Sunday, September 26, 2010

Before visiting, please read and understand our way of doing things....

We welcome our friends and encourage you to contact us to check our current port of call, planned length of stay and availability for visitors. Also before you plan your visit, please refer to our “visitor guidelines” which follow.
We want to make sure that we do our best to prepare you for a fun, enjoyable time visiting with us aboard S/V Journey.  We can’t guarantee you a good time – you’re on your own in the attitude category – however, we will do our best to give our landlubber friends an outline of expectations and overview of living aboard so that you arrive as well-informed as possible.
This isn’t like staying in a hotel, it’s our home.  We will extend a warm welcome, but come with an attitude that includes an amount of flexibility.
We follow local game laws concerning taking of fish, lobster, etc. If your visit doesn’t coincide with lobster season, you will not be nabbing the big one.
Weather and sea conditions may affect where we will cruise. If Island “A” is under “cruise into hell” conditions, we will be bypassing it for island “B”.
Aboard Journey, we prepare and enjoy a variety of fresh, local foods. We are not vegans. MJ is known among friends for being a good cook, but Journey isn’t a fancy resort spa. If you need a special diet, check into a hospital. Special is reserved for next week’s guests.
Plan on nothing dressier than at-home casual and heels no higher than “tennis shoes”. You don’t need jewelry, resort wear or “bling” to vacation with us. This is a time to get away from all that. If that is not what you seek, we are not the get-away for you. If there is a restaurant in the area or a local yacht club that we will be patronizing, we will let you know before you start packing; otherwise, leave the makeup, hair gel, the curling and flat irons and the glam at home. The bathroom you will be using is equipped with the appropriate type hair dryer.

           First of all, here is the scoop on what to bring and what to avoid when packing for your journey.                
  §  Make sure your passport is up to date, and that it is not within 6 months of Expiration. We will notify you if you need a visa for the country we are cruising. Getting the visa will be your responibility unless we notify you differently.
  §  You might want to bring along some cash in either USD or the local currency. Some places take credit cards but many require cash only. We use ATMs to obtain local currency worldwide, and you might find this the easiest manner to obtain foreign currency.
  §  Don’t forget your camera. If you want to bring your laptop, you might want to wrap laptop and camera in a plastic bag for the dingy trip from shore. The ride is not known as a particularly dry experience.
  §  PLEASE NO HARD SIDED, STIFF SIDED LUGGAGE OR SUITCASES. Use collapsible luggage (duffel bag, back pack, etc.) or one that can crushed/rolled up small. We have no room to store suitcases on the boat. Rolling luggage is fine, but remember you will be sleeping with it.
  §  Pack light so you can easily hoist your bag. You don’t need much anyway: For daytime: shorts, bathing suit, t-shirts, etc. For nighttime, blue jeans, sweat shirt, long sleeve t-shirt, lightweight jacket, etc. Bring some rain gear. Yes, it rains in paradise too. We will not generally have a reason to “dress up”, by this we mean fancier than very, very casual. Most people bring WAY TOO MUCH. On a boat, you don’t need a clean pair of shorts or bathing suit every day.  After day three, you will stop caring about clothes altogether. You will then be concentrating on how you can get your own boat and do this forever.
  §  Remember a hat or cap and good sunglasses.
  §  SHOES: One pair to wear on the boat.
  §  Your boat shoes should have a non marking, non slip sole. Crocs and Tevas, Keens, or flip-flops are fine.
  §  If the boat shoes you bring are ones you are wearing now, be sure to check the bottoms for gravels, tar and gum in the grooves before coming on the decks.
  §  Your other shoes or sandals should be comfortable for walking, short hikes and for wearing on the beach, etc.  If one pair satisfies both requirements, that’s even better.
  §  Bring your preferred brand of insect repellent and whatever suntan lotion or sunblock you generally use.
  §  Bring your personal toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, shaving items, deodorant, etc), however; we will provide bath soap. And seriously, don’t bring a bunch of electrical gadgets.
  §  If you are prone to motion sickness we encourage you to bring the appropriate medication or personal treatment that best suits you. We do keep a supply of ginger drinks, or candy and Dramamine or Bonine pills on board; but if you prefer different medications, please bring it.
  §  If you prefer a particular brand of liquor or think you might want to enjoy a bottle or two of your favorite bottle of wine while visiting with us, please feel free to bring what your luggage and the visiting country laws allow. If you want something special, a visit to the duty-free shop at the airport might be in order. Other than for cooking, you will arrive to find Journey a fairly “dry” boat in that respect.
  §  The above advice extends to any special food you can’t live without during your stay. Feel free to ask ahead for local availability, but be aware that many foods common in the states are impossible to find in the islands. Do not bring any food that is not sealed by the manufacturer, and please no cardboard containers, they are a haven for bugs to lay their eggs. We don’t want them hatching in the middle of the ocean.
  §  Please be aware that ALL visitors may be asked to “bring” certain items to us that we need onboard. You may be asked to bring a few rolls of Viva paper towels or some other name brand item we cannot obtain in the islands. You will be reimbursed for those items that you are asked to bring.
  §  All guests will be accommodated in the forward cabin and the passage berth which is also the salon dinette booth during the daytime. We can accommodate 4 guests comfortably.

