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5 Travel Tips for your Caribbean Vacation

Planning, packing and traveling to your favourite travel destination may be inevitable, but feeling stressed in the process isn’t. Today we share our top tips on how to plan, create and enjoy a memorable Caribbean holiday.

  1. Pack Light. We have all overpacked at some point in our traveling lives and in some instances we do require that extra jacket, hat or pair of jeans during our travel.. but many times it just ends up following you home unused at the end of the trip. Our tip? Only pack the essentials. Pack only what you need and then allow 1 or 2 extra items. You will feel lighter, probably find you still don’t need all of it and airports will become a lot more enjoyable for the whole family. Download your FREE Packing Checklist to help you choose the items that are most important for you! 
  2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Travel is mostly exciting because of the journey and experiences, however we also get excited during the planning process which is also an important part of the thrill. A little planning can perfectly assist in creating a fun-filled vacation but it’s very easy to go overboard on the planning which can turn into stress. Many of us have tried to ‘make the most’ of a vacation at some point only to be disappointed if it doesn’t work out ‘perfectly’. Remember if you’re in the islands with those you love, it’s already perfect! Avoid trying to create the magical experience and simply just be present and enjoy each moment as it happens naturally.
  3. Boost your body. Give yourself a travel health kick 1 week prior to sailing. Add some extra B Vitamins and Vitamin C into your intake during the last week and boost your body for travel. B Vitamins can help lower stress levels and prevent mosquito bites and Vitamin C may help to prevent seasickness and reduce the risk of contracting colds and flu while traveling.
  4. Use your boat extras. Your boat is your home on water for a week or more so why not make the most of its facilities? Plan a beautiful BBQ night on board one evening, create a romantic star lit dinner in the cockpit, sit on the bow with a cocktail for sunsets, use your snorkel gear and water sports gear to enjoy the beautiful reefs and surrounds at your leisure
  5. Take only memories, leave only footsteps. Make lasting memories through photography, video, connections and laughter. Look at the gorgeous fish, coral, shells, flora and animal life around the islands. Although you may be tempted to touch, remember all the beauty that is there will await your next visit. Leave your footprints and sand castles and take your photographs, stories and life long memories. 

Just like life itself, sailing often comes with many different experiences. Some planned and others unexpected. As much as we strive to deliver the very best charter experience for you, how much you enjoy the ride is really up to you! Look at each encounter as an opportunity and let your island journey take you on an adventure of a lifetime. Relax, learn, play and enjoy every moment! Feel happy knowing that you’ve done your research and are making the best decisions for you and your family.  You’ve put the work into creating this trip and it’s time to reap the rewards.

It’s time to relax and enjoy your holiday!

From the Barefoot Family

 

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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

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Barefoot’s Safer Sunscreen Checklist

It is now possible to choose our level of sun protection and ingredients in the sunscreen we use when we are sailing thanks to the Barefoot Yacht Charters Safer Sunscreen Checklist!

We all need some sunlight because it gives us 80% of the Vitamin D that we need, the trick is not to burn.

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Photo – Mark Pratley, Barefoot Yacht Charters

If you are sailing in The Grenadines, then you are going to be spending a lot of time in the cockpit.  Even if you have your bimini up, you are still going to be exposed from the reflection from the water.  Protecting the skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is important for both preventing skin cancer and reducing the rate of skin aging.

Depending on your skin tone, between 10-20 minutes a day of sunlight is good for you. Beyond that we need to think about protecting our skin from the harmful UV rays.

You can reduce exposure by following some simple principles:

  • Avoid going out in the sun.
  • Wear long sleeves and a hat
  • Sit in the shade

Doesn’t sound like a fun holiday right?

So now we need to consider sunscreens.  The most widely available sunscreens are chemical based and work mainly by absorbing UV light. Most penetrate the skin to some degree, can enter the bloodstream and cause serious health conditions.

As a follower of the Barefoot Lifestyle I try to avoid synthetic chemicals as much as I can and this applies to sunscreens.

My reasons why? Because some of the ingredients can release free radicals in sunlight, act like oestrogen and therefore disrupt hormones, cause allergic reactions and skin irritations.

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Photo – Mark Pratley, Barefoot Yacht Charters

In addition, when we jump into the sea we are releasing these chemicals and there is some evidence that it is causing coral bleaching by promoting viral infections.

Recent studies on sunscreen also suggest that the

“titanium dioxide in sunscreens is largely responsible for dramatic spikes in hydrogen peroxide levels in coastal waters with potentially dangerous consequences for aquatic life”.

Tony Gibbons Beach, Bequia

Tony Gibbons Beach, Bequia

At present sunscreens have no rigorous safety standards.

Until recently, anyone who didn’t want to use these toxic chemicals had to make their own sunscreens using natural ingredients with a natural SPF such as non-Nano zinc oxide, Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, and Shea Butter.

This is a great, fun thing to do, but when it comes to packing for your holidays it is more convenient to be able to buy something off the shell…one less thing to worry about! The good news is that the market place has embraced natural sunscreens and there are a few to choose from such as Erbaviva Sunscreen or Purple Prairie SunStuff. Barefoot Yacht Charters also carry a local Caribbean brand of natural sunscreen at the Barefoot Yacht Charters Boutique. Ask our lovely front desk ladies for more information!

