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Old 01-08-2011, 08:58   #16
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Re: Twelve Month Caribbean Route Advice

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Originally Posted by savuti View Post
[1] What are Leeward Antilles and Windward islands like for cruising?
[2] Am I correct to assume that anything north of Grenada is a no-go during hurricane season)?
Well, you asked: here's my two cents' worth:

(1) The Leeward and Windward Islands are beautiful. They have more topography and lush vegetation, and larger populations, than the Bahamas. I would say the Bahamas are, in general, prettier underwater than those islands. The Leeward and Windward islands seem to have more boat traffic and more crowded anchorages than the Bahamas, and those anchorages are often rolly. I've cruised extensively in both sets of islands, as well as the Virgin Islands. Honestly, I think the Bahamas are more interesting and easier to get to from the U.S. (And for what it's worth, I think St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the best cruising destination in the Eastern Caribbean.) The Leewards and Windwards are easy to cruise by charter boat. Also, it appears to be reasonably easy to buy a boat there and sail it back to the U.S. (at least compared to sailing out there from the U.S.)

(2) June and July are nice times to cruise the Eastern Caribbean, I think. The anchorages aren't as crowded and the weather is nice. You have to keep a close watch on the weather, but this area is not usually affected by tropical systems in those months. In August, the weather is often still o.k., at least compared to most of the U.S. East Coast at that time of year. But you get a lot of European vacationers on the water. When we lived in St. John, our friends usually did their chartering in the BVI's in early September. The rates were cheap and the weather was still reasonable, unless there was a tropical system, of course. By October and early November, the weather is muggy and rainy in the Eastern Caribbean, and many businesses are closed.

But do understand that you must watch the weather forecast daily (at the very least) throughout hurricane season in the Eastern Caribbean, and you must be prepared to put your boat in a hurricane hole and GET OFF OF IT within a day or two's notice. Your lives could very well depend on it.

IMHO. There are plenty of others out there with more experience on the subject, I'm sure.
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:17   #17
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Re: Twelve Month Caribbean Route Advice

Another point in favor of spending some time in the Bahamas- you are more likely to run into kid boats there than anywhere else. This si the sole reason we will be spending a good chunk of time there, because we have children on board who want to play with other kids.
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Old 25-09-2011, 08:49   #18
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I would recommend you read "a thinking man's guide to voyages south; the many facets of Caribbean cruising". You can download it free at www:freecruisinguide.com or purchase the Kindle edition at Amazon.com
Regards
Frank Virgintino,author
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Old 25-09-2011, 17:06   #19
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Re: Twelve Month Caribbean Route Advice

Scroll down on this webpage and you can see that although the Caribbean gets far more Hurricanes than the Pacific the west coast of Mexico is not immune.

Weather in Panama|Living in Panama| Panama Weather

Get to Mexico before June and head to La Paz or further north in the Mar de Cortez. Then, come November, down to Panama and through the Canal and beat into the trades to the Windwards......not good route planing. Listen to the others and buy in Florida or the Caribbean.
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