Caribbean Compass review

The second edition of Spanish for Cruisers began shipping in November of 2008 after years of work – how can a second edition take that much longer to write than a first edition?

2009_03 Compass-small

Nevertheless, I am finally at the fun stage – when I start stumbling upon reviews of the new edition in cruising magazines. Fortunately I don’t have to buy every single yachting magazine each month scanning them for a photo of Spanish for Cruisers – instead, friends see them and forward them on to me.

That’s how I found two reviews of Spanish for Cruisers in the March issues of Caribbean Compass and Yachting World.

If you’ve cruised the Caribbean, you certainly know about the Caribbean Compass. It’s a free waterfront news magazine,  started by former cruiser Sally Erdle. Sally and her husband Tom circumnavigated from  1989-1994 aboard their Rhodes 41 sloop So Long. In 1995 they settled in Bequia and started the Caribbean Compass.

Throughout the Caribbean, cruisers eagerly await the latest issue. There’s usually something worth clipping for reference:

  • Caribbean Calendar of Events (holidays, regattas, festivals)
  • Shortwave Weather Schedule (which lists the times and frequencies of all the weather nets and broadcasts in the Caribbean)
  • Trip reports written by cruisers that are almost mini cruising guides
  • Reports of inland travel in the Caribbean, Central and South America
  • Surveys of prices in different harbors
  • Plus of course, news from each of the Caribbean countries

Bequia Almost everyone in the Caribbean who writes writes for the Compass. Chris Doyle, author of the series of cruising guides that we all use down-island, writes regularly for the Compass. Fatty Goodlander, who has a monthly column in Cruising World, and several books to his credit, got his start with the Caribbean Compass. I occasionally write for the Compass as well, just to earn an invitation to the Compass’ annual Writer’s Brunch. Each year Sally invites all the Compass contributors to a brunch in Bequia during the annual Easter Regatta. It’s a great time to be in Bequia – and an honor to attend the brunch.

If you’d like to read the Caribbean Compass, I suggest that you sail down to the Caribbean. In the meantime, if you’d like to check out the Compass, Sally does offer online subscriptions. And, some of the items I mentioned earlier, like the Calendar of Events and the Shortwave Weather Schedule are available for download on the Caribbean Compass website.

So, what did the Compass review say about Spanish for Cruisers – second edition?

from the March 2009 issue of Caribbean Compass:

Are you headed by boat to Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, the Rio Dulce, Isla Mujeres, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or Miami? Unless Spanish is your native language, don’t set sail without this book. It delivers exactly what it promises: Spanish for cruisers. It will make you smarter and happier. (How often do you get that for 32 bucks?)

Kathy Parsons’ first edition of Spanish for Cruisers immediately became as indispensable as charts, as word went around the Caribbean cruising community: “You’ve got to have this book (and its sister publication French for Cruisers)!” Cruisers using the first edition then suggested ten useful new topics (such as provisioning, internet use and banking) to Kathy, which she has included in this expanded edition…

For more information on Spanish for Cruisers and useful cheat sheets and downloads, visit the Spanish for Cruisers website.

El Zarpe

Zarpe is an extremely common Spanish word that you will encounter out cruising, but oddly enough, you won’t find the word zarpe in any standard Spanish dictionary, not even that of the Real Academia Española.

2007- 406
el zarpe
(the exit clearance)

A zarpe is an exit clearance, the document that clears your boat out of port.

The boat above has just arrived at the dock in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The officials standing on the dock are just about to ask for los papeles del barco (the ship’s papers), and el zarpe de su último puerto (the exit clearance from your last port).

el zarpe de su último puerto
ehl sahr-peh deh soo ool-tee-moh pwehr-toh
(the exit clearance from your last port)

The boat’s outbound clearance form can also be called el despacho (the clearance) or el permiso de salida (the exit permit), but el zarpe is the most common term.

In some Spanish-speaking countries you have to clear in and out of each port within the country. In this instance you will be issued a national zarpe each time you plan to sail on to the next port in-country, and an international zarpe when you eventually clear out of the country for your next foreign port.

The word departure on clearance forms is usually translated as salida, however some forms use zarpe. Clearance forms often ask for:
la hora de zarpe or salida (the time of departure) and
la fecha de zarpe or salida (the date of departure).

Zarpe comes from the verb zarpar (to set sail, leave port) and you will find zarpar in the dictionary. Zarpar is rather formal sounding, you will more commonly use the verb salir (to leave) in conversation:

Vamos a salir mañana.
Vah-mohss ah sah-leer mah-n’yah-nah.
(We are going to leave tomorrow.)
090317_4562 In Costa Rica, zarpe is slang for the last drink of the evening, sort of “one for the road”…

So a zarpe could actually also be a cold cerveza (beer) or a trago (mixed drink). 

For an easy-to-use phrase book with all the Spanish words you need to discuss clearing in and out of port while cruising in Spain, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, get  Spanish for Cruisers: The Boater’s Complete Language Guide

The translations in this post follow this format:
spanish word
Spanish pronunciation
(English translation)
Stress the syllables shown in bold print.