Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 15-02-2017, 08:42   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 11
2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

My wife and I are contemplating a 2 year voyage in 18 months from now from Miami through the Caribbean and back again. We have read extensively about budgets, etc. we plan to be in a 40-50 ft Cat as it feels like it will be more livable. We have downloaded several cruising guides to get a feel for the islands, but just seeing if there is any last minute advice or tips we should review about anything to just make certain that we have not missed anything.

Thanks all!
__________________

mpomerance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-02-2017, 08:55   #2
Registered User
 
travellerw's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Grenada
Boat: Fortuna Island Spirit 40
Posts: 2,293
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

18 months.. Not sure thats last minute!

Advice #1... Bring coffee.. Its stupid expensive down here..
Advice #2... Don't underestimate the Thorny Path. You will almost burn a whole season getting through it.

Have fun.. Hope to see you out here!
__________________

travellerw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 00:42   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Underway in the Med -
Boat: Jeanneau 40 DS SoulMates
Posts: 2,025
Images: 1
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

Where are you going for hurricane season? you can spend 6 months waiting that little issue out and depending on your insurance really have to be that far south of the Caribbean ie Grenada or Trinidad and that is a long way down -

you could go west to Mexico and down and just miss the hurricane zone by the time you hit Panama and go on down to Cartagena and then turn around and head back

or go to the Bahamas - you can spend a couple of seasons exploring them and then when hurricane season come run up the east coast to Maine and back
__________________
just our thoughts and opinions
chuck and svsoulmates
In Herzliya Israel for the winter
chuckr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 03:28   #4
Registered User
 
s/v Moondancer's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Miami
Boat: Boatless
Posts: 1,399
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

We live in Miami and spent 6 years doing what you plan. Depending on the weather ' The Thorny Path' can be hard, it was harder sailing than crossing the Pacific. It is much easier to load up with extra fuel and go due east from Miami to 67-65 W and then south on the trades.

There is significant crime, we know 5 boats that were robbed/attacked at gun or machete point. We have bars in our hatches, lock the companionway at night and avoid remote anchorages. Dinghy theft is a real problem, we lift and lock each night with a 3/8 stainless chain and a serious stainless lock. We have a bar lock on the engine. Many of our US friends carry guns but you cannot take a gun into Mexico.

The first time around we visited every island, the second and third times around we avoided the high crime islands and the Islands with officious immigration people like Antigua. The French and Dutch Islands are our favorites but we will never go back to Trinidad or Venezuela.

Hurricane season is a very significant 4-5 month interruption. Granada/Trinidad is an option but as we are scuba divers we preferred Bonaire.

Getting back to Miami is easily done through the Old Bahama Channel but our preferred route was Aruba-Cartagena-San Blas-Grand Cayman-Cancun (Puerto Morales near Cancun is lovely) and then to Key West. That route is an adventure in itself.

Keeping the boat fixed is a challenge as there are some seriously bad boat repair people out there. You need to carry a good spare/filter inventory.

While my post sounds negative we plan to return from the South Pacific and sail the Caribbean until I am 80 years old. The sailing is marvelous and spending hurricane season scuba diving every day in Bonaire is the best adventure we have had in 9 years on the boat.

Repatriation insurance is important, in 6 years I helped organize 3 medical evacuations and a close friend was airvac'ed out for a serious injury.

Enjoy!
__________________
Phil

"Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often."
s/v Moondancer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 04:15   #5
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

I can't believe all 3 replies are negative! One even telling you not to go at all!

Frigging Hell! Its the best cruising ground in the WORLD! Its just a strong mans spit from Florida and has supermarkets VASTLY SUPERIOR to anything in the USA.

How to get there: do not, I repeat, do not read Thorny Path or similar books. They really are advocating the most horrendously difficult method to get south.

Go to the Bahamas, have fun. Fuel up in Georgetown and wait till a norther or NE and motor west to 65w then turn south to the BVIs. You are at sea for a week. (Thorny path is a year). Then slowly go down the chain and spend hurricane season in Grenada. Repeat BVIs to Grenada till you die.

