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Steve Sciotto

Age: 44

Occupation:Engineer

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Windjammer Barefoot

Ship: Yankee Clipper

Sailing Date: N/A

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

After finishing a rather 'grueling' 4 years cloistered in the computer lab and library at UCF, I was ready for some relaxation.

I found it on an historic sailing vessel called 'Yankee Clipper' which took my wife and myself to a magical place known as the 'Windward Islands'.

The trip began in the noisy port of St. Georges, where an all-night street festival was already underway when we arrived. We opted for the 'stowaway night', and stayed on the ship in the harbor in the middle of a huge party...you'd have thought Jesus had come back, that's how intense this party was.

I didn't get much sleep, even though the small cabin with private bath (which I'd paid extra for) was cozy enough. A light, cool breeze issued forth from the sole air conditioner vent. If you kept the bathroom close, we found, it would cool off in short order. There was ample room for our clothes and dive gear - even an extra bunk over us which we used to stow our bags and souvenirs. We shoved off early the next morning.

We made our first destination that evening, just as the sun was going down...a deserted island...and slept on the boat after dinner and a few 'rum swizzles'.

The next day, we snorkeled and sunned and basically began the very enjoyable process of 'decompressing' from too much city life. There was no one on the island but our small group (about 50 passengers). Not a full boat, but even if it had been (max 64), we would find later that you actually get to know people on a smaller ship like the 'Clipper', and so we did.

Most of the sailing was actually done at night, and when I think back, I can still feel the ship under me, rocking us gently to sleep.

I think it was the second night out after that first day of beachcombing that I'd gone 'topside' in the middle of the night. The lack of sound woke me - I thought there was something wrong.

A warm, sweet Caribbean breeze filled my nostrils and I knew I wasn't in 'Orlando' anymore.

The ship heaved and sighed under each wave. Looking up, I saw a spectacularly clear sky filled with stars.

When I asked if everything was OK, the helmsman informed me he was able to shut down the ship's diesel engines and make hull speed on a port reach. Cool - I knew what he meant. That primer on seafaring lingo actually came in handy. I went back to my bunk and slept like a baby.

It seems like forever ago and yesterday all at once. Each day brought subtle changes in climate and scenery, but it was mostly a very mellow, relaxed time. I got my fill of snorkeling and diving. The wife got some desperately needed solitude. We hated for it to end.

One of the passengers, a school teacher from Grand Cayman Island, didn't want it to, either. She'd opted for the 'half-price' package for succeeding weeks. By the time our cruise was over, she'd been on the ship for a month.

Now that's a 'power vacation'.

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