Posts

, , ,

7 Reasons to Sail in Summer!

There are so many great reasons to sail in summer and it’s not just for the amazing deals available in off-season.

La Mouette, in the Tobago Cays – (Photo: Mark Pratley, Barefoot Yacht Charters)

The Caribbean in the summer gets a lot of bad press…it’s too hot, it rains a lot, there’s a risk of tropical storms…but for some, including us, cruising in The Grenadines is better in the summer and here’s why.

First let’s address the hurricane risk.  The Atlantic hurricane season is officially from 1 June to 30 November. Statistically tropical storms are more likely to form in the north and The Bahamas and Bermuda have more to worry about than St Vincent and The Grenadines, which is considered to be at the southern edge of the hurricane belt.

With sophisticated weather forecasting, you can get at least 3 days’ notice of any potential problems.  Barefoot Yachting check almost obsessively the weather patterns and if there is any cause for concern they can get you and your yacht to safety. Quickly.

And yes. it is hot and it does rain in the summer, but it doesn’t rain every day and it never rains for long. Everything gets dried out quickly. It’s hot here all year long and whilst it may be a little hotter in the summer, on your yacht you will always get the sea breeze to cool you down.  Still hot? Just jump in and go for a swim.

Petit Tabac, Tobago Cays

Petit Tabac, Tobago Cays – (Photo: Mark Pratley, Barefoot Yacht Charters)

So now there is no reason not to sail in the off season but what are the benefits?

  1. For starters you will get a good deal on your charter, or on a sailing course through BOSS. Less demand means lower prices for you. Not only that but you will get a wider choice of yachts available.
  2. Ironically, despite being hurricane season, in general the winds are a little lighter and the sea state more comfortable than in the winter. Perfect sailing weather.
  3. The crowds have gone! You don’t have to miss out on a great days sailing by having rush to get a mooring buoy, or a decent spot in the anchorage.  Tobago Cays without a hundred other yachts there!
  4. The islands are completely different in the summer. They have a much more relaxed feel about them because not everyone is chasing a dollar or two and coping with the hoards. You feel you’re getting to know the true Grenadines.
  5. You may get good deals on mooring buoys, just ask what their summer rate is.
  6. Less queues at the bars and restaurants, better service, less waiting.
  7. The shops won’t run out of ice!

So, a bargain boat, good sailing, no crowds and ice for your Rum Punch.  It’s a no brainer really.

Join us for summer 2017! www.barefootyachts.com

, , ,

Barefoot Sailing for Valentines Day

Valentines Day or Saint Valentines Day is traditionally a special celebration of all things LOVE.

This auspicious day is fast approaching this year and is widely celebrated throughout the islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines. This time of year is a big deal in the islands and you can expect to find special events at the numerous restaurants as you sail in and out of your favourite bays.

At Barefoot Yacht Charters, we make it simple for you to enjoy a romantic day out on the water, loved up and stress free. Treat your loved one to a romantic day sail, a relaxing glass of wine as the sun goes down or a stunning sunset dinner on deck under the stars.

There are many ways to enjoy the best of this special day, making the most of the stunning beaches, scenic walks, sunset spots and charming islands restaurants.

Romantic-Beach-hd-wallpaper-1920x1200

Sail down the islands early to enjoy your romantic day relaxing in the Tobago Cays. Go for a gentle kayak or snorkel with the turtles by day then enjoy the romantic hours on the water at night.

Couple-Love-Beach-Romance-HD-Wallpapers

Take a sunset stroll along white sand beaches and watch the spectacular sunset as the sky turns shades of watermelon, rose pink and coral then spend the evening on your private charter boat under the stars.

BOSS National GeographicArrange a picnic rug and dinner (try Driftwood’s gourmet meals for the perfect romantic ‘to-go’ meals), a bottle of wine and enjoy an intimate dinner on any one of the beautiful west-facing beaches!

Enjoy dinner at Driftwood Restaurant on St Vincent, the cozy Bagatelle’ on the stunning Friendship Beach or the famous Basil’s Bar in Mustique. Many other restaurants often have special events on this special day.

Lover-romantic-beach-walk-wallpapers-download

Whatever you dream of this Valentines Day, these beautiful islands have you covered.

, ,

Grenadines Magical Coral Reefs

St Vincent and the Grenadines Show-Stopping Coral Reefs

Throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barefoot Yacht Charters transports snorkellers and divers to diverse and magical worlds of healthy, living, revitalised coral reefs.  Four islands in SVG have been designated as Marine Conservation Areas; additionally, there’s one Marine Reserve and two Marine Parks, one of which, Tobago Cays-Mayreau, also has Marine Reserve status.

The silent, seemingly effortless choreography of coral reefs belies the centuries it took to create these undersea spectacles – the ones we see today are 5,000 to 10,000 years old.  Compare that to a major Broadway production that might take a few years to produce and, if lucky, a decade or two of performances.

Coral reefs are reality shows, real life on Earth – rare, awesome, slow in the making yet easy to destroy.   Worldwide, many coral reefs are degraded beyond recovery.  Even more are in critical condition.  In SVG, however, coral reefs are thriving and strong.  The Tobago Cays, for example, have been described by many sources as being one of the largest remaining pristine coral reef groups in the Windward Islands.

barefootsailing

 

The natural, underwater sets are constructed by tiny animals called “polyps,” which have calcium skeletons that connect to each other with living tissue to form communities.  They build on past skeletons so that only the top layers contain the living designers.  Pencil, brain, star corals, with sponges in a rainbow of colours, dark red gorgonians, Christmas tree and feather duster worms, and many other striking organisms complement the scenery.

The cast includes vaudevillian types of otherworldly characters clothed in varying and vibrant costumes: weaving chromis, creole wrasse and boga; fascinating entertainers such as frogfish, seahorses, flying gurnard and white-spotted octopus; and the lovely butterfly, angel and trumpet fish and sea turtles to name but a few.

resize_1334242368

But even SVG’s coral reefs aren’t immune to the ravages on their ecosystems, both of the natural kind (e.g., hurricanes, rising sea surface temperatures) and man-made (litter, chemicals, etc.).  As one person on a planet of billions, you can do your part to save coral reefs by being aware of, and reducing, your own carbon footprints and by voicing your concerns over such things as overfishing and oil spills.

On a more immediate and specific level: anchor on sand rather than near reefs or use moorings if available; do not touch any of the sensitive corals; stay off the bottom because stirred-up sediment can settle on coral and smother them.  Use environmentally-friendly products; don’t throw any kind of garbage into the sea; properly treat sewage; only empty holding tanks at pump out stations or when more than three miles offshore in the open sea.  There are other ways to preserve the world’s coral reefs, but that’s a start.

tobago-cays-turtle

 

Let Barefoot Yacht Charters guide you to the various extravaganzas that play beneath the sea throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  The St Vincent and the Grenadines Coral Reefs are bound to make your trip unforgettable. They’re all box-office hits, sure to please and inspire, amaze and electrify.

Enjoy your dream vacation!

,

Meet Barefoot’s Sailing School Instructor

Two years down and more to go

Boss Logo

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.