Apr 14, 2012

What to Bring & Arrival Info

OK, raise your hand if you are fired up for some South Caribbean Cruising!  Yep, me too.  Just a couple weeks to go until we're swimming in warm turquoise water over powder white sand.  I know some of you are already packing so let's get to it.

What to bring:
The nice thing about these tropical trips is you can pack pretty light - light weight and light colors.
-Shorts and shirts and bathing suits and light clothing for boating in tropical weather.
-Something nicer for evenings ashore – toned down (or loud and touristy) Hawaiian shirt, khakis or dress shorts for him; a light blouse/skirt/sun dress for her.  Whatever women wear always seems to be fine.
-A waterproof pullover or light jacket for the odd rain squall.  Sweats or fleece or something to layer with if you're prone to a chill.
-Sunblock, sun glasses, hat with chin strap (shades head and neck a plus), bug spray for evenings ashore.
-Your bathroom stuff.  Sheets and a set of towels are provided.

-Meds, if you bring some have them in their original container with pharmacy sticker.  
-Mask, snorkel and fins are provided by the base.  Sometimes I'll bring my own mask.

-I go barefoot aboard and wear flops ashore, light shoes on the planes and in nicer restaurants.  Your deck shoes should be non-marking (no black soles).
-Camera? A couple CD's or MP3 player (which may require FM transmitter, one per boat, I'll bring mine.)
-Your drinking cup can be handy (with a Winch Wench to hold it?).
- A collapsible bag.  The big hard case luggage is a no no.  There is nowhere on a boat to store stuff like that so if you bring it, you may end up sleeping with it.  Rolling duffles work well.  Some here:  toughtraveler.com/lug/duffel.asp
-Do we all have our passports sorted out?  Islands may prefer they be good for 3 months after arrival.  Your local federal building or private online services can do it fast - if you have the $.
-Money:  For meals ashore or local food brought onboard to cook , trinkets, pitch in for a mooring, airport departure fee ($20?), cabs etc..  To prevent navigational errors, get the crew together and take your skipper out for a hot meal ashore sometime during the adventure ... at least ;)

Want to know what's allowed in your carry-on etc.?  TSA rules:  http://www.tsa.gov/311/index.shtm
If you like, wear your Lats & Atts apparel (seafaring.com Ship Store) while you travel so that other Shailors can spot you.  Almost everyone is coming in on that late AA flight either on the 4th or 5th.

Upon Arrival:
You can hit the ATM in the airport for some euros but we won't be in Martinique for long.  Mostly we'll be in Eastern Carib Dollar land.  See Exchange section below.
 Transfer:  You can try to negotiate with the cabbies in the airport.  “Marina du Marin”.  Cabs in French Martinique are very expensive.  Your hotel may offer transfer.  Or organize transfer from Dream to their charter base.  Mention Latitudes & Attitudes when you email your name and flight details to: martinique@dreamyachtcharter.com  If you have been confirmed for transfer, look for the Dream sign as you leave baggage claim.
We are scheduled to board the boats at 1730 (5:30pm lubber time).  You are welcome to come to the base before then but don't expect to board.  Please do not slow the base staff with questions and requests.  We have a large group and it will delay boarding.  Your skipper will be available to answer questions (look for her/him in the bar).

Base Info:  
Dream Yacht - Marina du Marin - Ponton N°4 - Port de Plaisance du Marin - Boulevard Allegre
Onsite showers, looks like restaurants nearby.   Stores 3km away.

Exchange rate: 
“US dollars and Euros are widely accepted.”
Martinique prefers it's Euros:  $1US gets you .76 EUR.
I might invest in some Eastern Carib Dollars when we get to St. Lucia or St. Vin.  $1US gets you 2.7 XCD.

Scuba:  There's no room on the boat for all that gear.  Where it's available, and doesn't inconvenience others, you are welcome to book same day dives.  Scuba boats will provide everything you need.  With our loose itinerary, I discourage you from booking in advance.

Coral:  Please don’t touch it.  If you brush the slime off, you kill it.

Local Basics:
Martinique:  www.wordtravels.com/Cities/Martinique/Fort+de+France/Basics
St. Vincent:   www.wordtravels.com/Travelguide/Countries/St+Vincent+And+The+Grenadines/Basics
Tipping is 10% most places.  Check to see if it is already on the bill.
I don't see me tipping if I'm paying $70 for a cab ride.  But south of Martinique where things are reasonable: "Taxi drivers, porters and chambermaids also expect small tips."

The Boat:  “is totally equipped for charter and inventory includes the following among others : Engines, dinghy and engine, bed linens - towels (beach-bath-hand), GPS, autopilot, am/fm radio, CD player with outside speakers, snorkelling equipment, navigation equipment: (log, sounder, speedometer, wind indicator anemometer)”

Basic food provisioning will be put on in spendy Martinique:  simple breakfasts and lunches and staples for some dinners.  Most will dine on local flavors discovered ashore in each bay.  You are welcome to bring shore bought food aboard before or during our sailing adventure.  Boat crews tend to make up a list of additional items and all pitch in.  Some $ will be given to each skipper to be put toward moorings or extra food items.  Food will be more reasonable in St. Vincent.  Lats & Atts puts a case of the local brew aboard at the start.  Be surprised if it makes it out of the bay.  Booze will be available ashore at most stops.  Consider duty free in Miami or San Juan.   Martinique has a two liter import limit per person.  Funny thing is, St. Vin's limit is 1.13 liters.  “Drink up me hardies!”

The Cruise: 
We stay at the dock that first night ease into our amazing surroundings and get to know our fellow shailors.  As those who have done a Share the Sail know, we keep a cruising schedule.  This helps us to make last minute changes in plans so we don’t miss anything kewl.  First up St. Lucia, then awesome St. Vincent and more of the Grenadines as weather and jumpups permit.  The amazing Tobago Cays will likely be the southern limit of our sailing adventure.
Each boat has a Lats and Atts skipper.  Most of the Lats family has been shanghaied for this adventure including fleet Commodore Bitchin and Admiral Jody, Zuzana of features and TV, New England hosts Tom and Sharon B, Ken and Barbie of el Carib, super cool Neil, sailing feind Lisa, Dena and I and others.  As usual we have a lot of repeat shailors.  We've got 8 boats in our mini fleet as well as the awesome John and Sandy boat and other cruisers sailing along.

Back Home:   Do consider adjusting thermostats and shutting off power strips, lights and appliances you don't need while you are away.  It saves you money, is better for the environment and keeps the air we breath more clean.  It's a win-win for everyone.

The boats are not always perfect, the inventory is not always complete and it's likely to rain some.  Please direct your concerns to me and not your fellow shailors.  The adventure and the fun are in you.

Questions?  Fire away:  woody@seafaring.com
All emails posted here:  grenadinessts.blogspot.com
Soon as the rest of the Questionnaires come in ... I will assign everyone a skipper.
Skippers will receive an additional email.  If anymore info comes in I'll get it right out to you all.  Otherwise ...
See you in paradise!

Captain Woody

(OK, you can put your hand down)

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