It is important not to bring hard shell luggage of any kind; even the cloth-sided but rigid variety. Please pack in a duffel or a frameless backpack. You may well end up sleeping with your duffel in your bunk.
During the day, everyone’s things will likely be pushed into a corner somewhere so that we can use the cabin; especially on a rainy day. ‘Packing cells’ are a cool idea. They are kind of like fabric dresser drawers that you can use to segregate groups of items in your luggage. Dry bags or even the limited use of ziploc bags will help keep important things dry. Everything will get wet at some point. Please be sure to take home all plastic bags you may have packed. There is enough plastic in the ocean. It is hard enough to get rid of garbage out in this world. Even then it is not always handled well by the locals.
Please pack *a*lot* fewer clothes than you would think you need. This is not a sexy statement. Space is at a premium and this is not a fashion zone. You will probably wear the same t shirt two or three times. The most likely time that a dinner ashore would require a nice shirt and long pants or a skirt would be in the larger cities or bigger islands where arrivals and departures are likely to happen. Think of your travel clothes as your “dining attire.” The rest of the week you can probably get by on a couple pairs of shorts, three or four t shirts, and a few bathing suits. Boat shoes or white/light soled tennis shoes are required. Shoes that will mark the deck or carry mud and sand onboard will have to be removed at the dock and put in a bucket until the wearer is leaving the boat again. Flip flops are OK ashore, but boat shoes or bare feet work best while moving around the boat underway.
It might seem to violate the “bring less than you think rule,” but bring some sensible lightweight pajamas. I will not be responsible for what you might accidentally ‘show off' when you’re called on deck in the middle of the night to help bring down a sail. This is not the time to remember that all you brought was a tiny nightie or some inappropriately loose boxer shorts. The skipper promises not to wake you often. By the same token, when called you will be needed on deck right away. If you’re lucky, it will be storming and I will have given the benefit of a doubt to get some gear on.
Even in the tropics, nights can get cool. Sailing offshore is cooler than expected even during the day. Long pants or wind pants, long sleeves and a windbreaker are bare minimum essentials. If you have foul weather gear, please bring it. If you don’t, you will have to get by wearing one of the skipper’s spares. Lack of foul weather gear will not relieve you from standing watches in inclement weather. Sunglasses are necessary, but please bring polarized sunglasses as they will be needed to help navigate through the reefs. A wide brimmed hat is recommended. Sailing gloves or something similar are useful; there are spare gloves in various states of wear aboard Ruth Ann. There are also a number of basic adult sized, personal flotation devices on board. However, if bringing a child (not very likely in the mind of the skipper), please bring an appropriately sized PFD.
Do bring whatever medications you require for about 150% of the time you expect to be aboard Emma. There are basic first aid supplies, anti-seasickness and other OTC remedies onboard. Additionally, for safety’s sake, the skipper will need to know about any health concerns or conditions that might either inhibit your participation or suddenly present themselves.
Bring your camera; a flashlight or better yet a headlamp; a book or your Kindle; earplugs and a sleeping mask if you sleep lightly. Bring sanitary items as needed. You will know ahead of time if you should bring a sleeping bag. There are a variety of sheets, pillows and blankets onboard but if we are travelling in temperate or northern latitudes, something more might be necessary.
Please do not bring a hair dryer, curling iron or other beauty appliance. Do not bring high heeled shoes, dressy clothes or lots of jewelry. It will not be that kind of trip and ostentatious displays ashore can result in bad situations with people who have bad intentions. Don’t bring anything you don’t want to get wet or bring appropriate protection for those items.
Also, do not bring sunscreen containing oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate or a chemical called 4MBC. These chemicals are killing and inhibiting the growth of the coral reefs. This is important enough to me that I will check what is brought onboard and dispose of anything not appropriate.
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