As promised I am writing once again about my favorite tips I got from reading the Sail of Two Idiots recently. This was truly a fun read. They literally set sail without having much if any sailing experience and learned many things the hard way, many from fellow sailors that were kind enough to help, and just plain got lucky in other instances.
Many of these tips and guidelines came from their own experience of not having followed them. Here are my next ten favorites from the book:
1. Don’t skip the reason that you’re out there. Take time to explore and enjoy where you are.
This might be my favorite sailing tip. I mean that’s why you wanted to go on this crazy adventure isn’t it? Why not rent a moped or a bicycle and venture out of just the port area. Or find a local guide to take you to see the sights.
A group of us hired a guide in St. Vincent to show us around the island and we had a great tour. Now grant you we’re pretty sure the guide was trying to get us to buy some ganja while we were touring, but it gave us something to talk about with the other boatload of fellow explorers when we got back to the boat.
On another trip to Grenada, we decided to check out the local scene during a festival and went to a local bar. We stood out like sore thumbs, but again we had plenty of stories to share. It was quite a festival.
It’s the interactions with the local folks that always stands out in my memory more than anything else.
2. Books are guides not rules so use them that way.
Remember time between writing and publishing can be lengthy so guides can easily become outdated. Do use them though because they do have some great information on a varied amount of topics for a particular port.
My favorite guides for the Caribbean are written by Chris Doyle. They are spiral bound and I have used these in the Caribbean to find places to anchor, eat and shop. He also updates these frequently, about every two to three years, so the information is pretty reliable. Plus most of these islands don’t change too much year to year either.
3. Use PLB’s, Personal Locator Beacon. They’re small enough to attach to your jacket or swim suit and the prices have come down so as to make them affordable. After all, you life is worth at least $300 and the quicker you are rescued the higher your likely survival.
4. Don’t be cynical about people and mistake genuine friendliness for ulterior motives.
5. By the same token, be wary of suspicious behavior. Take a photo of anyone suspicious and let them know you took their photo.
It can happen. I was in Puerto Vallarta wandering around the main town and noticed someone tailing us and ducking into doorways and alleys when I turned around. I finally stopped in a shop and loudly asked if I could call the police as we were being tailed. That did the trick as the guy heard me and quickly crossed the street and disappeared.
6. Always dive on your anchor and mooring. While your down there, check your prop.
7. Always check out the local grocery stores. You might find something unique and delicious. Trying the food is a great way of getting to know a culture and it can create a conversation with a local if you want to find out more about the food.
8. Get a way to breathe underwater. You’ll wear yourself out going in and out of the water.
I have to say that on my wish list is one of these under water hooka systems. You’ll be able to stay under for about three hours.
9. Protect your electronics when you’re in the dinghy. Just assume they’ll get wet.
10. If you leave your boat in an anchorage and take off sightseeing or for any length of time, leave your keys in the ignition. This way in the event your anchor drags or your boat becomes in peril of damage or damaging another boat, someone can hop aboard and move your boat for you. Sailors are truly a helpful lot and will come to the rescue in your absence.
Well this wraps up today’s installment. Hope that you find these helpful. Look for my last nine favorites from the book coming soon. By the way check out my first list of ten favorite sailing tips from the book I previously published.
See you on the water,
Sail Away Girl