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Old 07-11-2018, 08:31 AM   #15
Mediocre with flashes of brilliance
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I think I've been to 26 different ports in Mexico, Cali and the Caribbean and all of them (except Venezuela, which is another story entirely) have some sort of recreational opportunities/tours. Many of them are great because you don't want to just walk around in port and shop. You want to get out there and experience something of every place you stop.

My absolute favorite was Twelve Meter Yacht Racing on St. Martin, which is one of the top 3 islands overall, imo.

Nobody else in my group wanted to do it, so I went solo on the actual Stars and Stripes boat that won the America's Cup for Dennis Connor back in the day. I volunteered for an active role so was assigned to be a "grinder" and work the winch that moved the sail for tacking and jibing. My partner on the two-person winch was a 90 pound Canadian woman which meant I had to do the majority of the work and it was extremely demanding. If you ever get a chance-- don't do it. Just sit back watch somebody else sweat.

We raced against a Canadian boat. It was very exciting and the crews were quite competitive against each other. At one point I slipped on the wet, tilted deck and gashed my shin on the winch and started bleeding pretty good. An island crew kid tiredly says to me "get out of dere, mon, you're bleeding ull over de place", but I told him to get lost and he soon gave up. I ain't got time to bleed.

I was sucking wind by the end of it, but we won by one foot and I was completely elated. An endorphin rush. Until you've been on one of those boats you would never believe how beautifully they slice through the waves. Like a hot knife through butter. An amazing experience that cost me 115 bucks. Well worth it for the memory bank.

2nd place was scuba diving to a shipwreck in Grand Cayman down to 85 feet-- which was the deepest I'd ever gone. The water was crystal clear. I ended up blowing an eardrum out, which was fairly serious, but I still treasure the memory of that day. I'll never be able to dive again, but it was worth it.

I'd give 3rd place to river kayaking in Dominica which is a largely undeveloped, natural island. We shot rapids and ended up out in the ocean in good-sized breakers and then drank like Vikings.

All this reminiscing is making me want to go back.
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