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Old 18-07-2009, 18:12   #1
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Sold the House, Buying the Boat and Off We Go

Salutations!
One of the sole places in the Universe that still remains under the domain of the free may very well be the open waters.
Long being a dream to explore the world and appreciate the capacity and complexity of the human being , we have decided to just "go". We are literally selling all fixed assets and in so doing, unburdening ourselves of the possessive material world.
Never to be one to follow and assimilate, we are anxious to demonstrate to our four girls that there is place for all individuals in this world. I'd like them to learn to navigate themselves both in the societies they are raised in combined with the knowledge and confidence to move outside this box. The development of a person is a life long pursuit destined to move at it's own unique pace.
This belief firmly entrenched in our minds, we decided that there has been enough talk; time to do it.
There really will be no ideal time; so this is it.
So!
Any thoughts on where to start?
Not being a family who can idle under a palm tree, we are looking for projects where we could engage ourselves in the culture we are visiting while also giving something back to the people who's land we are frequenting.
The first destination will be the Bahamas for this coming winter of '09-'10. This first season we are going to be gone for a trial run in our smaller 27' vessel for a period of five months. ( We can actually trailer this boat down from Eastern Canada faster than sailing the Ditch, so we will launch from Florida and head across).
We have been desperately trying to link up with those in need of our time and skills in the less popular Outer Islands. Ideally, we would like to help out at an orphanage or school.
Carpenters by trade, accented with a miriad of talents ranging from midwifery to mechanics and any links in between, we feel that there would inevitably be a place in need of our attention.
Any thoughts? Any sense of direction or connection would be greatly appreciated.
Glad to be part of the forum!
Cheers,
Simonne, Luke and Crew
ps. The most potent step was that of declaring," Yes, we're going." So few words, but so colossal in meaning!
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Old 18-07-2009, 18:28   #2
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Humanitarian Project Needed, Bahamas

Salutations!
As I type this message I must constantly restrain myself from rising into the air ....the weight of the world has been hefted off of my shoulders!
We have decided to leave the" rat race" of this world and attempt with all our might to take time into our own hands.
All fixed assets are being liquified, we're on the look-out for our chosen vessel, a Cal 2-46, and hope to be sailing free within the year.
There is a plan B, however.
And that is to trailer our Whitby 27' down to Florida from Eastern Canada, launch and sail to the Bahamas for five months this coming winter.
We'll have the majority of our four children with us, and are intent of finding a humanitarian project to engage ourselves in while away. We are not a family to idle, and would love the chance to give back to a culture and community that is so willing to allow us the run of their paradise islands.
We are carpenters by trade; have a high list of alternate skills like teaching, mechanics, athletics, and midwifery, and feel that we could help those in need of our guided assistance.
There is still time left for us to rally our community in Nova Scotia to fund or item raise.
Does anyone have some advice in terms of direction or connection?
Greatly appreciated!
Simonne, Luke and Crew
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Old 18-07-2009, 18:42   #3
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If you're going to the Bahamas and you want to help load your boat up with school supplies. Books, crayons, pens, pencils etc. In the out islands the schools will appreciate your support. In addition you can volunteer to teach in the schools. Just English or if you've got a specialty that. Just a day or so but the kids really like it.

Also folks in FL. collect books and school supplies to take to the Bahamas. They're always looking for a boat that can make a run. If you want I can pm you on who to contact.
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Old 18-07-2009, 19:00   #4
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If you have 5 months why not spend a few weeks in Haiti. They need everything!