To help you, Barefoot Yacht Charters have created a Safer Sunscreen Checklist to help you choose which sunscreen product to buy.  Get your copy here!

 

 

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St Vincent and the Grenadines – Zika Virus FREE

The rapid spread of Zika virus through the Americas, together with the association of infection with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, have propelled this previously ignored virus into the limelight. 

Says Professor Esper Kallas of University of San Paolo, Brazil.

What is Zika?

Zika fever is transmitted among humans by mosquito bites. It is a member of the flavivirus family, which includes the dengue virus.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outline that “most individuals (75%) infected with Zika virus experience mild or no symptoms”. About 25% of infected people develop symptoms 2-10 days after infection in four people may develop mild flu symptoms and a light rash that can last between two and seven days.

The World Health Organisation says people affected should drink plenty of fluids, ensure they rest regularly and treat pain and fever with common medicines.

Which countries are affected?

The World Health Organization has placed travel notices for those countries experiencing the transmission of the ZIKA virus.

This list of countries currently includes the US Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S territory, Saint Martin, Barbados, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti and Jamaica. A map on the Pan American Health Organisation website is updated weekly.

Should we be concerned about Zika in St Vincent and the Grenadines?

There have been no reports of the Zika virus in the islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and no travel notices are issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

If you are traveling to and from St Vincent and the Grenadines, do keep in mind that travelers who visit a country where Zika is found could still become infected if bitten by a mosquito in those areas (download our checklist to help avoid this HERE). Imported cases may result in local spread of the virus.

Prevention for Travelers

When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses are spread by mosquitoes, it is important to take precaution:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

We have created a special Mosquito Prevention Travel Checklist for you to download below to help you reduce your risk of mosquito bites wherever you go!

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created a checklist for travellers which you can download directly from our checklist. We are dedicated to keeping you healthy and happy!

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We want you to experience the very best of the Grenadines with nothing to worry about except which island to which you would like to set sail 🙂

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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It’s the Season to be Sailing!

It’s the season to be sailing!

How about a tropical sailing Christmas? ? Have you ever wanted to just sail away from it all? Anchor off an uninhabited island, swim, snorkel, relax and watch the sunset in pure Island Life.

Clear water, soft sand, perfect breeze and good vibes

This is the perfect description of this time of year in St Vincent and the Grenadines, 32 islands that can easily become yours!

With no customs to concern you, no shopping queues or to-do lists. Just a sailing holiday getaway in paradise.

Tropical Christmas

A Tropical Sailing Christmas in Tobago Cays

This year, Christmas falls on a full moon, which means one of our favourite islands, Union Island will be hosting the best Full Moon Party of 2015 on Clifton beach at sunset. From Happy Island to Clifton beach, you can bar hop and experience the best this island has to offer by sea. Clear water, warm breeze, soft sand and a rum punch in hand!

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Union Island Full Moon Party!

We love to treat our guests like family and one of the best ways we do this is by inviting them to join our Barefoot Family! Life at Barefoot Yachts is relaxed, friendly and laid back. Just as Caribbean life should be! We take care of everything for you so you can arrive, unwind and enjoy every minute of your well deserved vacation! It’s a Breeze!

No matter where you are this Christmas, we wish you the most wonderful holiday season. From our family to yours!!

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Wishing the most wonderful Holiday Season and all the very best that 2016 has to offer! May all your dreams come true. May you always find your true north and forever have wind in your sails.

“To reach a port we must set sail –
Sail, not tie at anchor
Sail, not drift.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

See you Next Year!

Barefoot Yachts – 3 Generations of Selfless Sailors

Barefoot Yacht Charters has a love of Sailing…and Animals

Barefoot Yacht Charters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines sails smoothly in the capable hands of founder/owner Mary Barnard. It’s therefore no surprise that the same drive and dedication she puts into Barefoot Yacht Charters extends to her volunteer work as president of the non-profit Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Mary Barnard

Mary Barnard

Mary is not alone in her love for animals. Her daughter Leslie Barnard and partner Winston Ferguson, owners of the Driftwood Restaurant and Lounge at Barefoot Yacht Charters, are both on the VSPCA’s board of directors. Three happy canines – Lily, Lulu and Peipo – are part of the menagerie residing at the homes of Barefoot operations manager Philip Barnard and director of the Barefoot Offshore Sailing School, James Ward (Mary’s son and grandson). The dogs (two are rescues) usually spend their days lounging around one office or the other as their owners work to ensure fabulous yachting vacations for their guests.

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Three generations of sailing lovers…and animal lovers.

To find out about the history, activities and achievements of the VSPCA from its incorporation in October 2011 to present, go to their website, www.vincentianspca.org or Facebook. What isn’t chronicled is that of the first president, Kiersten Anderson, was the hull of the VSPCA’s massive undertaking in its early months, then Mary Barnard is the superstructure itself.

