Past Boarding Parties
Ron returns from Oklahoma to bring Mystique back to Florida. Disney Cruise Liner comes into clearer view.
Tyler and Meg near the swimming pigs of Big Major Cay
Lynne chilin' onboard near George Town, Great Exuma
Jared, Brenna, Galen and Ellen on Monument Hill, Stocking Island, Great Exuma. Bahamas
Schrecks minus Lynne on Stocking Island Beach, Atlantic side.
Ron on foredeck of Mystique near Marine Stadium, Miami and Key Biscayne
Ron using elbow grease cleaning on Mystique on the ICW.
Son Tyler soaking in the sun and the sea on Soldier's Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas, July 2014
Henry, Rose and Lynne on Mystique's foredeck off the north coast of Providenciales, Caicos, January 2014.
Elaine, Lynne and Greg just before dinner and sunset anchored off Stocking Island, Great Exuma February, 2014
Rose and Brenna during one of the brief showers in the Caicos January 2014.
Rose near Iguana Cay, North Caicos
Lookout for coral heads and rainbows in the Caicos, Christmas 2013
Henry, Brenna and Ellen on Great Sandy Cay, Turks
Lynne, Ellen and Galen walking one of the long beaches on Great Sandy Cay, Turks
Clint pointing the way to the castle at the entrance of San Juan, Puerto Rico harbor
Clint at the helm of Mystique while Mike prays to the sea gods for deliverance between St Maarten and Virgin Gorda.
Tied down, Clint and Mike cutting loose from Marigot Bay, Sint Maarten
Mike steering clear after his operation
Invitation to all new crew:
air, sun, sand, saltwater
- private berth
- waterfront views
- ever-changing horizons
- daily sunrises
- evening sunsets
- being or doing
- stimulating conversation or quiet
- airport pickup
- warm temperatures
- fresh air
- steady breeze
- clear water
- sun during daylight
- stars during nighttime
- drinking water unlimited - watermaker onboard
- water depth
- marine life
- bird life
- rain showers
- solar showers
- waterfront view
- private stateroom
- double bed
- fresh air conditioned
- hanging closet
- shared bathroom
Possible Solitary Endeavors:
- beach combing
Possible Group Activities:
- yoga stretching
Possible NightLife Entertainment:
- ship movie
- dancing on the foredeck
- crooning on the afterdeck
- Story-Telling - Whales Tale or Whoppers
- food shopping
- bathroom maintenance
Varies by airline, length of stay and willingness to work for grub and berth
- round trip airline ticket from somewhere to wherever we will be when you arrive.
- food and fuel contributions - approx $30 total per day
- No tip included in donation
What to bring: Baring necessities:
bathing suit, tooth brush and carefree attitude.
For a one week sailing vacation, the following items may be too much:
- 2-3 bathing suits
- 2-3 pairs of shorts
- 7 T-shirts (plus whatever you buy along the way)
- sandals and walking shoes (either tennis shoes or boat shoes) which can get wet
- swim suit cover-up; enough underwear for the week
- a light windbreaker for quick tropical downpours
- a beach towel; (There are bath towels on the boat)
- your personal toiletries
- a day pack or fanny pack that lets you carry money
- sunglasses, passport
- guide books
- a water bottle
Anything else you might need can be found ashore
- #1 Protection: Make sure you have protection from the sun. The constant trade winds keep the temperature comfortable, but the combined effect of overhead tropical sun and reflection from both sails and water can cause severe sunburns on pale northern urban bodies. It is imperative to have suntan lotion with at least SPF 15. In addition, do not forget sunglasses, a baseball cap or sun visor, and sunburn soothers like Aloe.
- First Aid: Be prepared for small emergencies. Bring any prescription medicine in their clearly marked original containers to avoid any hassles at Customs. Always have enough medicine on hand for a couple of extra days in case of travel delays when returning home. Although our vessel will have a First Aid Kit aboard, make sure to bring a small pouch of band aids, antibacterial cream, aspirin or non-aspirin pain relievers, seasickness remedies, anti-diarrhea medication, and a small can of bug spray. It is also important to bring along a small flashlight. Flashlights are great to have in your cabin in an unfamiliar dark boat, and are useful as dingy “headlights” when returning to your boat after a night ashore sampling tropical drinks.
- Water Gear. We will have plenty of snorkel equipment (masks, snorkel and flippers) already on board, but if using a second hand snorkel feels somewhat like your borrowing someone else’s toothbrush bring along an inexpensive snorkel.
- Camera: Do not forget your memory maker. You will want to remember your sailing vacation and be able to share it with others. Bring along a digital camera as well as an extra memory card and set of batteries in case you are unable to recharge it. Keep your camera in a good, strong, waterproof bag because it can get wet while sailing.
- Entertainment: Small items for free time either during an inter-island passage or in the anchorage. These items can include playing cards, paperback books, and CDs –we have audio equipment aboard. Our sailing vessel will be equipped with a set of binoculars, but some sailors like to bring along their own.