And if the kids are old enough, bring a book called Mountains Beyond Mountains for reading during the journey. It will let them learn how many people in the Caribbean really live.
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Old 18-07-2009, 19:59   #5
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Our all time favorites are Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Ecuador but the absolute top of the list is Indonesia.
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Old 20-07-2009, 17:14   #6
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Just be careful of coming on too strong with a "I am a big 1st world country citizen and I know everything." - or something like that. The people in these smaller, less rich countries have pride in their lives and country. You are the outsider. Humility, offering friendship and assistance has to be done very carefully. - - And politically correct. The governments of these little countries can get real upset if you show up and demonstrate how awful the conditions are which would reflect badly on the "leader" of the country. You will not have any protection from your home country and you are totally subject to the local laws and attitudes.
- - Doing little things - quietly - helping one family here or maybe helping a school there is great - but remember to keep a very low profile and not draw attention from any officials. Also you cannot work outside your home country (accept any money) without the permission of the local government. That can get you in serious trouble. Working under the umbrella of some International health or relief NGO's is sometimes an easier way to contribute to the local people.
- - Things are different out here from back home. One of the greatest benefits is healthier lifestyles and lack of media and governmental induced stress. That can add 10+ years to your life, not to mention simply being happy and smiling a lot more. But you must be willing to meld into the local way of doing things. And that can be difficult and quite stressful if you try to impose your "home" moralities and attitudes on the way they live their lives.
- - In the Caribbean there is a thing called "Island Time" - Here in Grenada we called "GMT" - not "Greenwich Mean Time" but Grenada "Maybe" Time. Things move very slowly. When they tell you that you will get it "immediately" that means probably sometime this week. "Right away" mean sometime this month or year. And "as soon as we can" or "ASAP" means you will not live long enough to see it. So you need to shift gears and change your attitudes about some things and then you will join the rest of us smiling and exploring and marveling at the "simplier" and more "natural" lifestyle.
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Old 21-07-2009, 13:41   #7
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Excellent advice from osirissail
Keep in mind that the electronics, the tackle,or even the anchor is worth more money than they will see from working a year, if they are lucky enough to be working. The clothes you have on your back are beyond them. That makes it difficult for you to approach them with the spirit of giving. What I try to do is accept that I'm a tourist and try to be a good one. Hire some kid to watch your boat, pay someone to teach you the language even if you do spend all day teaching them english, hire a local boat to take you snorkeling, stay with a local family in their home, have someone take your kids for a day. You can do all of that for $20 or $30 a day and have a fabulous time.
Whatever you do, NEVER discuss religion, even if they bring it up.
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Old 22-07-2009, 23:28   #8
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Look at Hands Across the sea: Hands Across the Sea

What TL & Harriet are doing on a very small scale is fantastic! We helped with the building and painting of bookcases in Dominica. And I wish we could have stayed and done more.

Contact them and they will give you a lot of great informaiton about helping people in the islands! They are really wonderful people.
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Old 23-07-2009, 10:03   #9
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Congratulations !! Most people don't recognize the guts it takes to sell everything you have collected all your life and throw away all that is accepted in north american lifestyle. Since we did it 3 years ago, we know. At this point I would not worry about what your going to do down the road. You need to spend your time and thoughts on making sure your new home is safe and set up properly. You will find something along the way to do or you will meet and talk to cruisers with realistic ideas. We don't agree with many of the posts do to security which has gotten much worse in the last 6 months. Many of the islands and places above are not realistically safe anymore.
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Old 23-07-2009, 10:23   #10
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I'm in Coral Harbour on the south side of New Providence, Bahamas. I have a good dock and location. Maybe we can do a little bartering on your way to the Out-islands?
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Old 23-07-2009, 11:17   #11
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The San Blass in Panama would be where I would go.


Not the eastern end which is commercialized. They inundate your boat with their dugout selling their Molas.


The western end is the place to go. Five years ago they might see 1-4 boats a year.



The San Blass is an autonomous region where the Panamanian government has no authority and does not interfere. It is essentially an area of city states all cooperating with each other. The only way one can own land is to be a native Kuna in Indian. They are the only region of native Indians that govern themselves. They are a wonderful people who mostly still practise their ancient religion. A number of evangelist types have been working at converting them. During their revolutionary ceremonies they forget all that and go back to their grandfathers beliefs. They are surprising well travelled. Most of the teenagers leave the area to pursue their dreams. After a few years to decades they come back satisfied they have a better life in the islands. They have very strong family ties. They are a proud people with a lot of history.


They can use basic medical assistance, eyeglasses, equipment repair etc..


I have fixed sewing machines, outboard motors, chainsaws, electrical equipment, worked on their farms, cut trails, cut and hauled lumber, etc. It is rewarding as they let you into their lives and you do get to see them as a people. I have been invited to take picture of weddings, group events and funerals. They are a proud people with a lot of history.



