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Old 25-03-2016, 17:38   #1
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Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

We are trying to gauge the risk of being caught out in a tropical storm or hurricane while sailing from Cuba or Jamaica to Guatemala (4 days in the open sea) in mid to late June possibly early July - during the hurricane season.

We're trying to get a feeling if this enterprise would be OK or just totally insane?!

We will have WX forecasts and we're comfortable sailing in heavy weather but being caught up in a tropical storm or Hurricane would be altogether another kettle of fish, I guess..

Yes! - apparently our Insurance WILL cover us with only a small bump up on the excess.

What is the general wisdom on this?
How much warning might we get that something was headed our way?

Thanks for any advice or input!
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Old 25-03-2016, 19:34   #2
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

Its difficult to tell before the first hurricane season prediction comes on in the first week of April.

Some are suggesting it will be La Nina this year which can be a very bad year in the Caribbean. But they are still looking at some other indicators before they call it.

My thoughts would be a definite NO.

My rule is never to sail in the wrong season.

You should make your move by early June.


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Old 25-03-2016, 19:58   #3
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

I believe forecasts in early hurricane season are good enough to predict chance of tropical storm for next 4 days. Also, it is said that Havana Yacht Club is okay to be when hurricanes hit so you have hideouts at both ends.
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Old 25-03-2016, 20:27   #4
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

Very unusual if you can't get at least four days warning of a tropical storm. I would be more concerned about whether or not I wanted to spend hurricane season in Guatemala.
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Old 25-03-2016, 20:36   #5
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

Gautamala is a good spot for hurricane season, we will be their ourselves. Rio Deluce is a river leading to a lake well inland where there are several marinas. It is a popular spot for hurricane season in this neck of the woods.
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Old 25-03-2016, 21:16   #6
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

Early hurricane season in the NW Carib typically has lots of warning time because early season storms usually originate in the Atlantic so you can track their development for a long time. Later in hurricane season in the NW Carib storms can brew up just N of Honduras so you have very little lead time. The classic pattern that generates these late season storms is a tropical wave intersecting a low...bam, instant hurricane.

No hurricane has made it into the Rio Dulce since such data was collected, nor in the memory of anyone I know here (many life long residents).

Evening weather starts getting more squally in June-July.

Assuming next season follows historic patterns then a June run should be fine, but I would go as early as possible. Of course, hurricane season seems to be getting less predictable.
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Old 25-03-2016, 21:52   #7
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

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Early hurricane season in the NW Carib typically has lots of warning time because early season storms usually originate in the Atlantic so you can track their development for a long time. Later in hurricane season in the NW Carib storms can brew up just N of Honduras so you have very little lead time. The classic pattern that generates these late season storms is a tropical wave intersecting a low...bam, instant hurricane.

No hurricane has made it into the Rio Dulce since such data was collected, nor in the memory of anyone I know here (many life long residents).

Evening weather starts getting more squally in June-July.

Assuming next season follows historic patterns then a June run should be fine, but I would go as early as possible. Of course, hurricane season seems to be getting less predictable.
Anything to some rumors that Nanajuana was closed?? We are in Roatan right now, breezy place in the evenings by the way, heading to Belize before we backtrack to Rio Duluce. Started hearing rumors when we were in Panama.
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Old 26-03-2016, 07:44   #8
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

Thanks all for your input!

Robert Sailor: "Anything to some rumors that Nanajuana was closed??"

There's a bit more information, but mostly just speculation mostly on the Facebook Rio Duluce groupe...have you seen that?

-Wondered about just cruising in the hurricane season around Trinidad..Hmm
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Old 26-03-2016, 08:24   #9
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Early hurricane season in the NW Carib typically has lots of warning time because early season storms usually originate in the Atlantic so you can track their development for a long time. Later in hurricane season in the NW Carib storms can brew up just N of Honduras so you have very little lead time. The classic pattern that generates these late season storms is a tropical wave intersecting a low...bam, instant hurricane.
That is what I thought, too, but looking at historical hurricane origins and tracks by month ( Tropical Cyclone Climatology ) shows that the pattern of origination in the eastern Atlantic doesn't become well established until August. Granted, the number of storms in June and July is small compared to August and September.

If it were me, I would choose my departure from western Cuba to limit my weather exposure at sea to 2.5 days, would try to go as early as possible, would keep an eye on the weather for weeks before departure, would delay if there was any doubt, and would develop back-up plans in the event of heavy weather. Still, the probability of a tropical storm or hurricane anywhere in the Atlantic for the whole month of June is one storm every two years. Your risk of a tropical storm or hurricane anywhere in the Atlantic during 3 days at sea is about 1 in 20. That a hurricane will affect the waters you are in is somewhat smaller probability. By following the forecasts, you can reduce that risk further.
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Old 26-03-2016, 09:04   #10
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

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Thanks all for your input!

Robert Sailor: "Anything to some rumors that Nanajuana was closed??"

There's a bit more information, but mostly just speculation mostly on the Facebook Rio Duluce groupe...have you seen that?

-Wondered about just cruising in the hurricane season around Trinidad..Hmm
Don't do facebook but thanks. Probably everything is OK. Not knocking Trinidad or any of the eastern islands but we have been more than impressed with the western Caribbean.
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Old 26-03-2016, 09:40   #11
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

Another question for those of you in the know..is it better to fly out of Gautamala City or San Pedro Honduras when flying back to Canada? Looks like we can get a better deal out of Honduras and the bus ride is shorter from Rio Duluce. .is there anything we may have overlooked? Do the buses go to both airports??
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Old 26-03-2016, 10:11   #12
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Very unusual if you can't get at least four days warning of a tropical storm. I would be more concerned about whether or not I wanted to spend hurricane season in Guatemala.
I think skipmac understates the case. The odds of less than 4 days warning of a major tropical storm are slim to none. Others have commented Rio Dulce is a good place to be in a hurricane so I think you should have no worries. 4 days does sound a little long, what SOG are you assuming? If you got a weather warning how much time would motoring save?
It should be a nice sail. Hope you enjoy it.
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Old 26-03-2016, 12:03   #13
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Another question for those of you in the know..is it better to fly out of Gautamala City or San Pedro Honduras when flying back to Canada? Looks like we can get a better deal out of Honduras and the bus ride is shorter from Rio Duluce. .is there anything we may have overlooked? Do the buses go to both airports??
If you fly into San Pedro Sula you need to be aware that the Honduras/Guatemala border is only open during daylight hours so this may mean overnighting in San Pedro Sula.

Also Honduras seems to be more strict/have a different view on the C4 issue so you may get some grief if you have been in the C4 countries for 90 days on your return trip

If you have not already, check out the forums on www.riodulcechime.com for more information on buses, shuttles, taxi's etc
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Old 26-03-2016, 12:09   #14
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

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Originally Posted by Triumphant View Post
If you fly into San Pedro Sula you need to be aware that the Honduras/Guatemala border is only open during daylight hours so this may mean overnighting in San Pedro Sula.

Also Honduras seems to be more strict/have a different view on the C4 issue so you may get some grief if you have been in the C4 countries for 90 days on your return trip

If you have not already, check out the forums on www.riodulcechime.com for more information on buses, shuttles, taxi's etc
Thanks for that
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Old 26-03-2016, 15:07   #15
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Re: Cuba -> Guatemala during Hurricane season? Risky?

4 day notice in June? I would worry more about crossing the street on 5th Ave. NYC. than finding yourself in a storm with a 4 day trip at the very beginning of hurricane season.... you would have to be extremely unlucky...so much so that I would want you to warn everyone where you are going beforehand...lol
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