years now, I have worked as a Sailing Instructor at Barefoot Offshore Sailing School – who would have thought it – after a 25 year career as a clothing designer/manufacturer and mother of 4 grown sprogs that I would be doing this 10 years later.

Well perhaps I did have an inkling of it when I first took sailing lessons 17 years ago – and got well and truly hooked. No different from most of the students I teach here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, many of whom cannot believe what they have ventured into when we set sail from the Blue Lagoon on the south shores of St. Vincent (where Barefoot Offshore Sailing School is based) and head across the Bequia Strait on a beam or broad reach to Bequia.

After seeing their nervous reaction to the seas I often laughingly ask them if they know where they are, “Where is this place you’ve chosen to take your sailing lessons?” – blank response – my answer “the Windward Islands” and the look of realization always makes me laugh. And in 6 days these same people are taking the same Bequia Strait upwind back to Barefoot in the Blue Lagoon happily crashing through the waves and loving every minute of it. And they always want to know exactly how high these waves are for the purpose of bragging rights of course.

The American Sailing Association 101 to Bareboat Skipper curriculum we teach here at Barefoot, and the location in which we teach it is the perfect blend of information mixed with hands on experience, and of course FUN.

This live-aboard offshore sailing school travels from the Blue Lagoon to Bequia, to Tobago Cays, Union Island, Petite St. Vincent, Mayreau, Canouan and back. It includes living aboard, which takes a bit of getting used to, but is totally embraced by all of our adventure seekers, and everywhere we go after anchoring we’re in the water, and every location we sail to has fabulous snorkelling. For many students this is the first time they have snorkelled in water that is so clear it feels like you’re flying above eagle rays, turtles, barracudas, moray eels, squid and more, all living in underwater gardens of an infinite variety of corals and sponges.

We prepare food together on board some nights and on others we eat at a couple of really fabulous and reasonable restaurants, but the eating out experience most of my students take away as the best is when Tim cooks them a family style meal in a shack on the beach called “Bolheads”, why bolhead? Because the owner is bald?

Barefoot Sailing School

Barefoot Sailing School

And in 6 days many of the students, especially those with some previous sailing experience are confident, competent sailors. And most of the time our small group has become very fond of each other and tears are sometimes shed when we part, and invitations to each other’s homes.   There is also much talk about the boats they will buy and my opinion of how to conduct their research etc.   That’s when I feel I have done a really good job. They are as hooked as I was. So when I hand over their log books I strongly urge them to take the logging of their sailing time seriously. Who knows, they might want to pay it forward some time in the future.

I’ve just finished teaching my last course this season and am now preparing my boat, MoondancerX – my home, for a leisurely sail down to Grenada where I will leave her for the hurricane season, and then home to Vancouver Island, British Columbia to spend the summer with my children, grand children and friends.  Not sure how much sailing I’ll be able to do while I’m there, and I do still love to sail in our Gulf Islands, but as the summer wanes I’ll be thinking of my second home in St. Vincent and the job of a lifetime which I am so lucky to have at this time in my life – a combination of all that I love to do – Sail, Snorkel, Dive, and teach while I introduce people from all walks of life to what I have learned and what I hope they would also love to.

So I’ll be back for my third year with Barefoot Offshore Sailing School in the fabulous Windward Islands – St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where I know I will meet with past students who are coming back for more, and for the new recruits whose expressions always make me chuckle when we head out of the Blue Lagoon, sailing across the Bequia Strait on their first foray.

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Carnival in St Vincent and the Grenadines with Barefoot Yacht Charters

What to do? You want to spend your bareboat yacht charter vacation on a relaxing sail with Barefoot Yacht Charters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but you also want to jump up and party at Carnival.

Our multi-island nation has rural Carnival activities which extend from mid-June to August in the Grenadines so you can enjoy the best of sailing, salt, sea and party!

Two islands in particular have unique elements in their celebrations, yet still retain the flavor of Vincy Mas:

  1. Bequia Carnival from June 20 – 23; and

  2. Canouan Carnival, a whole week of exciting shows and street parties from July 25 to August 1.

Dazzle your senses and sweat out the stress at Carnival, then recuperate on a sail perhaps to another Grenadine island where more adventures await, for each isle has its own history and ambience. Or just stay on board and be lulled into a deep relaxation until it’s time to jump up again.

Sailing in the Grenadines is line of sight sailing which means it is just short hop from one island to the next. You can enjoy the local ambience, festivities of Carnival in any capacity you choose. Whether you join in the celebrations or simply enjoy the culture and music from your yacht.