- Protection #2: Bring along Zip Lock bags in several sizes. They are good for keeping important travel documents dry, for putting damp swimsuits in before placing in your luggage, for separating clean from dirty laundry, and most importantly, wrapping up that bottle of rum or honey you bring back stateside so it does not leak in your duffel bag.
- Libation: Remember, however, that if you do have that bottle of rum, you will need to check your luggage. You cannot carry bottles of liquor on-board the airplane anymore.
- Money: American dollars and credit cards seem to work on every island.
- Clothes: You do not need a lot of clothes for a sailing vacation. During the days aboard the boat, you only need swimsuits and perhaps a cover-up. On shore, there are some finer class resorts and restaurants that require dress trousers and jackets for men and dresses for women. Most people on a sailing vacation prefer a more relaxed atmosphere. The majority of island restaurants are casual. Shorts and T-shirts are perfectly acceptable, even for dinner. A strong duffel bag works best because they can be folded up when not in use. In addition, their size limits what you can bring. Most importantly, a duffel bag fits in the overhead bin of an airplane.
- Information: Our boat has guidebooks, charts, maps and info about flora and fauna and places to eat, shop and explore. Depending upon location, we will have WiFi.
- Communication: Cell phones may or may not work depending on your carrier and your coverage plan and if you have a SIM card.
- Food/Snacks: Let us know if you have any food sensitivities, food allergies or requests; we often buy fresh food and vegetables ashore the day of departure so expect to visit a nearby grocery store prior to departure. Please feel free to contribute to food expenses and personal items at this time. We eat healthy and nourishing foods. Feel free to bring your own snacks. We often share meal preparation, cooking and cleaning chores.
- "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink." - This quote from the The Rime of the Ancient Mariner applies to the salty sea. Mystique has a watermaker installed on-board that produces 6 gallons per hour when the engines are running and supplies enough fresh, clean, purified, healthy H2O to drink and shower each day for crew.
- Protection #3: Extra bug spray, sunscreen and tanning lotions is available onboard. Application upon request.
- Toilets: Mystique has two heads and all new crew will have a free lesson on flushing. Advanced skill classes given upon request.
Please also bring onboard:
- card games
- sea yarns
Please also leave ashore:
- cigars / cigarettes
- criminal history
- political affiliations and views
Varies by plane, length of stay & willingness to work for grub and berth
- FREE Lodging & accommodations – private berth with waterfront views and ever-changing horizons (4 state rooms) (see details below)
- 1 round trip airline ticket from somewhere to wherever we will be when you arrive.
- Possible ferry ride or two
- Food / fuel…around $30 per day
Seasickness: Under the Weather:
If a crew member stands watch on the weather side of the bow, he could be subject to the beating of the waves and the ocean spray. If so, he or she will be "under the weather". If he or she is feeling dizzy, then he or she may feel "under the weather."
A few resources:
The following is taken from an article written by Betsy Crowfoot, Quokka Sports Staff, February 7, 1999: There comes a time in every sailor's life, when no matter how experienced and excellent he or she is - you'll get sick - sea sick, to be precise. There is no shame in going through this "phase", which certainly doesn't mean that it makes things any easier!
Here are some suggestions to help you avoid this sensation or alleviate the symptoms of seasickness.
Why do we get seasick?
Our brains get messages from all five senses - usually all at once. When you're on a boat sailing on large waves, your brain gets a mixed message: your eyes tell it that you're relatively stable (because you're moving with your "floor" - together with the boat), but your vestibular system in your inner ear (the one responsible for balance) tells it that you're moving back and forth, and up and down. At this point your brain gets confused, and it results in you being sick...
Simple, but miserable: How to avoid feeling seasick?
- Eat lightly in the morning (try to avoid fatty or rich foods, coffee and alcohol). Toast, fresh or dry fruit, and milk or juice might do the trick.
- Dress appropriately for the weather (remember that the weather on water is slightly different - may feel colder or warmer, depending on the amount and direction of the wind).
- Bring extra clothing with you - the ones you can easily put on or take off in case they become wet, or simply inappropriate.
- Educate yourself - if you know more, you won't get scared easily. Fear exacerbates sea sickness!
- Get enough rest if at all possible. Being tired also contributes to the queasiness of the sea sickness.
- While on the boat try to stay in the cockpit or on the deck - going below deck will certainly cause at least slight nausea.
- Try not to bend - keep your eyes on the horizon!
- Limit talking.
- Limit loud noises if possible.
- Keep yourself busy with sailing, i.e. steer the boat if you can, trim the sails, take pictures, and so on.
- You might want to take medication, although this will make you drowsy - it's your call!
What to do if you become seasick?
- Again, keep yourself busy with sailing - for me, steering works like magic!
- Try to eat juicy fruits: apples usually work very well.
