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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

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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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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Learn to Sail in the Caribbean

Earn ASA (American Sailing Association) Certification during our Liveaboard Sailing Courses in the beautiful Grenadines. We offer One Week Basic, Catamaran and Advanced Coastal Cruising sailing courses.

Already have Basic Certification? Barefoot Offshore Sailing School offers Weekend Courses which will take you to the next level. All this and a Caribbean vacation a lifetime!

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