Monique Burgess

Sunday March 19, 2001
Prickly Bay, Grenada

I recently received an email from a best friend of mine; Amy, and she spoke about her "self-exploration" after college and how important it was to her. It made me begin to think back to graduation day at Salve Regina University in May of 2000. Up until that day I thought that childhood memories with my family, high school adventures with friends, and making long lasting friendships in college was more than I could have ever dreamed of. Then I came across the opportunity of a lifetime. I was, in September, about to set sail on board Uliad with my family away from home. Although curiosity and excitement filled me, I could still not believe that sailing around on the open sea would become my next venture.

It is not easy living on a boat. Tom and Monique work very hard to keep Uliad safe and running. It amazes me each day how much care they put into her, but then again it is their home. Even though there may be many things to be done, the countless opportunities to explore and see new things have made it all worthwhile. Over the past five months we have visited and explored many different islands around the Caribbean. Each island, although surrounded by beautiful beaches and clear blue waters, is unique in its own way and has kept a long lasting impression with us. Some of the many memories include, watching dolphins swim with Uliad while on our way to Bequia, admiring the magical sunsets of the sun meeting the ocean waters in Nevis and other islands, and getting lost in the unbelievable "blanket" of stars under a moon light night. Also while being apart of the cruising world the islands have become more than just a "vacation paradise" to us. We have become completely immersed in each islands native culture and have enjoyed every minute of it.

So to my dear friend Amy, yes, I too have been doing some self- exploration after college. I actually have had no choice and could not be happier. Just the other day Tom and Monique asked me to sail Uliad for a little while. Standing at the helm was such an unbelievable experience. I had no idea how much I had learned until then. Watching depths, courses, and winds was so exciting. I could not believe that I was sailing Uliad. It was the neatest thing!

I feel very fortunate to be experiencing this life learning adventure. I will never forget it or the wonderful family that I am sharing it with.