February 3, 2010
Staffers at Barefoot, Sunsail, and TMM bases got it going on.
When a classic early morning Caribbean squall blew off the southern coast of the windward island of St. Vincent, I woke up-but not because I needed to get up from my bunk and close a hatch on the boat. At that moment, I was in more protected circumstances, a spacious room with many windows and a sweeping waterfront view on the top floor of the boutique-sized hotel at the Barefoot Yacht Charters base at Blue Lagoon.
Seth, the manager, a longtime friend, kindly offered me accommodations so I could do something I hadn't done in a long while: visit bareboat-company bases and talk with the people who work at them. Barefoot, Sunsail, and TMM have operations on the lagoon, all with good-sized fleets of monohuls and multihulls.
From keeping the dinghies inflated and their outboards humming to cleaning the bareboats to Bristol perfection, base staff workers are the ones who greet you when your charter actually materializes, and they're the ones who also help you cast off the lines. They're very important to the entire chartering experience, and they take good care of you. Yet most of the time, they're overlooked. So when I have a chance to get out of the office and make the rounds at far-flung destinations, I relish it.
First things first: I had to get out of bed and close a wayward shutter. As any traveler can understand, I also needed to shake off the initial disorientation that comes from leaving the cold and dark of the north and arriving relatively quickly in a sunny, warm Caribbean.
Seth and others at Barefoot are a step ahead of their guests in the comfort department. Bottled water, a portable electric coffeemaker, and coffee fixings are set out on a table in every room. Leaving the pillows behind, I rose, fastened a window shut, and heated a steaming cup of brew, then settled into the chaise lounge. Taking in the view of the sailboats at the moorings, the swaying palms, the pearl-shaded clouds against the blue sky, I formulated a plan that combined sightseeing with a dose of hellos. Ahh. Isn't work grand?
Click here to join me on this St. Vincent adventure.
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