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Old 13-08-2012, 05:03   #1
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Decision Time - Where do I Head from the Caribbean ?

Hi. Im heading over to the Caribbean Jan 2013.

I have done quite a bit of research and I now have a lot of info and a fairly good understanding of my constraints. Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes etc etc.

My plan A is to head through the Panama in March / April and crack on with the planned trip.

However my departure from the canaries was delayed and I will not have as long in the Caribbean as I hoped. (Was planning to arrive in November, Not February)

I would like to formulate a plan B in which I could spend winter 2014 in the caribbean also. This would involve hiding out of the hurricane belt for the summer of 2013. What are the options for this ?

From my reaearch, it appears that South to Rio etc would be pretty heavy going battling the prevailing conditions. Anyone have experience of this ?

Does Venezuela, Columbia, San Blas etc present enough exploring possibilities to cover May to December 2013. Or would it be a better possibility to go up to North America ??

Any advice / experience greatfully appreciated.
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Old 13-08-2012, 05:44   #2
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Re: Decision time. Where do I head from the Caribbean ?

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From my reaearch, it appears that South to Rio etc would be pretty heavy going battling the prevailing conditions.
Absolutely correct. You would be going against strong winds and currents for much of that trip. Not impossible but most likely rough and very uncomfortable.



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Does Venezuela, Columbia, San Blas etc present enough exploring possibilities to cover May to December 2013. Or would it be a better possibility to go up to North America ??
Both options would work. Lots of boats head to the NE USA for the summer hurricane season. Lots to see and do and you are north of most but not all hurricanes.. South American coast also works, putting you south of the hurricane zone but some areas would require careful attention to security. Recent years Venezuela especially has had a lot of crime and I would not explore isolated areas anywhere along that coast. San Blas islands seem to be a bit safer.
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Old 13-08-2012, 05:48   #3
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Re: Decision time. Where do I head from the Caribbean ?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, oos_ya_daddy.
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Old 13-08-2012, 05:52   #4
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Re: Decision time. Where do I head from the Caribbean ?

Thanks guys. Very useful forum. I have already found out a lot by searching around. Im sure I will have many more questions to come !
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Old 13-08-2012, 06:20   #5
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Re: Decision time. Where do I head from the Caribbean ?

We've spent hurricane season both in the NE U.S. and the Caribbean. In the U.S., we were laid up for three weeks in Hamburg Cove on the Connecticut River after Irene, when the river was too swollen and full of debris to sail. We're currently in Curacao, which is below 12 N and outside of the hurricane belt, though it does get some tropical storms.

You're probably aware that most hurricanes don't go below 12 degrees N, so an option for you would be to do the lower windwards/Grenadines in May (you can make a quick trip south if anything happens to form that early, which is unlikely), then head further south to Grenada & Trinidad then West along the Venezuelan island chain to the ABCs. I've heard from others that just visited the Venezuelan islands that while security isn't as bad out on on the islands as on the mainland (the consensus among cruisers is STAY AWAY from mainland Venezuela), formalities are a pain (we were told of 4 days to check in, two to check out...). The ABCs are lovely - and Curacao is a great place to do work that requires generally dry weather and flat calm water, as the anchorage is fully protected. Friends of ours just went West from here to Cartegena in basically day sails, and then you can go up the Central American Coast. Some people then spend the next hurricane season in the Rio Dulce in Guatemala, too far inland to be badly affected by hurricanes.

We're spending the season in Curacao then heading north again to do the Northern Caribbean, which we skipped by going directly from VA to the Virgins in November.
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Old 13-08-2012, 06:49   #6
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Re: Decision time. Where do I head from the Caribbean ?

We spent a number of years doing the winter in the Caribbean and the summer in New England. Its great cruising in Maine, and there is a lot to see and do on the way up and back. If I still had the sailboat, I would also plan to go up the St Lawrence river into the Great Lakes.
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Old 13-08-2012, 08:08   #7
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Re: Decision time. Where do I head from the Caribbean ?

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.....
...San Blas etc present enough exploring possibilities to cover May to December 2013. Or would it be a better possibility to go up to North America ??...
Panama is an amazing cruising ground. Moved my boat there last season and plan to leave it for at least a few seasons and cruise Panama part-time. Very little wind (at least around Bocas), but lots of cruising and exploring options.

If you get as far as the NW Carib then Rio Dulce, Guatemala is the ultimate hurricane hole here.
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Old 13-08-2012, 09:51   #8
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Re: Decision time. Where do I head from the Caribbean ?

Brilliant. Thanks very much guys.

Invaluable to know this kind of info.
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Old 13-08-2012, 10:04   #9
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Re: Decision time. Where do I head from the Caribbean ?

Trinidad and Cartegena are great for Hurricane season... dont make plans too far out... just enjoy!
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Old 16-08-2012, 06:50   #10
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Re: Decision Time - Where do I Head from the Caribbean ?

Your delayed departure from November untill February might just be a blessing in disguise. In February the weather begins to improve to the South and by March you should begin to get some nice cruising in the Windwards and Leewards. From April to the end of June is a good break between the winter winds and the start of the summer storms and it might be an opportunity to enjoy the best of the area. It all depends on your schedule, but we have been cruising the area since 2008 and haven't run out of things to do or places to go.
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