Sailing with Charlie: Caribbean Fun in 2021

The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter as visitors start their 2021 sailing adventure around Caribbean islands. Those who endured the protocols and challenges of all the entry procedures are the lucky ones. They are enjoying quiet and untrammeled anchorages – truly virgin islands, very appropriate for the BVI.

In days gone by, quarantine was not uncommon. With infectious diseases like yellow fever, typhus and cholera endemic in many countries, vessels entering foreign ports had to fly a yellow flag, the color of puss, (yuk!) to indicate that potentially they were not clean and had not been inspected and cleared by a medical inspector. Charlie remembers having to have a de-ratting certificate on his small yacht as late as the 70s – bureaucracy dies hard. Crews of vessels were often quarantined for days or weeks before given ‘pratique’ (permission to go ashore).

Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre
Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre

So today to have to stay aboard a luxury yacht, your very own island, in a pristine bay for a few days, still swimming, diving, snorkeling, dive bombing could hardly be called a hardship. The necessities of a Caribbean holiday can still be had – only on board instead of at the beach bar. Painkiller, colada and daiquiri ingredients are all available in the stores; just make sure you have quantities of ice (no deliveries will be available) and a decent blender on board. A case of rum should last for a few days!

Favorite Caribbean culinary delights include barbecued meals. Stock up on baby back ribs, chicken, burgers and dogs. The Caribbean cocktails slide down much easier when the aromas of a barbecue dinner are wafting in the breeze. Don’t forget the sounds – instead of live music you’ll have to create your own. Reggae favorites along with a healthy dose of Jimmy Buffett, Kenney Chesney and the likes of the BVI’s own pirate star Michael Beans, are essential. The legendary Bob Marley should be at the top of everyone’s musical choices.

For added fun create your own limbo competition. Catamarans have plenty of space on the foredeck and don’t forget to film the event. Loud Caribbean reggae music playing while Dad’s pot belly scrapes under the (not very low) limbo stick will have everyone crying with laughter and make all your friends back home as envious as can be as they huddle in their houses with no alternative.

After your quarantine period is up, head to a wonderful Caribbean beach, wiggle your toes in the sand and chat to the people. Then have a lobster dinner with all the trimmings – it will be a wonderful treat. But even during the quarantine there isn’t much you haven’t been able to experience. After all, the crystal- clear water is just as it has always been, the trade wind breezes are a constant 5 to 20kts at a balmy 80-degree temperature, as is usual. 

So, don’t hesitate – it’s 2021, a new year, a new beginning AND – a point to ponder: You’ve never been this old before AND you’ll never be this young again – Happy New Year!

Julian_Putley
Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.