We picked up our group of 6 clients at noon at the local marina. They were chomping at the bit, couldn't wait to get to the yacht. Two are repeat clients: Linda from Texas (3-timer), and Mark from California (4-timer). Shawn is a friend of Linda's, also from Texas. Greg and Peggy are from Illinois, and Patty is form California. I immediately get the sense that this group will gel.
We've honed this trip over the years. We have learned to provide information in small doses over the first 4 hours. First we get the guests comfortable on the boat, show them their rooms, help them with their bags. Introductions all around, then a talk about seasick avoidance before we weigh anchor. This is a topic dear to my heart. I work on a boat, and earn part of my family income on a boat, but I get seasick sometimes, even on this very stable trimaran in the calm Caribbean.
How to avoid seasickness, by Hopper McDonough
- Keep an eye on the horizon at all times. When having a conversation with someone, don't feel the need to look them in the eyes, stick with the horizon. They'll understand.
- Drink a ginger beer. No, this does not contain alcohol. Ginger is a natural anti-nausea wonder that I have relied on for many years.
- Take a dramamine. Now. The worst side affect I know of is a forced nap. You're on vacation, so great.
- Face the direction you are sailing. As it turns out, the Sir Francis Drake Channel was as flat as a farm pond. You couldn't get seasick today if you drank 3 shots of tequila and ran around the yacht backwards while listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks. I took the dramamine anyway, and a quick nap.
We anchored in Little Harbour on Peter Island, a typical first stop for us. This anchorage also requires a stern line, which needs to be placed around a large boulder just off shore. Three of our male guides have been competing in a little zaniest swim suit/ jump off the yacht and swim the stern line to shore competition. The contestants so far are Will Thomas, Tim Fitzpatrick, and me, Hopper. We are never on the yacht at the same time, so entries are by photo. I'm hoping to get back in the lead after last year's "flower" performance by Fitzy.
Our second speech to the guests is about how to live on this boat; where not to step, what it means when the bell rings once (5-10 minutes till mealtime), how to keep their staterooms cool, where the rum is. After this we had them jump in for a quick splash, but many of the guests swam over a mile. Uh-oh, I thought, we have swimmers on our hands!
Next came our safety talk. I'll hit some of the important items here for conversation's sake.
- Don't touch anything underwater.
- Follow your guides.
- Wear sunblock all the time and drink plenty of fluids.
Taking advantage of the lack of wind, we set a swim course between harbors, along Peter Island. The coral was really healthy through here, lush vegetation on the hillsides, a constant flow of water through the channel, and a lack of boat anchorages keep it that way. Chef Kerry was in the dinghy taking photos, still wearing her chef's hat.
I swam with Peggy for most of the way out; she has a beautiful, true swimmer's stroke. Shawn zipped up next to me on the way back, looking strong after putting in lots of yards back home. The sunset provided some photo ops. I hopped out and made some SwimVacationer cocktails.
Here's the recipe:
- 1 shot cruzan guava rum
- 1 shot meyers gold rum
- 1 shot triple sec
- 2 glugs of ginger beer
- 1 glug of orange juice
- 1 or 2 gluts of club soda
- 2 dashes of bitters
All over ice, serve with a straw. The drinks may have spawned the quick pre-dinner dance party. Dinner provided some finger-licking ops with barbecued chicken and ribs and a spinach, strawberry, and feta cheese salad. More adventures tomorrow with this awesome group.
PS. Thanks to Kerry Hucul who took most of these great photos today! - Heather.