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Old 27-01-2014, 15:40   #61
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

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Why Montego Bay? I would do Port Antonio unless you have an overriding reason not to.
You must have heard me typing that too
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Old 27-01-2014, 16:20   #62
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

Sorry I was trying to be subtle. Santiago de Cuba.

We were aiming for Montego Bay because we do not have good information about Jamaica. We originally planned on skipping it but figure we might have time to burn so it is back on the list. I will take a look at Port Antonio.

Frank Virgintino talks up Ile a Veche on the south coast of Haiti. We talked about it as a stop. Anyone been there recently?

Any thoughts/comments on aiming to haulout in Cartegena?

Thanks for your help so far.

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Old 27-01-2014, 16:57   #63
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

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Sorry I was trying to be subtle. Santiago de Cuba.

We were aiming for Montego Bay because we do not have good information about Jamaica. We originally planned on skipping it but figure we might have time to burn so it is back on the list. I will take a look at Port Antonio.

Frank Virgintino talks up Ile a Veche on the south coast of Haiti. We talked about it as a stop. Anyone been there recently?

Any thoughts/comments on aiming to haulout in Cartegena?

Thanks for your help so far.

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Go to Port Antonio. Don't go anywhere else in Jamaica (imo).

Ile a Veche.. yes, others go there. I skipped it but would consider it when you meet boats that just came from there and say it's okay. When you meet no such boats, I would skip it.
But I did not hear of incidents like I heard happened in Montego Bay, so no obvious red flags for Ile a Veche. But it is not on your way. You could sweep by Navassa Island to have a peek though… I am intrigued by that place but have never been there. Not allowed to come in and not even possible I think.

I would skip Santiago de Cuba because it is not on your route. Easting is your treasure, don't give it up easily. I wouldn't give up more than needed for Port Antonio.

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Old 27-01-2014, 17:10   #64
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

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I would skip Santiago de Cuba because it is not on your route. Easting is your treasure, don't give it up easily. I wouldn't give up more than needed for Port Antonio.
Wifey wants to visit Cuba and I want to keep Wifey on the boat even if it means burning diesel to get east again.


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Old 14-02-2014, 06:46   #65
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

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Go to Port Antonio. Don't go anywhere else in Jamaica (imo).

Ile a Veche.. yes, others go there. I skipped it but would consider it when you meet boats that just came from there and say it's okay. When you meet no such boats, I would skip it.
...
I would skip Santiago de Cuba because it is not on your route. Easting is your treasure, don't give it up easily. I wouldn't give up more than needed for Port Antonio.

In Georgetown, Exumas, drinking coffee and looking at charts and talking to Wifey.

Jedi, we are going to take your advice and skip Isle de Veche. It looks too much of a eastward slog from Port Antonio and like you say, no one we meet is talking about it it yet. I have been watching the weather around Santiago de Cuba and studying Cornell's. The leg from Santiago de Cuba to Port Antonio looks good.

I also talked to S/V Faith and read his sailfar.net account of his trip to Columbia on a small boat via the Windward Passage. Sounds like he had difficult time maintaining enough speed to beat the current and wind to Cartegena. My wife had a beer with him and said he said it was a tough slog. This is the second account I've heard from another small boat about a tough trip to Cartegena so I am becoming a lukewarm to the idea.

So Jamaica-Isle de Providenciales-Panama is looking good again. Why beat ourselves up when we can take it relatively easy? According to Cornell the wind and currents look favorable. Jedi (or anyone else) can you recommend any online or in print cruising guide for Isle de Providenciales? Any comments?
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Old 14-02-2014, 10:41   #66
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

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So Jamaica-Isle de Providenciales-Panama is looking good again. Why beat ourselves up when we can take it relatively easy? According to Cornell the wind and currents look favorable. Jedi (or anyone else) can you recommend any online or in print cruising guide for Isle de Providenciales? Any comments?
You're looking at French charts or are also considering the Turks & Caicos… the names are repeated in slightly different spelling It's called "Isla de Providencia", it belongs to Colombia, lays off the coast of Nicaragua and is an overnighter from Panama.

You'll like it. Don't skip San Andrés which is the main island of that archipelago. They are very different but most like both.

I can't recommend a cruising guide as what I have is too old.

Don't forget that it is very nice to work your way along the Panama coastline into Colombia and go to Cartagena that way. On the way back you'll know exactly which places to re-visit as some are irresistible. Places like "Snug Harbor" and "Sapzurro" are firmly in our list of stops.
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Old 14-02-2014, 11:29   #67
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

There is no need for a guide to Providencia - there is only one harbor and the whole island is small enough to completely explore in an afternoon on a rental golf cart and a couple of short hikes.

Foregoing Cartagena is a mistake IMO. It has been one of our favorite places in the entire Caribe. You can always get to it from Panama, but that will be straight into the wind and waves - or waiting for a calm in summer to motor through thunderstorms all night. But it is only an overnight trip, so most anything is tolerable for just 12-14hrs. But the only sane way to see Santa Marta is to approach it from the North or East, if you are interested in that.

The web is full of blogs of people who got beat up going to Colombia. Most of them were on schedules. There are ample weather windows that won't beat you up, but you need to wait for them. The route from the North is always windy/wavy off the point approaching Colombia compared to the more coastal route from the ABC's. Near the coast, the winds are shadowed by the mountains and are usually 10kts less than 50miles out.

I didn't understand the comment about beating into the wind to Cartagena. That should be downhill always, unless you are coming from the West. If you find yourself beating from the North or East, then you really got unlucky with the odds.

