A Real Review
Here is something different today. The following review was submitted to us by Dave and Jenny, the guests we had sailing with us for a week at the beginning of August. As everyone knows, we had a few challenges putting that trip all together. Rebecca and I feel extremely fortunate to have had such a cool couple join us. And for the record, we LOVE making new friends!
The four of us at a street party in Carriacou.
We were lucky enough to be the first group to “cash in” on Mike and Rebecca’s Real Sailing Adventure. I have long followed their journey and lived vicariously through them while planning for the day when I could break free as they did and sail off into the sunset.
My wife and I were in the midst of planning a trip for our 20th Anniversary when Mike announced that they would offer a week on their new boat in exchange for helping them acquire it. We talked it over and then reached out to Mike and told them we were in.
Our Anniversary was the first week of August and I hated that this caused additional pressure and urgency for Mike and Rebecca to find their next boat and get it back to Grenada in time. We nervously followed their Facebook feed as they searched for boats, searched for surveyors, bought one way tickets, battled dinghy engines and more as our arrival date approached. They worked feverishly right up until we arrived at the boat that Friday afternoon. They had barely done a shakedown cruise and here they were opening their new home up to complete strangers for a week. And people back at home thought we were crazy?
Our trip truly was a “Real Sailing Adventure” as advertised. We had beautiful and crappy weather. We had boat issues and glorious passages. We had danger and excitement, downtime and action. We had an amazing time.
It’s impossible to express every good thing that we experienced that week but I will highlight a few.
-Sailing! Of course. Sailing has got to be one of the most ancient forms of transportation known to man. I hope I never stop appreciating how cool it is to travel from one place to the other while burning very little fuel or energy.
-The people. Mike and Rebecca are amazing but if you have read their blog you already know that. We also met other cruisers that are friendly and full of life. And the people of Grenada are always happy and friendly. It is hard to be unhappy around such amazingly positive people.
-The scenery. We anchored at 4 different islands in 6 days. Each one with their own unique landscape. We saw beautiful water, beautiful trees, and a beautiful blue sky.
-Boat issues. I list this under the “Good” section because it’s real. We got to see first hand the issues that boaters have on a daily basis. Engine oil leak, bilge alarm going off due to a leak in the rudder post, broken windless due to a wiring issue, undersized anchor not holding firm. I knew going into this that you needed to be able to troubleshoot and fix things on your own. This trip confirmed that.
Repairing a bit of a wiring mixup.
At the risk of sounding negative, I think it’s only fair to point out some of the things that would bug most people about living on a sailboat. None of these are surprising, but until you really experience them you can’t appreciate their full effect on you. It really is like camping on the ocean.
-Heat. It gets hot in Oregon at times. Even hotter than Grenada if you look at the temperature. But the humidity caused me to drip with sweat if I wasn’t directly in a breeze. I made the mistake of trying to put sunblock on below deck thinking I would be out of the sun, and therefore would have dry skin to apply the sunblock to. Nope. Standing out in the direct sun with a breeze was much cooler. At night we had to close the hatch if a rain cloud passed by and I would instantly start sweating.
-Bathing. “Relax and take a bath in the deep blue Caribbean Sea…” I can see a travel brochure making this sound more exotic than it really is. It IS cool that I did bathe in the Caribbean, and I can’t wait to do it again. But I will do it differently next time. A bar of soap doesn’t foam up in salt water. At least not the one we used. So you are basically just rubbing it on you but not really getting clean. And it is a little difficult to hang on to the swim deck while the wind and current try and push you away as you try to wash your junk. Keep your trunks on because that barracuda thats been hanging out under the keel has sharp teeth. I will say that the shampoo does foam up nicely and I managed to maintain my Salon Quality hair the whole trip. That’s just how I roll. The alternative is to shower on deck (I’ll probably do that next time) or shower in the head. Each has their pros and cons. Privacy in the head, but then you add moisture in the boat. Washing on deck provides less privacy and the boat is moving so it’s hard to maintain your balance.
-Sea Sickness. I didn’t feed the fish. I didn’t really come close. But I did have a hard time doing anything other than tilting my head back and closing my eyes for a couple of the passages. It got better the more we sailed and I didn’t take any medication. I wanted to see how my body would do on its own. I give myself a C-. I think with more time at sea I will get better. If we were in a storm or rough seas I would have hurled big time. That one issue makes me nervous about my ability to do this long term.
-Danger. Rebecca almost got hit by 6 boats. Yes. SIX. We made the mistake of anchoring right in the path of an upcoming race and Rebecca had just dove in to check on the anchor boats started criss-crossing right on top of her. They all missed and everything ended up fine. But it was scary for a few seconds there. Being in the water in an anchorage made me nervous. I couldn’t help but wonder if someone was going to come zipping through on a dinghy and not see me.
We learned that with our small dinghy, it was dryer and faster to go to shore in shifts.
Only one thing fits in this category and this was really the only real surprise I had the entire trip.
-Droppin the Deuce. Mike informed us on the first day that the ONLY thing allowed in the toilet is human waste. No paper. The paper goes in the trash. I was very nervous upon hearing this. Even though I felt like I knew Mike and Rebecca really well, I had just barely met them in person. You want me to put my used TP in the trash? And then bring it with us in the dinghy when we go to shore? My fears were short lived as my colon decided to go on strike upon hearing this information.
At anchor in Petite Martinique. This shot was taken when
the four of us hiked all the way around the island.
Its now been a month since we left for this trip. My wife and I can’t stop thinking about it. It was everything we had hoped it would be and more. Grenada is beautiful. Sailing is amazing. The locals and the cruising community are fun loving and accepting. Mike and Rebecca really are top notch people. They are kind and caring, hard working, welcoming, adventurous, accommodating, helpful and much more. But the one word I would use to best describe them would be INSPIRING…
I’m so glad they decided to publicly share their crazy adventure on their blog so that we can all live vicariously through them. Even more, I’m glad they made the offer that allowed me to get one step closer to my own crazy adventure. I’m still a few years away, but if you want to follow along you can find me at www.pronetowander.com
Thank you Mike & Rebecca. You have no idea the impact you have made on us.