To quote a Jimmy Buffett song “Some never find it, Some only pretend… I just want to live happily every after every now and then”. The moment I stepped foot onto Sail Windjammer’s S/V Mandalay’s deck I had that “happily ever after” feeling! I had sailed on the S/V Mandalay with the old Barefoot company and I thought those days were long gone.
The Sail Windjammer's crew has a contagious smile. They are truly having the time of their lives welcoming long time Jammers home and showing those new to Windjammer what the Caribbean really should be. In the 2-weeks I spent on board, Captain Sly and the crew did their best to ensure that each passenger had the best vacation ever.
Old Windjammer traditions of captains story time, dancing on the decks to island music, crab races, sea hunt and raising of the sails to Amazing Grace were honored. We rode in the widows net (in a safety harness) while under sail back to Grenada. Sly held several star gazing classes. I finally saw the Southern Cross and now can easily identify it (Thank you Sly). A very special Mandalay pirate flag was raised, and we even fired the canon on the Diamant. We visited Bequia, Tobago Cays, Carriacou, Chatham Bay & Clifton on Union Island, Palm Island, Happy Island, Sandy Island and Mayreau. Sea life was abundant.
The turtles did not disappoint, as we visited them on Bequia at the sanctuary, swam with them in the Tobabo Cays, and also, the purser, Ciara arranged a special tour for us to see Leatherbacks nesting & hatching on Grenada (very awesome)! We saw lots of stingrays and even had a special appearance by a large eagle ray while swimming with the turtles at Tobago Cays. There were lots of tangs, parrot fish, trumpet fish, puffers, squid, a few eels and even a juvenile shark was sighted. The Grenadines gave us perfect robins egg blue sky and calm seas both weeks.
I don’t remember seeing the Mandalay in better condition. We had the King cabin with its huge bed and a shower sized for a normal home. Every cabin that we took a peek at, looked to be very comfortable. Every morning Captain Sly asked if there were any problems with the cabins; any issues raised were addressed and corrected… duct tape is no longer needed to adjust the temperature in your room like in the old days!
Philbert and Ren did their best to see that we all gained weight during our vacations. I can’t think of one meal that I did not thoroughly enjoy. I even threatened that if I win the lottery I’m coming after those two for my personal chefs! One passenger had a wish to assist in the galley and it was granted. His comments were “it is clean back there” and about what an amazing job they do difficult conditions… the ship was under sail and while he was sliding all around as he worked, Philbert and Ren were steady and a rock.
I can’t tell you enough how much the crew makes the trip. I’m not sure that I can name all 20 of the crew… I know I will miss someone and everyone of them worked so hard to make our trip, but here it goes. Captain Sly doing his job (which is to look good, just ask him). Blaze making sure that Sly didn’t get us lost. Ciara organizing all the paperwork and great tours. Grandpa (Marlon) and Rocky serving our meals and making towel animals for our cabins. Rocky had a birthday that we all celebrated, too. Mashup and Conrad served up creative drinks and potent rum swizzles. Philbert and Ren making such awesome food. Quinty and Spice kept us safe as they shuttled us to and from shore in the launch. The deck hands and engineers that we didn‘t see as much but appreciate all their hard work keeping the Mandalay in such fine shape: Brian, Squall, Yellow, Chippy, Blair, Lennox, Browne, and Joseph. Joseph, also, had a birthday that we all celebrated. Squall made a new rope anklet for me. Thanks everyone for the best 2-weeks!
For those reading this; I would like to echo Jimmy Buffett’s advice:
“Take it from me ‘cuz I’ve found , If you leave it then somebody else is bound, To find that treasure, that moment of pleasure, When yours, it could have been“.
Go find the Mandalay and “that moment of pleasure”. Don’t let it become a “could have been”.
2016 HAL Eurodam
2016 Sail Windjammer Mandalay
2015 Sail Windjammer Mandalay
2014 Sail Windjammer Mandalay
2013 Sail Windjammer Mandalay
2012 Island Windjammer Diamant
2009 Carnival Cruise Line Legend
2007 Celebrity Cruises Galaxy
2007 Windjammer Legacy
2007 Windjammer Yankee Clipper
2006 Windjammer Yankee Clipper
2006 Windjammer Mandalay
2005 Windjammer Legacy
2000 Celebrity Cruises Horizon
1997 Dolphin Cruise Line
1993 Big Red Boat