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Our brand new 2020 Bali 4.1 “Viewfinder” is on her way to her new home in blue Lagoon, St Vincent with the famous ARC race!

 

As we wish Jonathon Davis and his crew all the very best in this Trans Atlantic race from Las Palmas to the beautiful Caribbean waters, we share a little of their adventure along the way.

Meet the Crew!

Francis, Alex, Kelcie and Jonathon

Francis joins us from Montreal.  He’s the most enthusiastic of the bunch and brings joy to the trip.  Without his curiosity and tech savvy we’d be sunk and you’ld have to find something else to read.

Alex is a captain in his own right.  Joining us from Mallorca, he’s been onboard since day 1.  The differences in culture and cuisine have been invaluable to the trip and much of these influences stem from Alex.

Kelcie is our caretaker and amazing in every way.  In addition to holding a captains license and all of the delivery duties, she’s keeping ya’ll informed and feeding us better than anyone deserves.

There are too many food ics on the internet but not enough from the middle of The Atlantic…stay tuned.

Dave and Jonathon are friends of 30 years.  He’s spent more time on the water as a paraplegic than most captains ever will.  As Executive Director of Turning Point Gulf Coast Dave has helped countless others over the years and I would attribute his extreme contentment to that.

Jonathon’s sailed a lot of miles and learned a lot of things over the years.  Opinions vary, but most have one….

Day 1: The Start

The start. A mad rush to the start. With the impending race and the rush to find a drill to complete our final tasks… We are happy to admit we were only 5 minutes late to the start and we still found a drill and were ale to complete our outstanding tasks.

Early morning was met with processional check outs and emotional check ins. With a final boat rub down and clean up we had a fiasco we’re calling a rescue for emergency rescue, between a dock and a hard place. The cap covering for our emergency steering location was off to show off our newly fabricated and yet another completely mcgiver-ed success, our emergency tiller. During our crazed dash for a quick an complete clean up the cap was inadvertantly kicked off the boat. Continuing with the theme of crazed dashes, our much needed cap followed suit and promptly, no immediately sank 8 meters into a deep dark abysmal fecal and urine filled waterway that lie below our beloved vessel. With much shock and dismay and not least of which disappointment, Alex stood there realizing the fact of what was unfolding next. Not just a casual dip into the sea green with inky undertones water but a dive 8 meters down into a water wasteland.

Francis, an innocent bystander could not only see the overwhelming devastation of what had just occurred rose up to help his comrade in need. He immediately sprang into action, grabbed his mask snorkel and flippers changed into his swim trunks and dove in before the reality of what he was about to do sank in after our cap sank down. A few explicative provided a colorful commentary on water temperature, filthy salt water, and an impressive depth filed with treasure. After a few dives it was a raging success. As crew we cheered in unison celebrating this epic feat and victory before our Captain was any of the wiser.

Our drill had died so our captain borrowed one from a neighboring boat, “The second blue one”, he said when we asked where we needed to return it. We received this borrowed drill in hand and got immediately to work.

With about 30 percent finished, not even half an hour worth of work and BLAM….our the borrowed drill died. Cue our captain in yet another pursuit of another drill, this time not a borrowed one. He sought a drill of his own. On a Sunday in Las Palmas it’s almost a sure bet what you need to be open won’t be. Alas he never did find his own drill but with more creative thinking he quickly called his friend who was supposed to be in the arc but his trip was cancelled due to his captain taking a punch to the face knocking out two teeth.

So after that guy’s trip to the dentist and some ill will against the crew member who hit him the trip was called off. So luckily for us we now had access to a drill! With stars in his eyes, our captains that is we waited with building anticipation for a new borrowed drill. Some time passed and we cheered as he came down the dock hand delivering this drill. Our captain was more than quick to his feet and was like a mad man drilling holes everywhere he could think we would potentially need them since we no longer have a drill of our own.

Some backstory…. Our drill died after a drilling accident that had something to do with drilling holes in our beloved vessel at the waterline. You have probably guessed how it died… it met its maker….water. It got wet and died. With our captains crazed drilling session he was successful and we were able to continue our final tasks right up until the start and a little afterwards.

Spinning on our second rotation in route to our third and it is safe to say we are beyond a jibe. Onto our 4th rotation and all of the warm fuzzy feelings are gone. I am no seasoned sailor but this is strange. Rotating still with our spot tracker flashing gives off an ominous vibe and with distant yells from our captain… I don’t know what is happening.

Things are falling all around us and the rotations are still in constant supply. Another jibe. At this point I have lost track of rotations. The slamming on the boat is intense. David and I are in the main salon while the rest of the crew are up on deck. The motor has come down some and the rotations have subsided. Joe complete and another assumed success. Success is a loaded term and come to find out no success at all. Reason of which the captain came in arms up tossed off his life vest, tore off his jacket threw it down and exclaimed this is going to be a long three weeks. Christmas in Cape Verdes.

