Written by Narendra Sethia

Perched on a hill top in lush tropical gardens overlooking St Vincent’s
south coast is a unique establishment that has evolved over
the years into one of the most successful family businesses in the
country – Barefoot Yacht Charters and Marine Centre.
But, in spite of the name, Barefoot is not only about boats.
For starters, you’ll find here one of the finest restaurants on the island –
Driftwood (motto: ‘eat, drink, drift’) offers a wonderful Mediterranean
menu at very reasonable prices. Guests can enjoy such delicacies as
home-made crab cakes, freshly-baked focaccia, bruschetta, mouth-watering
pastas, and a wide selection of delicious salads and original, thin-crust
Italian pizzas. On a hot day, you can chill out in the air-conditioned lounge/
bar with uninterrupted views across the Bequia Channel.
Just up the hillside are the Barefoot Suites – five ocean-view suites with
verandas, private bathroom, air conditioning, cable TV, fridge, coffeemaker
and top quality furnishings. With free Wi-Fi and an internet café with
high-speed connection, the main veranda is a great place to catch up
with news from home, or to chat with the very talkative Amazon parrots, Trini
and Lopez – who will sing happy birthday to you if you ask nicely, and
will wish you goodbye (very loudly and with a wave of the wing) when you
leave. If you’re heading for the water, you might stop at the Barefoot Surf Shop
and Watersports Centre – here, visitors can rent kayaks, surf-boards, fishing
gear, paddle boards and snorkelling equipment. Alternatively, step into the
Barefoot Boutique – a regular treasuretrove of high quality Caribbean and
South American handicraft, swim and casual wear, postcards, artwork and
distinctive gifts with a local flavour. The Barefoot complex houses the
only sail repair facility on St Vincent and Barefoot’s own highly-trained staff can
take care of everything from stitching a seam to making a new sail.
Their full-time staff includes professional engineers,
carpenters, electricians and refrigeration experts –
and also Instructors from the American Sailing
Association (ASA) who can introduce novices to the delights of life afloat, or
help old salts brush up on their skills –Barefoot’s ASA school is the only one in
the country and the company is proud to have taken several of their
Vincentian staff through the certifications, which are recognised
world-wide. Back on the water, the companyoffers a fleet of 25
‘self-drive’ yachts,but for less experienced clients, or those
looking for a little more pampering, they also offer one of the 100 fully
crewed yachts that are on their books. These vessels have a full-time captain
and chef and offer a variety of ‘water toys’ and cuisine that rivals the food
found in the finest shore resorts and restaurants. Fully crewed charters are a
favourite with honeymooners and the rates are surprisingly affordable.
Barefoot Yacht Charters is the only locally-owned yacht charter company
in the southern Caribbean – and the only one owned and managed by a
lady – Mary Barnard. Now celebrating 25 years in business, Mary has
developed the facility from its humble beginnings with 10 yachts in rented
premises, to a substantial organisation in its own custom-designed marina
which offers a diversity of amenities rarely found in one spot.
One of their clients recently summed it up perfectly – ‘The
ambiance of your marina is unique,and the spirit of your staff superb.’

Categories: St. Vincent

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