We are only weeks away from returning to our sailboat and still have absolutely no idea what direction we want to sail in. Many of the options are appealing, for different reasons, and we just can’t make up our minds. We think we have narrowed it down to two possible directions, but they are polar opposite of each other! This is why I asked three of our sailing friends for their opinions on some of the directions they have ventured to, in this simple Q&A. This third (read the Central America and Bahamas instalments), and last instalment was sent to us from our friends Mike and Rebecca, who are currently floating around the islands down south from us.
In a nutshell can you introduce yourself and tell us about your sailing/cruising history?
My name is Mike Sweeney. My wife Rebecca and I set sail from Canada in 2010 after purchasing a catamaran and divesting ourselves of virtually all of our land-based possessions. We documented our transition from complete sailing newbies to liveaboard sailors on our website Zero To Cruising (http://www.zerotocruising.com). We are presently acting as Captain and First Mate/Chef on a large catamaran, One Love, offering crewed yacht vacations in the Virgin Islands.
In regards to the Windward/Leeward islands, what was it that brought you there?
For those on the East Coast, the Bahamas and the Windwards/Leewards are the natural place to head cruising. Given that remaining in the Bahamas during hurricane season is a relatively risky proposition, most people either head back north when that time of year approaches or continue moving south. The latter is what we opted to do with Grenada being our ultimate destination.
What are some of the pros/cons of the islands?
The islands in the Eastern Caribbean have much to offer. Most have protected harbors, clean water, beautiful beaches, tropical climate and friendly people. While many of the larger islands do have good shopping (Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Martinique, Grenada), North Americans may find the absence of some of the conveniences they are used to back home frustrating. “Island Time” is not just an expression, it actually exists.
Are there any secret gems, “must sees”, of the area that you are willing to let us in on?
Rebecca and I love to hike so if you’re of the same mind, there is a wonderful trek to follow up the Deshais River in Guadeloupe. In fact, there are quite a number of hiking trails that we love, 10 of which are detailed in our book Ready To Get Wet (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009Y6P5ZG/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B009Y6P5ZG&linkCode=as2&tag=zertocru-20).
Is there anything you would warn us, and other sailors about, before heading this way?
Petty crime is everywhere. “Lock it or lose it,” especially when it comes to tenders, is the rule to live by.
What drink is this area known for? Is it any good?
Rum. Yes. 🙂
To gauge cost of living, what are the costs of the following 6 things:
beer: In a bar, approx. $1.50 US.
chocolate bar: Sorry, we never buy chocolate bars.
toilet paper: 75 cents per roll? When we need it, we just buy it!
chicken breast: Approx. $3.00 US per breast (in a large North American type Grocery store)
bread: Sorry, no idea here either. We never buy bread.
gas: Just under $5.00 US
Could you picture us there, enjoying ourselves?
Of course, especially anchored right beside us!
|Rebecca, Mike, and Arias (3years ago!)|
Thanks for taking the time to answer these. But now I am starting to question, how well can you trust someone’s advice if they never buy chocolate bars!? That is complete madness!