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Old 14-02-2014, 11:46   #68
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
You're looking at French charts or are also considering the Turks & Caicos… the names are repeated in slightly different spelling It's called "Isla de Providencia", it belongs to Colombia, lays off the coast of Nicaragua and is an overnighter from Panama.
Oops. I Googled the spelling and came up with the wrong island group!

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Don't forget that it is very nice to work your way along the Panama coastline into Colombia and go to Cartagena that way. On the way back you'll know exactly which places to re-visit as some are irresistible. Places like "Snug Harbor" and "Sapzurro" are firmly in our list of stops.
Thanks for the suggestion. I would have guessed the prevailing conditions were against that option. Hard to find people to talk to who have spent time down there.
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Old 14-02-2014, 12:09   #69
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

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There is no need for a guide to Providencia - there is only one harbor and the whole island is small enough to completely explore in an afternoon on a rental golf cart and a couple of short hikes.

Foregoing Cartagena is a mistake IMO. It has been one of our favorite places in the entire Caribe. You can always get to it from Panama, but that will be straight into the wind and waves - or waiting for a calm in summer to motor through thunderstorms all night. But it is only an overnight trip, so most anything is tolerable for just 12-14hrs. But the only sane way to see Santa Marta is to approach it from the North or East, if you are interested in that.

The web is full of blogs of people who got beat up going to Colombia. Most of them were on schedules. There are ample weather windows that won't beat you up, but you need to wait for them. The route from the North is always windy/wavy off the point approaching Colombia compared to the more coastal route from the ABC's. Near the coast, the winds are shadowed by the mountains and are usually 10kts less than 50miles out.

I didn't understand the comment about beating into the wind to Cartagena. That should be downhill always, unless you are coming from the West. If you find yourself beating from the North or East, then you really got unlucky with the odds.

Mark
Thanks for your thoughts, Mark. And thanks for all the great information you have posted to this thread. We can delay the decision until we reach Port Antonio. Maybe we will meet some people between here and there to talk to about it in person.

Good to know there is no need for a guide to Providencia. We do have Garmin charts and the charts in OpenCPN that can be printed. I have also have the NGA sailing instructions - they should at least get into the right harbor.
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Old 15-02-2014, 22:39   #70
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

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I didn't understand the comment about beating into the wind to Cartagena. That should be downhill always, unless you are coming from the West. If you find yourself beating from the North or East, then you really got unlucky with the odds,
I was looking at the Caribbean chart tonight with another guy who loves Cartegena. Cartegena is east of Jamaica, and considering the west setting equatorial current of about 3/4 knot it does look Cartegena could be a beat from Jamaica in a slower boat. From the south coast of the DR it looks more doable.



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Old 16-02-2014, 09:01   #71
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

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I was looking at the Caribbean chart tonight with another guy who loves Cartegena. Cartegena is east of Jamaica, and considering the west setting equatorial current of about 3/4 knot it does look Cartegena could be a beat from Jamaica in a slower boat. From the south coast of the DR it looks more doable.
I think you should just go for it; it's easy enough to change course further off the wind. Try to make Santa Martha by keeping even more easting than required initially.
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Old 16-02-2014, 09:51   #72
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I think you should just go for it; it's easy enough to change course further off the wind. Try to make Santa Martha by keeping even more easting than required initially.
In a big, fast boat like yours Jedi, no worries, but in our slow little boat I think we would need to make more easting along the south coast of Hispaniola from Cuba to make it tenable. The stop in Santiago de Cuba makes Cartegena much harder as you pointed out earlier. Maybe in the end we are making a choice between Santiago de Cuba and Cartegena.

Here are my thoughts/concern. We make about 5kts with good conditions. With a 3/4 kt current in the same direction as the prevailing winds that changes our angle to the wind by almost 20%. The course is already about 70 degrees off the prevailing winds so I am guesstimating that would put us close hauled at about 50 degrees in an average force 6 as we get closer to Columbia. I think that's what S/V Faith was up against. It just doesn't sound fun.

The guy I was with last night is an architect from Miami who had visited by Cartegena by land. He said Cartegena was so perfect he wished he could stay there and catalog it. He is on the way there via the eastern Caribbean. Another great review of the city makes the passage tempting... but I am bit of a coward... so we will probably take the easy way even if it means missing out.

Thanks for all the great thoughts so far. Hope to bump into you one day.
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Old 17-02-2014, 10:27   #73
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

Hope you guys don't mind me using this thread to hash out our plan for moving through thw Caribbean. Hopefully it is educational to others.

Wifey and I talked about this again today. The pressure on now because once we turn South through the Windward passage the options are limited. This is partly because we have a slower, small boat than most.

We talked about the Cuba/Columbia trade off. Cuba is a bit of a risk and pain already, add to that missing out on Columbia and we conclude visiting Cuba is not worth it. We are hearing too many good things about the DR and Columbia.

New plan: stick to the Thorny Path along the north coast of Hispaniola and sail to Columbia from the south east coast of the DR after we have made more easting. This will make the sail to Columbia viable.

Mark and Jedi, I think you will approve this plan.
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Old 17-02-2014, 11:25   #74
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

Who are you, and what have you done with shanedennis?

We really want to visit Cuba someday, but couldn't imagine missing Colombia. Cuba is easy to get to from many directions, so it is easy to go their anytime. Colombia is really only easy to get to from the East.

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Old 17-02-2014, 12:49   #75
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Re: Best Plan for moving through the Caribbean to Panama?

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Who are you, and what have you done with shanedennis?

We really want to visit Cuba someday, but couldn't imagine missing Colombia. Cuba is easy to get to from many directions, so it is easy to go their anytime. Colombia is really only easy to get to from the East.

Mark
After hashing out the possibilities, we agree. It is all good. With so many great options it was silly to get hung up in visiting Cuba. Both you and Jedi gently probed until we came around.


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