Have you already started packing for your voyage in the San Juan Islands? No doubt you’ve already covered the basics including weather-appropriate clothing, toiletries, sunscreen, and snacks, but be sure to make room in your luggage for other cruising essentials. If this is your first time on a charter, take note of these items. It’s better to be prepared for what lies ahead.
Waterproof Bags and Cases
It’s a safe assumption that you’re going to get wet on the cruise at some point, especially if you plan on spending as much time as possible on deck. Along with moisture-wicking clothing and rubber-souled shoes, invest in a dry bag or two. These watertight containers will come in handy if you plan to sneak in some diving or snorkeling in between islands. Use it to carry your gadgets, cash and other valuables whenever you leave the ship. And just for another added layer of security, get waterproof cases or bags for your cameras, phones and other electronic devices.
Chargers and Power Strips
Speaking of gizmos, you’ll need to keep these charged up if you don’t want to miss a perfect photo opportunity or a call from your fellow adventurers. Aboard a charter vessel, there might be a limited number of outlets, so bringing your own power strip could come in handy. Bring all the charging cables and adapters for your devices so you can charge them all at once. On some vessels, recharging your devices should be attended to whenever you are in port and the vessel itself is taped into land power lines.
Your Own Binoculars
You can’t expect your charter to hand out binoculars for all passengers on board. Of course, your crew needs to use theirs for proper navigation and safe passage. Instead, pack your own binoculars so you’ll always have some at a moments notice. You’re going to use them a lot to follow along as your on board guide tells you about the islands or when you happen upon a pod of whales that frequent the Salish Sea. Look for binoculars with a higher magnification power if you want to spot things clearly from a distance.
Thermal Coffee Canister
It can get cool on cruises even if night hasn’t fallen yet. Aside from bundling up, the next best thing you can do to keep warm is drink your fill of your favorite hot beverage. You will normally find provisions onboard to make coffee, tea or hot cocoa, but you don’t want to run around the deck with a mug full of hot water. That’s just an accident waiting to happen. Pour your hot drink into your own thermal canister so you can take it with you wherever you go.
IDs and Passports
It’s good practice to carry around your IDs with you wherever you go, and especially when you are traveling. But what about your passport? If you’re a U.S. citizen going on a sail that would start and end on the same U.S. port, you won’t have much use for a passport. If you’re from a foreign country, however, you will need to keep your passport with you at all times. Then again, it is safer to bring a colored copy of your passport should your ship be forced to disembark on a foreign port in case of an emergency. You will be sailing through borderland waterways. Plans can change and you may want to be spontaneous and visit the port of a little Canadian village. This will ensure that you can return home with less hassle.
Medication and Seasickness Remedies
If you or someone in your family regularly takes medication, make sure they pack more than enough to last the trip. You can’t exactly make stopovers if you run out on the way to the next island. Bring seasickness remedies as well for those in your party who may be subject to motion sickness. Better yet, bring anti-motion sickness wristbands and wear them before you cast off.
Life on a ship can be quite enjoyable if you remember to pack the right things. If you wish to know what else you need to bring with you on your vacation, ask your would-be crew for suggestions.