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****Note: I regularly update this post with things we learn along the way. Last update: October 7, 2016.
We are just a few days away from our flight and getting to see Starry Horizons in person. As we have been saying our goodbyes, we are encouraging all of our friends and family to visit. That being said, there are a lot of things that a guest aboard should know. We will be learning with each guest we have aboard how to be proper hosts, but in the meantime we have all the cruisers before us who have hosted guests, and we get to learn from them, thanks to a very handy The Monkey’s Fist topic. Here are some things to keep in mind, modified from those posts.
What you can expect from us:
We will have the boat in the best condition we can. We will spend quite a bit of time buckling down and getting repair and cleaning done before you arrive. We want to show off our boat, but we also want to vacation with you! We will of course take care of any essential work that comes up during your stay, but we will try to take all of our time off to be with you.
We have two guest bedrooms, which are first come first serve. One is our primary guest room (the aft, and bigger one). The other is used for storage when we don’t have a guest in it. We also can sleep two on the dining-room-table-that-converts-into-a-bed and if someone wanted to, I suppose they could sleep outside. But we hope to not resort to that.
We will have provisioned (grocery shopped) before hand. Let us know if there is anything special you need. For booze, we recommend a stop at the duty free shop on your way in. We’ll ask that you split the cost of groceries with us, money can be sent via PayPal and we’ll tell you how much.
We will keep you safe. On board, David is the Captain and it is up to him to make sure that our plans are what is best for the safety of us and Starry Horizons. What David says goes. This is a benevolent dictatorship. Mutinous crew will be punished severely.
We live fairly cheap. Staying in marinas is expensive, so we will most likely be moored or anchored and use our dingy to get you to and from the dock. Don’t worry – when you arrive we will show you how to use the dingy so that you can get to shore on your own if you need some shore leave from us.
What we expect from you:
Flexibility is key! As an old saying goes, you can tell us the time or the place but not both. This is because we don’t want to risk our safety more than necessary to meet you in a set place on a set date. Our plans are too weather dependent to be really reliable. It would be best if you give us a date you want to come visit, and as we get closer, we will give you a fabulous exotic location. We hope you can wait to book your flight as long as possible. Otherwise, be prepared to stay a few nights in a hotel room if we aren’t there yet. In addition, if you decide to visit us in, say, the Bahamas, we might suggest you book your flight for Nassau. A few days prior, you can book a local flight or take a ferry to get to us. Also, keep an eye on fare sales and our location. If anything coincides, last minute visits are welcome!
Packing is a bit tricky and takes some experience. Packing up a duffle bag or soft sided luggage is preferred because then you can fold and stow the suitcase. Don’t pack anything illegal. If you bring prescription drugs, please bring them in the original bottle. Pack lightly….if you don’t know if you should pack it, ask us! But you can assume that we have shampoo, conditioner, towels, and sunscreen. We will be wearing a bathing suit most of the time, but having nice clothes to go out to dinner is important too (hopefully your visit means I get a break from cooking every day!) But on that note, when we don’t go out, I will be cooking, so compliments to the chef are always appreciated!
Things to bring:
-Bathing suits (at least 2)
-Sunscreen (please don’t bring the spay kind, that stuff is slippery on deck!)
-A few nicer (like sundresses or shorts) outfits for going out
-Flip flops AND sneakers
-Your own mask and snorkel if you have one (otherwise, we’ll make arrangements)
Things not to pack:
-Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower gel (unless you have you own preferences)
-High heels (unless staying in a resort and not onboard)
-Laptop (it’s vacation!)
Let us know what kind of trip you want to have. You can join us for a passage (loosing sight of land for hours or days), island hop, or stay put (your own private floating cabana!). We want to make sure that we can accommodate that into our schedule. If you are concerned about being comfortable on our boat, you can book a marina slip for us, which is usually cheaper than a hotel room. If you’d rather not sleep onboard, no problemo. You can stay at a hotel and we’ll motor over and meet you. Or, for cheap living, we’ve got a tent and sleeping bags.
Conservation is pretty important to us. We try to generate minimal trash, and not waste water or electricity. We do have a watermaker and solar panels onboard, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to have a water fight using our aft deck hoses, or blast a hair dryer for half an hour.
Our toilets may be scary to those not used to a marine head. Don’t worry, we don’t mind explaining everything to you. Ladies, feminine hygiene products do not go into the toilets! Keep in mind that if you break it, one of us has to fix it, and that may include getting close and personal with whatever you put down the toilet (so we must really care about you if you are invited onboard). Perhaps read this book in advance of your trip?
We may ask you to bring some items with you. It may be a mechanical part from your local West Marine to bring down to the country-where-there-is-no-such-thing, or maybe a snack item we can’t find in a local store, or a beauty product I miss terribly. Either way, some space in your bag is appreciated!
For reading, it’s totally cool to bring a Kindle choc-o-box full of books. If you want to bring hard copy books, that’s cool too. If you want you can leave them behind once you are done with them and we will donate them to the next cruiser’s library we find.
We most likely won’t have internet while you are visiting us. If you need Internet let us know and we will help you figure out how to get some.
Now, you may be thinking you’re getting a sweet vacation deal cause you have awesome friends/family. Well you are, but we do ask that you clean up after yourself, help out with sailing work, and maybe if you really like us, treat us to a dinner out!
And finally, have fun! You are coming down to visit us and experience an exotic location and culture on a boat that we live aboard. If it turns out not to be your cup of tea, that’s ok too. You can set your self up in a hotel and we will meet up during the day if you need a big fluffy bed, or we can book separate day activities and meet up for meals. We get it – our lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but we still want you to have fun while visiting us! You can also tour pictures of our boat before you arrive, to understand a bit better of what you might be getting yourself into!
Don’t forget – notre maison est votre maison!