Island hopping is one of the best activities to do when you’re traveling to beautiful archipelagos. There’s nothing like hopping from one island to the next as you enjoy some quality time with your friends, family and fellow sailors.
Going to the beach can become an unforgettable adventure if you go beyond the usual routine of swimming and sitting on your beach chair. Explore the hidden beauty of tropical paradises and take pictures of places unknown to landlubber tourists. We as sailing cruisers get front row seats at some of the most extraordinary places on Earth.
While going on such an adventure sounds a whole lot of fun, it can also be a major cause of trouble. That is if you come unprepared. Different islands inevitably have different features and terrains. What this means is that you may have to deal with certain obstacles and terrain. You should have the right gear with you to make your trip as smooth as possible. The following are 4 must-bring items as you island hop and conquer the beautiful islands.
1. Proper Clothes
When it comes to preparing clothes, you shouldn’t just think about what’s going to look good on you. Sure, you want to look your best when you snap that “outfit of the day” photo, but you should also keep in mind that you want something durable and functional. This is particularly true if your itinerary involves climbing and other similar outdoor activities. You don’t want to wear that fancy dress as you climb several hundred steps up a rocky peak. Ideally, the clothes you wear should be made from material that allows your skin to breathe. You might also need a jacket to protect your skin from the sun or from rain showers.
2. Medical Kit
In all my sailing cruises, I put safety first. Responsible captains have to prepare for all possible scenarios. You can never tell when an accident is going to happen, so bringing a medical kit with you is essential. For instance, it’s common to suffer from scrapes and cuts when mountain climbing or trekking. Don’t forget to bring medicine if you’re prone to certain allergies or illnesses. Also remember to include sunscreen lotion for constant protection against the harmful rays of the sun. The sun can be brutal in the tropics (as any sailor can tell you). Be prepared. I’ve had many days ruined by careless attention to the sun and how long I’m out.
3. Snack Box
It doesn’t matter how beautiful the islands you visit are. Your day can be an unpleasant one if you don’t have proper food or water. Carrying adequate water supplies for everyone is essential. Bring a little snack box with you so you can eat snacks during your trip. I have blood sugar level issues so I always have to be prepared with some sweet snacks to avoid a sugar crash. If you’ve never had a total sugar crash, it is a very unpleasant experience. You can even bring pre-cooked food with you if you plan on having lunch at the beach. Food can also be a great conversation starter with other sailors, as you share meals and stories with them. Always bring lots of water. The last thing you want is to get dehydrated.
4. Small Bag
As mentioned earlier, you have to be ready for whatever terrain you’ll have to deal with during your trip. Having both your hands free makes it easier to hold on to crevices and take photos of all the places you go to. This is why a small bag comes in really handy. This is where you can store all your items including your snack box, medical kit, camera and other personal items.
Exploring the islands is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the gifts of Mother Nature. And with your sailboat to bring you anywhere, you can avoid the tourist traps (for the most part). I remember my first time visiting The Baths on Virgin Gorda many years ago. It was basically deserted. I went back just a couple years ago and there were lines!
Ever been to The Bitter End? It was just a small rustic outpost during my first visit; only a couple years open. Last time there it had become a full blown tourist stop. They still cater to sailors, but there’s also a large non-sailing tourist population. I’ve got nothing against tourists as long as I’m not one of them.
Anyway, get the most out of your trip by being well equipped for all kinds of situations. Be sure to prepare all the items listed above and you can rest assured that your trip will go as smoothly as it possibly can.