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Old 03-11-2011, 14:03   #1
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Need Routing Advice !

Our family including 4 children are setting sail this January to cruise north from Grenada to BVI Puerto Rico across to Mexico and South to Panama over the course of a year. Anyone else done this journey with advice? Currents, weather, must sees, dangers, provisioning tips or anything else? Thanks!
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Old 03-11-2011, 16:09   #2
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Re: Need routing advice!

Ask folks along the way about crime in the areas you're planning to visit in the next couple of days. There have been some incidents in many of those areas over the years. I found, some years ago, that if I just kept my ears open and bypassed those areas with recent incidents, we stayed away from trouble. At least in the Eastern Caribbean, the crime is usually limited to one or a few local bad guys, and they're either active or in jail at the moment.

That sounds like a great trip. The part of the route I'm familiar with, Grenada to the USVI, is pretty straightforward. My favorite spot on that route, for what it's worth, is St. John in the USVI.

Provisioning and laundry, to me, are the inevitable pains in the neck in such a trip. Over the years I've gotten to where I try to stockpile a few extra days of non-perishable meals and drinks so I can put off that dreaded trek to the supermarket if I don't feel like doing it. My wife and I keep meaning to buy one of those little foldable carts for wheeling groceries back to the dinghy.

As for putting off the laundry... well, if you've got women on board... When I was a teenager, my brother and I took a three months' cruise to the Bahamas. I don't think we ever visited a laundromat. The smell must have been atrocious.

Oh, and did I mention-- if women are on board, do what THEY say.
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Old 03-11-2011, 17:26   #3
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Re: Need routing advice!

Obviously, your biggest issue will be to get back south of 10 degrees before the hurricane season, which means by early June at the latest. From Mexico back on down to Belize and Guatemala will be pretty much coastal hopping and off the wind enough to have decent sailing. From the Rio Dulce to the islands of Honduras and around the corner to Providencia Island and on down to Panama will be a lot of windward work, but again if you have enough time you can wait for the wind to drop and then motorsail like crazy to the next port. Rounding the cape between Honduras and Nicaragua can sometimes be tough, and there are lots of shoal areas to avoid, but not difficult as long as you don't trust the charts too much. Most of the offshore charts and reefs are inaccurately plotted so stay well off of them, especially at night. Don't miss Providencia Island, part of Colombia. From there you can go to Bocas del Toro if you want to coastal hop Panama, though I didn't really find much to enjoy along Panama. I think I would head directly from Providencia to the San Blas Islands, where you can spend a hot, sticky, and lightning-filled summer--though not to be missed because of the Kuna Indians and beautiful coral waters.
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