General packing and safety information(Shamelessly stolen with permission from the website of Heartsong III!)
Please bring only soft-sided, collapsible luggage (such as duffle bags). A sailboat does not have a lot of storage space and the cabins are not palatial. Think of the living space in a small motor home and add sails, outboards, life rafts, and enough food and wine for four months. Warning: the small closet in your cabin is probably full of canned soup or paper towels. Therefore, please pack lightly!
If you are going on to another destination after leaving the boat you might even consider packing those clothes in a separate bag and storing it at the airport. Including a small backpack that can double as a day pack for carrying cameras and supplies when we go on dinghy trips or walk is also a good idea.
Youíre not going to need a lot of clothing in the tropics. We wonít be going anywhere that requires coat and tie or evening dress. One casually dressy outfit in case we go to dinner at a nice resort should be all the nice clothes you will need. In fact please donít bring any hanging clothes as we are out of closet space. You will probably spend most of your day in a bathing suit anyway.
Some of the islands we visit are rather conservative so women should include a light dress or pants outfit that covers the shoulders and knees, and men should always include one pair of long pants with a collared shirt such as a golf shirt. Consider including a light sweater or long sleeve top if you are cold-natured as the evenings can occasionally be cool. Donít forget sunglasses, your favorite sunscreen, and any personal items you canít be without. Please donít bring a hair dryer. If you need one we have a small one on board that may be available, depending upon our electricity situation
On deck, we allow only bare feet or footwear that wonít mar the fiberglass. Any deck shoe or boating sandal such as Tevas are appropriate. In fact non-black sole Teva-type sandals are great because you can wear them when reef walking or on the beach.
Please bring a mask and snorkel. Most of our destinations have fantastic snorkeling which you should not miss. We may have a spare set of fins.
Please bring any prescription medications you may require in the original prescription bottle. Most of the countries we visit have very strict drug laws. Moreover, most countries conduct frequent, random searches of boats as a matter of course. Do not even consider bringing any type of illegal contraband or drugs. Not only could you wind up in jail, we would probably wind up there with you and would lose our boat. Make sure everyone traveling with you is aware of how serious this issue is.
Please be careful about carrying packages for someone not traveling with you.
Last but not least, donít forget your passport and visa if required. Please make this the last item you check before walking out the door and then check everyone traveling with you.
If you plan on scuba diving during your visit please be sure to bring your diving certification card. As we said earlier, there is not a lot of storage on board the boat. If you have your own equipment you might consider bringing your own regulator along with mask, fins, and snorkel.
We will most likely be diving with local dive companies who will rent you equipment.
We are recreational divers, not dive masters or instructors, so we cannot be responsible for your safety during a dive. If you have not been diving recently, please take a refresher course before coming and review your equipment. If you have not had a dive physical in several years and/or are on new medication, please check with your physician and the DAN (Divers Alert Network) website before diving.
Please be aware of your personal safety at all times: "One hand for the boat, and one hand for yourself." That is, when moving around the deck always have a good handhold. Also, watch your feet as there are plenty of deck thingies designed to mangle your toes.
If you do not swim well we have several types of personal flotation devices you can wear. Just ask.
Never stand in the path of the boom or a line under tension.
If someone falls overboard, do not lose sight of the person in the water! Yell "man overboard" and DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE PERSON IN THE WATER, even for a moment. Do not jump into the water unless the person has lost consciousness or cannot swim. Otherwise, you will only compound the problem.
Wear sun block outside. Tropical UV radiation can burn quickly.
Donít push any buttons. If you are unsure of anything, please ask.
If you have any health issues or allergies, please let us know; and please remember to bring your medication and/or epi-needles, etc.
If you take the dinghy any great distance, be sure to take plenty of fuel, a handheld VHF radio with fresh batteries, and a life jacket.
Do not start the dinghy outboard with anyone in the water near the prop.
If you feel even slightly seasick, let us know immediately. Seasickness is much easier to treat early.
Always be aware of where you place things. If not stowed properly, items can become flying deadly weapons when we are sailing.
Please make yourself at home. Ask us to show you where we keep soft drinks and snacks, and then feel free to help yourself. Please do not leave the refrigerator or freezer open. We can run the refrigeration system only once or twice a day, not continuously, and the rest of the time we depend on insulation to keep the food cold.
Please shower at the aft steps shower before coming below if you are dirty. Sand is a nasty, gritty, insidious thing that is impossible to get out of the boat; and sun screen can stain any fabric. Please take your shoes off and rinse your feet at the aft steps before coming into the cockpit.
Please try to keep most of your personal items stowed in your cabin. That way things donít get lost and shared areas stay uncluttered. Hang wet items in the head (bathroom) or outside.
Fresh water is a precious commodity on a boat. Use as much as you need, but donít waste it. For example, donít run the water while brushing your teeth. Take "sailor showers" by getting wet, then soaping up with the water off, and then rinsing.
I know, I know. This is not something anybody wants to talk about, but we canít call a plumber at sea so . . .
Marine toilets flush with sea water from outside the boat. If we are sailing on the open ocean, the toilet contents are simply pumped overboard. If we are anchored in a harbor, or close to land, the toilet contents are pumped into a holding tank (which is then pumped overboard when we are back on the open ocean.)
Remember the toilet is below the waterline so if you discover leaking water on the bathroom floor let us know immediately. It could sink the boat.
Nothing goes into the toilet except what you have eaten and toilet paper, and not much toilet paper. If you must use more than a small amount of toilet paper, no problem, but flush several times adding more paper each time you flush. (But remember, the more water we add to the holding tank, the sooner weíll have to find a pumpout facility, or go out to the open ocean to pump the holding tank!)
Instructions for flushing the toilet are posted on the wall. Please ask if you have any questions! This is important Ė Craig hates working on the toilet!