Equipment on a boat is more delicate than one might think, and is much more expensive to replace or to repair than the average home items, and replacements parts are often hard to find; therefore, we have a few HOUSEKEEPING RULES. Violations of rules may result in one of the following: confinement to quarters, “WALKING THE PLANK”, food rationing, guests being Tazed, Hung, Drawn and Quartered, etc. Get the picture?  
When you arrive aboard Journey, you will be given a safety briefing, which will include how, where and when to move about the boat while we are underway. You should listen carefully to this, as it could save your life.
Toilets on a boat can be the bane of our existence.
Please pay special attention to this section
  §  NOTHING GOES IN THE TOILETS BUT WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR BODY and the appropriate AMOUNT of toilet paper. – No feminine products, gum – not even a matchstick. And, most importantly, NO HAIR…….not one single strand!!! Our toilet system flushes with sea water. Urine and salt water combine to form rock-hard ‘crystals’ that will block the discharge hoses; so it is very important to flush long enough to evacuate all urine from the discharge hoses and into the holding tank. Unapproved items and hair catch on and clog the lines and stop the whole delicate process. Al will not be very happy with you if he has to take apart the sewer line to clean up your mistake.  After a “deposit” into the toilet, flush well before using TP. Then flush well again after TP is used. This avoids the dreaded CLOG.
  §  Gentlemen, PLEASE BE SEATED!!!! You are on a moving boat, even at anchor. I know you have been standing to wizz since you were a toddler. This is however MY boat and MY rules. I know your aim is accurate. Trust me when I say I am not impressed.  Men will sit for ALL functions when at the toilet. If you miss, I will know. You will not be invited back.
  §  Nothing but liquid goes down any sink drain. Our kitchen sink drains into a deep container that is automatically pumped overboard when the contents accumulate to a certain level. To avoid smells developing in that bilge area, we pour no food liquids down the kitchen sink. Please discuss with MJ if you have any questions and she will show you how to handle food waste disposal.
  §  Refrigerator and freezer doors should be closed quickly and not left open while you “hunt and ponder”. Both are top loading and very deep. If you don’t know where you might find an item, ask MJ. She will be glad to retrieve it for you.  Freezer is not self-defrosting.
  §  Another boat thing: When using the shower, turn WATER ON and wet yourself and your wash cloth or shower scrunchy thoroughly, TURN WATER OFF and lather up, AND LAST TURN WATER ON AND RINSE SOAP OFF.
  §  Cooking, cleaning and general clean up are shared duties among the entire crew. Feel free to step right in and offer your assistance or to prepare your own drinks, cups of tea or coffee or snacks.
  §  Try to be mindful of leaving lights on when not occupying a room. We make our own energy and try to conserve whenever and wherever prudent to do so. Check with one of us before using hair dryers or major appliances. Sometimes we need to start the generator to use these.
  §  No guest is permitted to access or use the electrical panel. Ever.
  §  Please use coasters under your drinks inside the cabin. Or use absorbent coozies on your cans of soda.
  §  Don’t take food into your cabin to eat. Food and snacks should be consumed either topside or within the galley and/or salon areas.
  §  Please do not sit on beds or furniture below decks when you are in a wet suit or shorts. Saltwater especially, never allows the cushion and fabric to fully dry, ever.
  §  Do not spray bug repellent below decks. The chemicals in it will dissolve the varnish on our walls and floor.
  §  A word about drugs. NO illegal drugs will come onboard Journey. ALL legal prescription drugs MUST be in the labeled container which includes the pharmacy label identifying it as yours. If you are caught in violation, you will be dingied ashore with your passport and belongings and left. PERIOD!
  §  Please treat our home with the respect you would your own home. Or if you don’t treat your own home with respect – treat ours like you would your mother’s home when she is watching.
Finally, if you are unsure of something – please ask. There are NO stupid questions; although we may run you up the mast and let you hang for a while if you have a question that you don’t ask, hence committing a grievous infraction. Now relax and enjoy your stay.  We haven’t had to shoot anyone yet.