What is next is unknown, truth be known I am terrified to ask and for the time being I will remain out of the way and ready for instruction if such arises. Moments later…. “The spinnaker is being put in its bag…without being in it’s convenient sock. Not a good sign”, David mentions. Francis comes down looking a bit defeated and says “The spinnaker has been ripped to shreds. Its no longer in working order.” RIP WINGGAKER. A cup of coffee, a cigarette, and a complete surrender, the Captain exclaims, “Head us for the Cape Verdes”. A minor victory, the fishing pole survived the chaos, our captain looks up with a grin and a touch of sarcasm and says “Oh now there’s something for us to do.’

 

 

While there are many beautiful spots throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines that will take your breath away, life below the keel is a huge reason to visit the islands all by itself.

Swimming and snorkeling with the turtles, eagle rays, octopus, nurse sharks. Magical coral reef and colourful reef fish are among some of our charterers top things to do while sailing.

We have special secret spots we will be sharing with you in our video blog this year. This month, we have given you a glimpse into what your trip could look like below sea level.

Download our FREE PDF on 7 BEST Snorkel Spots in the Grenadines HERE!

We enjoy all our underwater adventures in the islands but we have to tell you. Some spots are still our ultimate favourites. Even after 4 generations sailing these waters.

No. 7 on our list and by far not our least favourite in the islands, is Bequia. This tiny island is home to large eagle rays, turtles, seahorses, lobsters, crabs, octopus and a diverse range of reef fish and all within a short dinghy ride from your anchorage!

No. 6 is Canouan, a special little spot named L’isalot. It’s just a short dingy ride from the new marina in Canouan. A beautiful snorkel area with an abundance of sea life including some resident nurse sharks.

No. 5. is Union Island. The northern end of Union Island is home to Chatham Bay, a picturesque bay with great snorkeling! Spot large sea stars and turtles living in the reef. You may even hear the call of a whale or 2 in season.

Check out our favourite secret spot and all the details of our Top 7 Snorkel Spots in the free PDF. We give you our top tips for each spot and an idea of exactly what you will experience. Read through from no. 7 all the way up to the priceless no. 1 !

Look forward to seeing you beneath the sea.

The Barefoot Family

Barefoot yachts has a new fleet for sailing the grenadines on yacht charter in the caribbean.

We absolutely love this time of year in the Grenadines. It is such a special gift. The sun is shining, the breeze is perfect and days in the islands are filled with a special Christmas magic like no where else on earth.

This year we wanted to share a little of the magic with you, so we have decided to make your Christmas shopping a little easier and help find the most special presents for your loved ones.

Great news ! Barefoot Yacht Charters and Barefoot Offshore Sailing School are now offering Gift Certificates for courses in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Giving the gift of paradise is now easier than ever!

So now you and your family and friends can indulge in the Christmas magic that the Grenadines have to offer 🙂 no matter where you are this holiday season!

Mopion Island, St Vincent and the Grenadines

Below are a couple of our ultimate Christmas specials that are bound to thrill both the relaxation seeker and adventurer alike! Our Learn to Sail ASA courses and Barefoot Navigator courses have great Christmas discounts:

 

 

 

 

 

That’s not all. We are also giving away a FREE dinner at our Barefoot base Driftwood restaurant with every Gift Certificate purchased in December 2017.

Simply purchase a Gift Certificate for a loved one this month and we will gift a FREE dinner for 2 at our beautiful Driftwood restaurant !

Just email us at bookings@barefootyachts.com for more information!

Sending island magic your way this holiday season

The Barefoot Family

Driftwood Restaurant – Barefoot Yacht Charters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

Been waiting patiently to fly directly into St Vincent for your bareboat charter? The time for your fast travel to the islands may be arriving sooner than you think with the new airport.

St Vincent officials have publicly announced an opening date for the new Argyle International Airport.

According to Prime Minister, Ralph Gonzalves, on February 14, 2017 Argyle’s international airport will be ‘open for business’.

In planning and development since Aug 2008, St Vincent’s Argyle airport is intended to offer a nonstop service from North America, Central and South America and Europe to St. Vincent.

The Argyle passenger terminal will be comprised of three floors covering 129,870 square feet in total. The building will have a departure lounge, a rooftop restaurant, full flight facilities, a rooftop garden, a parking area and a large runway designed to accommodate large commercial aircraft.

The airport will also have a terminal building designed to specifically accommodate domestic flights in and out of St Vincent.

The Argyle airport is said to accommodate around 800 passengers at a time and up to 1.5 million passengers per year which will make it possible for many of us to travel less and spend more time doing all the things we love to do on vacation!

Photo by Mark Pratley, Barefoot Yacht Charters

A beautiful 32 islands and cays to discover. From the largest St. Vincent to the tiniest of all, Mopion. This tropical paradise will now be more accessible to those wanting to travel and explore all the beauty of the islands.

It may be time to sail more and fly less.

In planning your next sailing adventure or vacation, be sure to check in with the staff at Barefoot Yacht Charters to learn more about which airlines will be flying directly into St Vincent.

You never know. You may just be able to give yourself an extra day in paradise!

The Barefoot Family 

See some local news on Argyle International Airport here 

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!

 

 

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!

Travel Checklist Button

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 🙂

 

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 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.