31 January 2015

We Are Sailors!! Our First Bareboat Charter

Caribbean Report - Out on our Own!
It's Superbowl Sunday. Somewhere in the distance, I can hear the cheering of massive televised crowds. But here, the palm trees are rustling, the moon is almost full. It reflects on the ocean about 30 feet in front of us. A late pelican dives. We're back on an island. This past week, we never touched land. During the days, we sailed. (All by ourselves!) snorkeled from the boat. Cooked on board.


At night, we anchored in the quietest bays we could find, watched the stars and slept well. We even drank port, since one of the kids said that’s what pirates drink. Arrrgh, Matey! I got up at night to watch the sky, and saw shooting stars. I fed moldy bagels to hovering yellow jacks, and the fish loved it. Turtles watched. 
Our boat, “Taking it Easy”, a 36’ monohull, had some issues:

The seal on the fridge was broken, (yes, these boats have fridges!) and it drained the battery low the first night. So we turned the fridge off. Bought blocks of ice. Much better.
The chart plotter and navigation instruments didn’t work, so we turned them off, too. The corkscrew was rusty - this was potentially serious! Luckily, I had my Swiss Army knife. The gas grill was missing a part, (indeed! a grill on the back of the boat!), so off that went. In fact, we just turned everything off (except the light on the top of the mast, so people didn’t bump into us at night-). We went “analog” sailing. At the end of the week, we refueled - and had used a total of 3.5 gallons of fuel. This, apparently, is rare.
You know, WE DID IT! All by ourselves!

It wasn’t all that hard, either. Things worked out. Just BEING on the boat in the beginning took some getting used to. The rocking motion, the strange sounds at night, the creaking of the boat, the plashing of the dinghy behind us, (were we sinking? Better check!) Remembering always to have “one hand on the boat” as we moved around, even in the cabin. Cooking and pouring things, I kept myself propped against something. Putting things away so they wouldn’t spill when a wave suddenly moved us. Even jumping in and out of the dinghy. It was all new.


After sharing a boat with others, it was good to have one to ourselves. Trying things out while sailing, making mistakes, finding solutions. After a short week, I can say that we now feel comfortable taking a boat out and sailing it.
Not perfect, not fast, not even efficiently. But - we are capable.  A total success. That’s what we set out to learn. Yay!