Windjammer Nude Caribbean Cruise

Tropical Sailing Au Naturel

October 2005

by Sharon Conger

DAVE AND I went on the 2004 Nude Windjammer cruise and had such a good time that as soon as we got home, we called Christie Musik from Travel Au Naturel and signed up for the 2005 cruise, too. Once again, we had a blast.

This ain’t no foo-foo ship!

First, for those who aren’t familiar with Windjammer Barefoot Cruises, they’re a small fleet (only five ships) of refitted historical ships that offer “Barefoot” casual cruising. The ship we were privileged to experience is the S.V. Yankee Clipper, a 3-masted clipper ship that was originally built in Germany in 1927 and was one of the only armor plated private yachts in the world. She was confiscated by the US as a war prize in World War II, acquired by the Vanderbuilt family as a private yacht and then finally purchased by Windjammer in 1965.

The Yankee Clipper is a gorgeous ship with teak decks, lots of varnished wood and brass fittings and her Windjammer crew keep her lovingly maintained. She’s just 197 feet long, with berths for 64 passengers and 30 crew members—definitely not one of the big “floating hotel” type cruise ships, or as Windjammer regulars call them “foo-foo” ships.

Grenada is lovely!

The Yankee Clipper sailed out of Grenada at the time of our trip. Dave and I took a flight to Grenada with a long layover in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The only hard part of the cruise was getting to Grenada and back afterwards. Not many airlines seem to offer nonstop flights down there. (The Clipper now sails out of St. Lucia, which is much easier to get to from the US mainland.) Once in Grenada, we spent Saturday night in a nice hotel that was recommended by Christie. On Sunday we went on a tour of Grenada offered by the man with whom we contracted our transfers. Mandoo, from Mandoo Tours was terrific, very reliable on the transfers and very knowledgeable about the island’s history, people, politics, economy, and even its geology. He came highly recommended by some of our tour-mates and we found out why. During our tour of the island he told us that he also works as an ecologist and does ecological lectures at many of the local schools.

Mandoo drove us on a delightful route around several towns, up the side of the volcano to the forest and through several banana and nutmeg farms. Mandoo told us how some European countries that import bananas from Grenada are pressuring the farmers to make the bananas straight. Mandoo told us laughing that apparently they don’t realize the bananas start out hanging down and turn upwards as they grow. Who hasn’t at least seen a picture of a bunch of bananas? We also learned that nutmeg is a nut (actually a drupe) similar to a walnut, with a green husk that splits open to reveal the nut. The nut that we shave to season food is on the inside. The husk is actually used to make nutmeg jam. Dave and I bought a few jars of delicious nutmeg jam to take home with us, since we can’t get it in the US. It’s sweet and very slightly “nutmeggy”, kind of like honey but not as cloying. I love it.

One thing that shocked us was the amount of damage that was still apparent from Hurricane Ivan, which had struck the island the year before. We’d all heard on the news that Grenada was hit really hard. We can attest to that, they got creamed. Whole swathes of forest trees are still dead although the undergrowth of vines and shrubs are growing back, and we saw the ruins of many homes and buildings. We also saw quite a few being rebuilt — a whole year later!

The SVG Yankee Clipper
The SVG Yankee Clipper departs St. Vincent under full sail.
Map of St. Vincent, the Grenadines, and Grenada
The Grenadines run from St. Vincent south to Grenada.