Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Learning to sail in the Grenadines

I just recently went on a two week vacation/adventure to St. Lucia and the Grenadines during which I also learned how to sail a 40 feet Catamaran.

I went on this trip with my girlfriend Lisa DuMouchel (The whole thing was originally her idea) and also joining us was Omar El-Kikhia. The goal of the trip was to attend a one week long sailing course with Barefoot Offshore Sailing School in St. Vincent (The largest island in the Grenadine island group.

First of all the pictures from the trip is available on my Google+ account (All 655 of them). I'm sorry but you will need to sign up to Google+ to be able to see it (If you want to know why read this previous post explaining why it's a bad idea to keep your photos on Facebook).

We started the trip by spending 2 days in St. Lucia and just relaxing except for one day that we went zip lining in the jungle. After that we continued on a puddle jumper down to St. Vincent where we spent one night before we got on the boat which would be our home during the next week.

With us on the boat was also a couple we did not know before hand and our teacher. Before we got on the boat we also took our first written exam for the ASA-101 certification. After that our days were pretty similar in that we got up, had an hour or two of class and something to eat. Then we sailed for a couple of hours. After putting down anchor and having a refreshing swim (And perhaps a refreshing beverage) we had another hour or two of class and finally went out and had dinner or cooked on the boat. Because of our schedule we didn't have much time to do a lot of other activities like scuba diving or paddle boarding, but now that we can rent our own boat that will just have to be next time!

Some highlights of the trip was the snorkeling in the Tobago Cays, the breakfast on Petite St. Vincent and also the improvised barbecue also in the Tobago Cays. The last barbecue was interesting since it is a nature reserve so there are no houses there. You have to bring your own cutlery and drink and then you buy the food that some guys cook for you there. Also pretty much wherever you went you were greeted with magnificent vistas and views.

Another highlight was of course learning to sail and in the end for me and my friends it went great and we all got our planned certifications (ASA-101, ASA-103, ASA-104, ASA-114). The two people we didn't know before hand it didn't go that great for. In the end they managed to get one certification each, but I have to say that they simply didn't get it and I shudder at the thought of them actually taking a boat out by themselves because they would be a danger to both themselves and others if they did so (But fortunately they didn't get enough certifications to do so, so the oceans are safe for now). I also managed to completely avoid getting sea sick even without taking any medication, although some other people in our company were not so lucky.

If there is one thing to complain about it would be the general level of service that you got anywhere you went. People were not rude or not nice, they were. It is just that everything went so slow. Something that is sort of acceptable when you are on vacation but if not I would have gone ballistic at some point during these weeks. Overall though this has been one of the best vacations I've ever been on and I recommend anybody to do it.

Coming back we spent another 2 days on St Lucia at a working Cocoa plantation which was really relaxing except for the one night when our entire hotel room got invaded by ants (We in the end got a new room fortunately).

Next step is to rent a boat and sail around without a guide with some friends. Let me know if you are interested in joining me! It's going to be a blast.

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