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Old 10-02-2011, 07:11   #1
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Charlesston, SC to Belize ( Central America )

We are considering a jump over to the Yucatan peninsula and the region between Cancun and the Rio Dulce. While we understand the best time of year to make the trip is between March and June, I was wondering if anyone had made the trip at other times of the year and if so, what route you took and the conditions you encountered.
We are currently lying Charleston SC and will be on the eastern coast of FL in early March.

Cheers, Bill
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:34   #2
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There really isn't an alternative route to crossing over from Key West or the Dry Tortugas to the Cuban coast and then making a shot across the Yucatan Channel near the western tip of Cuba. You will have to cross the Caribbean current to get to Cuba and then the Yucatan current will be right on your beam getting across to Isla Mujeres. We did this in May, but continued on down towards Panama instead of crossing over to Yucatan. It's a tough slog at any time of the year because you're fighting a strong current much of the way. Prevailing wind is southeast, but the waters can be very rough in a norther against the stream. More northers, obviously, the earlier you go. By May and into June not so many, but you have to begin to worry about tropical waves then. You definitely want to be in the Rio Dulce or south of 10 degrees down in Panama by hurricane season. Very hot and sticky in either place during hurricane season.
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:37   #3
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Oops, the title was merely a 'typo' ... Charleston is a great city and definitely has 'more' to offer...

Typing with fat fingers.... Bill
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:46   #4
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Bill,
Do you have a sailing blog that will document your voyage? I'm interested in making this same passage at some point in the future. I'm sure others here would also be interested in following it if you do indeed have one.
Chip @ the Maritme Center
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:46   #5
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Thanks Kettlewell!

Yes, I understand the crossing can be nasty in a northern blow!
Can I ask how you returned to the US? and what time of year?

One other option we had considered was to jump down from the Tampa/St Pete area as we may be up there in the spring. It's about 450nm and the loop current is not as nasty.

Thanks again, Bill
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:53   #6
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Bill: When we returned from Panama we went up to Honduras, the Rio Dulce, and then Mexico and across from Isla Mujeres, the natural jumping off spot. We followed the loop current as much as possible, and at times we were getting a 3-knot boost in the right direction, so you can imagine what it is like if you get the current wrong on the way down! We arrived back in the U.S. via the Dry Tortugas and Key West, where you can clear in through Customs. Keep in mind that Mexico is quite, or at least was quite, finicky about paperwork, and you should check up on the latest rigamarole to get in and out of the country. In short, it involved clearing in or out over on the mainland, in Cancun, and a big new customs station. Unfortunately, when we were there you had to pay your bills downtown in a specific bank, which required a taxi ride, and you had to also check in and out with the port captain on Isla Mujeres. I can't remember the exact sequence, but we screwed up somehow and we had the absurd situation that wouldn't let us leave the country because we hadn't checked in properly, even though we had done so at an official office, etc. The regulations always seem to be in flux--check it out with folks who are down there.
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:53   #7
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Hello Chip!

I think we are sitting just outside your door..
Here is our blog: Water Tracks

Hope to see you out there!

Cheers, Bill
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:59   #8
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Thanks again Kettlewell.
Great advice; We'll be sure to check it out before hand!

Cheers, Bill
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:59   #9
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One other thought. Due to the problems Mexico is having with Cubans floating over on rafts and in small boats, and drug smuggling operations, the waters around the Yucatan are heavily patrolled by the Mexican Navy. Don't be surprised to be visited by the Navy, possibly in a large offshore cutter like we were. We were boarded and inspected while offshore, but it was all done professionally and with no major problems other than dealing with the rough seas. Have your paperwork and ducks all in a row and you will be good to go.
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Old 10-02-2011, 14:51   #10
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Thanks Kettlewell!
Yes, it is always a good idea to have all the paperwork in order (even here in the states) as you never know when you will be boarded. A small detail, that if overlooked, can cause big problems.

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