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You can have your perfect holiday, and Barefoot Yacht Charters can make it happen!

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Barefoot’s Yacht “Malisi” Assists In Search For Missing Yacht

Barefoot Yacht Charters’ yacht Malisi, taking part in the ARC Europe race, joins the search for missing yacht Cheeki Rafiki and her crew.

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Cheeki Rafiki, a sailing yacht from Southampton, was returning home to the UK, following the Antigua Race Week when the crew of 4 encountered difficulties. During a primary search for the yacht, an upturned vessel was located however the 4 crew members are still missing.

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The Barefoot yacht Malisi (Outremer 64) will shortly arrive in the area of predicted drift of Cheeki Rafiki and begin a search pattern.

Malisi is managed by our company – Barefoot Yacht Charters of St Vincent and the Grenadines. She has a highly experienced crew and is a very fast yacht capable of speeds of up to 20 knots.

Having sailed south of the rhumb line route from Bermuda to the Azores, to avoid the cut-off gale, Malisi altered course during the night, after conditions moderated, and made for the drift area.

Information on the location of PLB transmissions, possible hull sighting, and the predicted drift area was provided via Stormforce Coaching from US Coastguard (USCG) in Boston during last night (19/20 May).

This information has also been passed to the other yachts taking part in ARC Europe and currently on passage from Bermuda to Horta, Azores.

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Malisi skipper, Patrick Michel, reported at 0835UTC today to be sailing “8kts towards the upturned yacht”

Malisi skipper, Patrick Michel, reported at 0835UTC today “The sun has risen and we are now in position 038-07N, 048-34.9W, doing 8kts towards the upturned yacht. 8.1nm to go, ETA 1000UT”. Once in the area Patrick Michel will start a search pattern based on analysis of the wind speeds, and swell direction on the last reported positions of PLBs and the upturned hull.

The ARC Europe boats were sailing much further south than Cheeki Rafiki , however, as the weather has now moderated, it may be easier for them to make a more northerly course. As the reported upturned hull is floating low in the water, it is a potential hazard to other vessels, and all yachts have been advised to maintain a good lookout whilst in the predicted drift area. Information on the location and communications equipment of the ARC Europe boats has been passed to USCG Boston.

“All of us here at Barefoot are very proud of the decision, made by the crew of Malisi, to suspend racing and go to the aid of our missing colleagues. Their decision is a selfless one and we have no doubt they will do everything in their power to bring the boys home”, said Philip Barnard.

Be Our Guest In St Vincent

Before you begin to hop your way through the 32 islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, why not spend some time visiting the home of Barefoot Yacht Charters and become one with the gorgeous lagoons, turquoise waters and unforgettable volcanic sand beaches of St Vincent.

Stay in our beautifully appointed Barefoot Suites and allow us to assist you plan your adventures or take an unplanned sail along the east coast and find yourself in magical untouched anchorages. Drop your anchor in tranquil bays and set foot on areas that appeared in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

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Become one with nature, hike to rivers and waterfalls, dive colourful reef and visit the breathtaking Mt Soufriere. There is so much to do on this beautiful island, you could add a new adventure to your list each time to visit.

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Why Start Your Charter From St. Vincent?

We’re right on the doorstep of the Grenadines

Whilst international air access is easier to Grenada or St Lucia than it is to St Vincent, there are several reasons why choosing to start your charter from one of these locations is going to cause you loss of valuable vacation time and considerable additional expense and hassle.

Starting from St Lucia to the north means that you’re going to have to start your charter with a 68-mile sail, including a 5-hour open-ocean passage, in order to reach the Grenadines. Similarly, starting from Grenada will entail a 6 or 7 hour sail, including a 3 hour open-ocean passage – and usually hard on the wind – in order to reach Carriacou, first of the Grenadines north of Grenada. It’s really not a great way to start a charter, particularly if you have inexperienced guests in your party.

Starting from Grenada or St Lucia also means that you are going to have to go through Customs and Immigration clearance procedures when entering or leaving St Vincent & The Grenadines. These procedures can be expensive and time-consuming and will also force you to stop at a specific Port of Entry when entering or leaving the St Vincent Grenadines.

Starting from St Vincent puts you right on the doorstep of the Grenadines. Bequia is only an hour’s sail over the channel. You’ve worked hard for your vacation, and every day counts. There are no Customs and Immigration clearance requirements when sailing within St Vincent & The Grenadines, no clearance fees to pay, and no forms to fill out and e-mail.