- If you can't eat, try to drink very little amounts of fluid (water is best) every now and then. This is especially important if you already are really sick, and hanging out over the railing - you don't want to become dehydrated, it'll only slow your recovery.
- Keep yourself warm, but not too warm. If it's cold, take your sleeping bag outside (or ask somebody to give it to you!) and go right in. If it's hot - wear your sun hat, and a lot of sunscreen. Also, cover your shoulders.
- For some people, little wrist bands with buttons pressing on their pulse help. I've never tried one myself, but a few people told me it works.
- And once again, you might want to take medication - you might as well, since you're sick already. It might however make you drowsy, and you're not going to feel well anyway. It's best to talk to your doctor about this.
If all that fails - don't loose your good spirits! It WILL pass away. In only extreme cases this lasts longer than two days, and even two days is very uncommon. Usually only the first day in rough seas may be truly bad, but then your body adapts to the conditions, and you feel well for the remainder of the trip. And to give you even more reason not to feel embarrassed about this, below is a news report from the Around Alone web page describing how even the best of the best get sea sick...
"Seasickness is for sissies, right? Wrong. Even veterans of long ocean passages can suddenly be struck by this malady. It might be embarrassing for seasoned old salts to be seen heaving over the rail during a regatta, but at least in solo sailing only the patient need know the ugly truth.
When the patient is motivational speaker Neal Petersen, however, seasickness becomes just another lesson in life. "Right now I am very seasick and can't write," is how Petersen abruptly signed off in his first dispatch for Leg 3.
Despite 14,000 miles under his belt, Petersen (No Barriers) just couldn't chuck (pun intended) that queasy feeling. It was not surprising, as even the most seasoned sailors get green around the gills every once in awhile.
"There are times when no matter what, the motion is so disorienting, that even guys who have never gotten seasick can get it," explained Dr. Fred Frye, a San Diego, Calif. physician and sailor.
The vestibular system of the inner ear is responsible for keeping us oriented, or, "right side up," according to Frye. Seasickness occurs when visual and auditory input just don't jive.
"The way you hold your head when you're rolling and pitching at sea is a factor. Receptors in your feet, the pressure and position as you stand, are a factor. Your eyes are trying to equalize movement and fix on the horizon," Frye said. "But the little hairs in your ears are telling you another thing."
He added, "Suddenly these messages go to the brain and say, 'Oops, all is not well.'"
In the choppy seas Around Alone sailors faced the first day out, mal de mer would come as no surprise.
"I'm giving it my best but pounding into head seas down the east coast of NZ is not a very kind way to start a leg!" Mike Garside, aboard Magellan Alpha, alluded.
"Unfortunately it has been a long beat ever since and I am slogging along in a nasty chop with 20 knots of wind," added J.P. Mouligne on Cray Valley. A day later he lamented, "After 4 weeks of rest I felt rusty and seasick."
Medications such as Scopolamine stifle the natural outpouring of acid into the stomach and dull the messages sent to receptors in the brain. Anti-nausea pills change the sensation of the fluids that stimulate the inner ear. But medicines come with side effects -- Scopolamine can dilate the eyes and cause blurry vision; over-the-counter drugs often cause drowsiness.
Around alone sailors don't need to encourage sleepiness. They get little enough rest as it is.
Isabelle Autissier (PRB) pointed out there was no downtime after the start of Leg 3. "There's a bit of wind, 20 knots," she reported. "We've been tacking in the night. No sleep, because we're close to the coast."
"As we have had to tack through the Colville Channel and all its little islands all night there hasn't been a lot of sleep," Garside concurred.
"Lack of sleep exacerbates seasickness: our homeostatic systems are supposed to have time to rest and repair," said Frye, who is an avid fan of Around Alone and follows the sailors with admiration."
Dr. Frye -- who won the 1997 Transpacific Yacht Race in Cruising Class, aboard his 52-foot Salsipuedes -- is no stranger to the causes of seasickness. "You're very excited, because you're off and running. It's the culmination of all that work and preparation. And no matter how hard you've tried, you just haven't had enough sleep in the last few days. Anxiety adds to it -- and fear is part of the equation too!"
Prolonged seasickness has its own consequences. "Dehydration is the biggest threat," Frye said. "If you can't take anything in, you'll work on your fat stores for a while. But you'll be in trouble in three days."
Symptoms include intense nausea, headache, lethargy, dizziness, dryness, and hot and cold flashes. Some sailors describe it as a fate worse than death: first you're afraid you're going to die -- and then you're afraid you won't.
The rule for seasick sailors is to try and take small amounts of liquid, "one ounce and hour," to stave off dehydration until the nausea passes. In addition to medications, some find a cure in acupressure bands, or ginger drinks. "We don't know why, but if it works, go for it," Frye said.
Others get seasick just standing on the dock. For the most acutely affected, the only sure cure is the shade of an old oak tree."