A note of caution: they are very, very good at taking advantage of the good nature of cruisers in the area. They do know how to appear to be poor and destitute when they need to.


Their culture has been under a lot of pressure from outside forces. They could use help but not interference. Help them, do not tell them. Spend the time to listen and observe. Do not assume you know better, they have a reason for why they are doing something a certain way. It becomes evident with time.
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Old 25-07-2009, 10:52   #12
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I would have to agree with Mustang Sally that it takes courage to head on out here, but as she said and I will amplify - Do some serious research and thinking time on making sure your boat is ready, willing and able to cruise the islands. Redundant systems, backups and a lot of mental planning for any and all possible equipment failures, security risks, and alternate courses of action. Doing the brain work before the problem surfaces saves time and lives when an incident happens or threatens to happen. If my pronouns are not specific that is because subjects range from collisions at sea with whales, containers, and other "hard" debris can put you on the "long-distance swimming team" if you are not prepared. Other hazards range from medical - the "trotts" from eating local veggies and cuts and lacerations without proper medicine onboard to stop infections to broken arms, head injuries from swinging booms (although I have walked into my boom head first while it was stowed) to boat systems failures - fuel contamination - lost potable water due to pipe breakage - electrical fire - and so on and so on. Basically you are out "there" just like the astronauts/cosmonauts with your ship containing your whole life-support systems and little or no chance of immediate help or rescue - so plan ahead.
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Old 25-07-2009, 11:55   #13
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Additionally, security is becoming a larger consideration these days. Whether it is a better system of reporting; or fewer cruisers out here causing the percentages to increase; or actual increases in "bad guys" - I don't know. But there is a definite shift in the "bad guys" tactics towards insuring that there are no witnesses left alive. Presently, I cannot say there is any of the islands where killing or the attempted killing of cruisers has not occurred. But I believe that still the percentages of criminal incidents has not changed. You can read statistics that you have a one in ???? chance of getting attacked or having an incident. But when it comes down to me, myself, and I the odds are - in reality - 50-50% you do or you do not get attacked. But overall there are much worse - by far - places in this world than the Caribbean basin.
And I am convinced that the uninformed and naive are bearing the majority of incidents. That does not mean that only "newbies" are getting hit, old-timers, including myself, have been hit because we get too complacent and forget the simple common sense rules of safety and security. "Lock it or lose it" - dinghies chained to every dock you stop at along with motors and fuel tanks chained to the hull of the dinghy. Locking the boat and making sure hatches are dogged. Having internal locking systems to thwart entry by "bad guys". Defensive systems available and ready to use - (no firearms) - and the psychological readiness to use them. The most effective defensive system is your brain and common sense. Do not anchor out by yourself in areas where locals gather and party. Travel in herds (like wildebreast) and make sure you are in the middle of the herd. The Lion only gets the stragglers on the outside edges.
The new change in tactis from the old days of roaming unfettered wither and hither is caused by large increases in population on the islands, especially in teens and young men combined with ever increasing unemployment numbers. Increases in advertising media available to the young people that trains them that they must have this or that "latest fashion, device or fad" or they are not human. And exposing them to high levels of violence as the "solution to their problems." And decreasing budgets of the governments resulting in the underfunding of Public Safety departments. All of this and other factors shifts the responsibility of our own safety strictly onto our own shoulders. So we must adopt new patterns of behavior different from the "old ways."
Once you have made the shift and adopted the new ways of enhancing cruising security you will significantly increase your enjoyment of all the still good and wonderful experiences that are available in the Caribbean. It is all up to you.
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Old 25-07-2009, 13:32   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
... But I believe that still the percentages of criminal incidents has not changed. You can read statistics that you have a one in ???? chance of getting attacked or having an incident. But when it comes down to me, myself, and I the odds are - in reality - 50-50% you do or you do not get attacked. But overall there are much worse - by far - places in this world than the Caribbean basin...
orrisail offers some good advice, but there’s difference between probability and odds, and, in all practicality, orrisail addressees neither.
Reducing a question to yes or no, does not equate to 50:50 chances nor odds.
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Old 31-07-2009, 15:24   #15
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we have 1 chambered and 5 in the "tube" at the ready... in addition.
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