President for two years, Mary oversees the dedicated service of less than a dozen active volunteers – all with jobs, businesses, families and pets of their own to tend to, and without a central location to work from. But that doesn’t stop them from organizing fundraisers; managing the accounts; writing grant proposals; ordering pharmaceuticals; handling advertising; creating brochures and flyers; answering questions via phone and email; maintaining a website; picking up and storing donated food, medicines, collars, auction items, etc.; dealing with legal issues; educating the public… Plus the actual hands-on work of rescuing animals in crisis and finding them foster and adoptive homes, and organizing/working at the VSPCA’s community spaying and neutering clinics for the pets of low-income families throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Owner donations average about 10 percent of the VSPCA’s clinic costs, but the journey continues towards a zero-population growth of SVG’s dogs and cats. Preventing this cruelty – that of allowing thousands of our companion animals to be born into a lifetime of hunger, disease and pain – is one of the VSPCA’s top priorities.

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In addition to ensuring a steady course towards its goals, Mary also plunges into her role as ambassador, mediator and head schmoozer, as she coaxes her way through countless obstacles of apathy and even distain, and the proverbial red tape seen in governments, private organizations and individuals. But with a captain’s determination to weather adverse conditions she convinces others that the work and the recipients of the VSPCA are worthy to receive assistance in any form: financial, in duty-free concessions, visiting-vet work permits, donations of goods and services, and on and on.

Clearly, with Mary Barnard at the helm of Barefoot Yacht Charters and the VSPCA, and with family and crew aiming towards ideal destinations, both visitors and animals will continue to receive the consideration, care and commitment they deserve.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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5 Top Tips for Cooking on your Charter Boat

5 TOP TIPS

Before you know it, it’s that time to provision for your charter and cooking tasty meals on board your charter boat can take time and effort in planning and preparation.

It it is important to us that you and your guests have time on board to enjoy your vacation.

Here are 5 simple tips to cooking easily in your galley!

1. Healthy Energy-Filled Snacks

Do ever notice how you always feel hungrier at sea? Whether it is the sun, sea or salt, food always tends to be on the mind a little more when we are at sea. Whether you are trimming sails, pulling sheets, maneuvering the helm or balancing and moving with the movement of the ocean, your body will likely be functioning at a higher level or even just differently than what it would be at home. To make sure you and your crew are fueled, energized and satisfied, serve simple healthy snacks on your charter boat throughout the day. These may consists of fruit, chopped vegetables, dips, nuts etc. Hummus dip is one of our favourites for a quick go-to high protein, high energy snack.

Another favorite is this 5-Minute Guacamole that can be made quickly and easily on board your charter boat.

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5-Minute Tasty Guacamole Recipe

Ingredients

2 large, ripe avocados, pitted.
⅓ cup fresh salsa sauce
Juice from 1 lime
Sea salt, to taste

Directions

Mash the avocado in a bowl using a fork. Add salsa and lime juice. Add salt to taste and mix well.
Serve immediately with chopped veggies or fresh tortilla chips. If you are storing your guacamole, place the pit of the avocado into the dip, seal with a lid and place it in the fridge or cooler to prevent it from turning brown.

2. Meal Planning

It is a great idea to plan your meals in advance to remove the decision making each day. If everyone knows in advance what they are having, where the snacks are located and what to prepare lunches, the workload can be shared. Prepare a meal plan for yourself and your crew or ask our trusty on-site Nutritionist about meal planning or ask about our pre-prepared meals and chef packs to reduce your galley hours while on your charter! Once you have a list of all the meals you would like, you can generate your shopping list with the exact number of items you will need to purchase or you can choose to have provisioning prepared for you by Barefoot Yacht Charters.

Download our simple meal planning Menu Template to help create your charter menu. Reach out to our Lifestyle Consultant if you would like assistance planning your meals.

3. Bring your favourites

Bring your favourite spices and condiments with you on your charter boat! Barefoot Yacht Charters keeps some provisioning at the base and St Vincent has a wide array of local produce and the supermarkets do have some imported goods, however you may not find everything your taste buds desire so bring along any spices and sauces that you simply love.

4. Food Storage

Food storage space can be limited on the charter boat and most often, there is an ice box but you may have no freezer. Choose drinks that can be purchased and stored at room temperature add some non-perishable items to your menu wherever possible to help your provisioning to last longer on your charter boat.

5. Eat Fresh First

Organise your meals based on the freshness of ingredients. Plan for meals made with perishable foods as well as others made with canned ingredients. Eat the most perishable items first (fresh fish, dairy and eggs), and keep the meals based on canned foods or ingredients that keep well at room temperature for the end of the trip. Request frozen meals and pre-parared 10-minute DIY meals from the Barefoot Yachts provisioning options. Purchase frozen marinated meats from our restaurant; they will aid to keep the other food cold and will defrost gradually in the fridge.

As part of Barefoot Yacht Charters and the Barefoot Lifestyle, we endeavor to make your sailing vacation as stress free, relaxation and enjoyable as possible. Look out for our exciting new Chef Select Provisioning options to take the heat out of the galley and give you some extra time for sailing and seeing the islands!

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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