There’s No Crying in…Sailing

Unless you are me of course. I am embarrassed to even say it but I cried during my final sailing test last week. It was intense, and there was math, too much math for me. My head was swirling around like the current under our boat. My 5th grade self would have laughed. I think 5th grade was the last time I was actually good at math. BUT, I got through it and I can confidently say I am now officially Captain Barb. I passed ASA 101,103 and 104 all crammed into 1 week. It was probably one of the most challenging experiences of my life, both mentally and physically. I have the bruises and the other crew saw the tears to prove it…even though I tried to hide them behind my shades. At least there was no blood.

However, there was a lot of sweat and salt water showers. If you have ever owned a boat you know what it stands for…break out another thousand. Our sailing course was no exception, at least this time I don’t have to pay for the repairs. The batteries wouldn’t stay charged so our freshwater pump went out, my cabin light went haywire and our boat hook broke in the middle of trying to pick up a mooring ball in the Tobago Cays…when I was at the helm. But who’s complaining, not me. All of these things made the experience even better. I’ll take a “shower” in the sea anytime. I did have one casualty, hopefully the dove soap bar I dropped in the water made the fish smell so fresh & so clean clean.

We had a kick ass crew on Andato, which means “Gone” in Italian. How fitting, since I decided to sign up for the course kind of last minute and have been traveling solo since November 5th. Traveling alone is not something I have done much of before, unless it was for work. Being a somewhat shy and introverted person it has been a good way to push my limits a little more. I have been bouncing around all over the West Indies and have met so many new friends and visited with old ones. I actually had someone offer to do my laundry when I was buying detergent at the store. I thought to myself “sir do you need glasses?” I wasn’t even wearing shoes ya’ll! Maybe Britney Spears was on to something when she was walking around that gas station barefoot looking a hot mess?

Speaking of being barefoot, Barefoot Offshore Sailing School in St. Vincent is top notch. The base is super nice, the staff is amazing and I would go back in a second to charter a boat….like a B.O.S.S. Who wants to join?!

When I finished my sailing course I decided to stay and work on finishing up some of my diving certifications. I am pretty much becoming a mermaid, just call me Ariel. I had already done the online coursework so back to Barbados it was for advanced open water with West Side Scuba Centre. I’ve been emailing with Peter the owner for a while now so I’m sure he was relieved we finally got something on the books.

I went diving with Peter for 3 days straight and I have to say the night dive was my absolute favorite. I did a little test run with some local friends the night before just to make sure I wouldn’t be terrified. Guess what? Night snorkeling for lobster is freaking awesome and so was the dinner that came after.

I learned I am better at spotting than spearing and I am totally fine with that. I also learned that I love night diving. If you haven’t tried it, do it, you will not be sorry! I am 100% obsessed with diving and the sea. Next up, finish rescue diving then on to dive master. Like I said…#mermaidlife.

Thinking back on my trip so far I have to say I have a top 3 favorite and least favorite things about my experience. Let’s start with the bad (even though nothing has really been bad) so we can end on a good note.

1. I stink. Seriously I don’t know how the girls here looks so nice and un-sweaty. I have gotten a few sniffs of myself after a long hot day and it is comparable to a giant trash heap.

2. Island time. This could also be a good thing, but not so much when you are trying to make a flight that gets delayed by hours not once but twice then no one is at the desk to help you or check you in. So my trip extended a couple of extra days. Ok so it is not that bad to stay but to be all packed and ready twice is kind of a pain in the you know what.

3. Carbs. I think I have eaten my weight in rice and pasta on this trip. These hips don’t lie 🙂 At least I have been active the whole time and sweating like nobody’s business. What is life without a little carb overload sometimes? Swimming laps with the sea turtles has replaced my gym routines.

Ok back to the good. Choosing just 3 things is not easy but here we go:

1. Boats. I just love them, seeing them, being on them and sleeping on them. There’s just something about boats that make me feel 100% happy. Even when sh*t breaks or when I collected the 9,000 bruises I have on my arms and legs. Boats are just the coolest and I don’t discriminate. Power boats, monohulls and catamarans all make me smile…so BIG. I learned all about diesel engines along with all of the sailing terms which seemed like a different language at first. Now I can jibe, tack, dock, anchor, pick up a mooring ball, reef the main, trim the jib, etc. etc. Pretty legit right?

2. Sunsets. I’ve seen SO many perfect sunsets on this trip. I think my favorite was on the last night of the sailing course in Bequia. Watching the sun set behind the water was bittersweet and incredibly beautiful. There is no daylight savings time here so the sun sets around 5:30pm which means I go to bed early and wake up early. More time for fun in the sun!

3. Doing me. I have gotten so many messages, emails and texts from people saying what I am doing is awesome. Thank you! Some of them I have talked to recently, others I haven’t in a while. I feel extremely lucky to be able to make these trips, share them with people, learn new things and challenge myself. I know some of you may think I am crazy, weird or insane for just heading off alone. What’s she doing, why is she doing that, what will she do after, is she getting a job? The answer is I am doing me and it is exactly what I need to be doing right now. The feeling I have is unexplainable. Maybe I should have done this when I was a little younger? I’m not sure I would be appreciating it as much.

And with that I will leave you with this…

I can’t wait to share my next adventure with you, hopefully it will be tear free. Now go outside, watch the sunset and start planning yours!

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