Remember: we have supermarkets.
Yes we have coffee, Grenada even grows it!
Yes we have chocolate, Grenada grows it.
Yes we have toilet paper.
Yes we have rum ... premium top shelf 1 itre for $10. Try to find that in the USA.
Good French Bordeaux $5 per bottle.
Beer at waterfront bar $2
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 04:23   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
GordMay's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 32,870
Images: 240
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, mpomerance.
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 05:08   #7
Registered User
 
travellerw's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Grenada
Boat: Fortuna Island Spirit 40
Posts: 2,293
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I can't believe all 3 replies are negative! One even telling you not to go at all!

Frigging Hell! Its the best cruising ground in the WORLD! Its just a strong mans spit from Florida and has supermarkets VASTLY SUPERIOR to anything in the USA.

How to get there: do not, I repeat, do not read Thorny Path or similar books. They really are advocating the most horrendously difficult method to get south.

Go to the Bahamas, have fun. Fuel up in Georgetown and wait till a norther or NE and motor west to 65w then turn south to the BVIs. You are at sea for a week. (Thorny path is a year). Then slowly go down the chain and spend hurricane season in Grenada. Repeat BVIs to Grenada till you die.

Remember: we have supermarkets.
Yes we have coffee, Grenada even grows it!
Yes we have chocolate, Grenada grows it.
Yes we have toilet paper.
Yes we have rum ... premium top shelf 1 itre for $10. Try to find that in the USA.
Good French Bordeaux $5 per bottle.
Beer at waterfront bar $2
No no.. Mine was not negative at all... but the OP did ask for things he might have forgot.

As to coffee.. You and me need to sit down and you can share your secrets.. We spent last season in Grenada and were told that no one is growing coffee there anymore. Actually the main coffee company (Spice Island Coffee) was bringing ALL thier coffee from the USA. I must be missing something somewhere. All the coffee I found on any of the islands was at least 3X the cots of Canada.

I also highly disagree with the poster that called out Antigua as high crime and "officious immigration" people. We just spent 2 months there and there wasn't a single instance of crime against a cruising boat for those 2 months. Check-in and Check-out was super easy and took under 20 min.

I certainly agree about shopping and supermarkets. Not all the islands have great supermarkets, but there are more than enough around to get everything. Shoot here in St. Martin, the Carrefour is crazy and as big as anything we went to in Miami. You can get anything you want.

So yes I wholeheartedly agree with Mark. The Carribean is an absolutely fantastic cruising gound. The last year has been the best year of our lives. Get down here and enjoy!
travellerw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 05:17   #8
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PORTUGAL
Posts: 22,510
Images: 2
pirate Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

You tell em MarkJ.. just cannot understand all the anal palpitations our tough guy US cousins suffer from regarding the Caribbean.. assault/theft risks are no greater than the South Coast, UK and less than the USA.
I knew a German who's favourite saying was.. "A man is not a man without a knife..!!"
Guess Yanks suffer from a similar feeling of 'Emasculation'..
__________________


Born To Be Wild.. Click on the picture.
boatman61 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 06:40   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: 5 Mile River
Boat: Bristol 41.1 Keep on Dancin'
Posts: 623
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

I disagree about reading Cruising Guides, and the only way to go is via Rt 66. Read all you can, as you get going you will meet other cruisers, and form your own plan. We attempted the 12-18 month thing, and it was 10 years later the boat returned to the US. You see and meet great things and great people along the way. Enjoyed almost every place we went, just some more than others. I lost three outboards in the US, nothing in the Eastern Caribbean, and they were all locked.
keepondancin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 09:46   #10
Registered User
 
svHyLyte's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Tampa Bay area, USA
Boat: Beneteau First 42
Posts: 3,704
Images: 25
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

Quote:
My wife and I are contemplating a 2 year voyage in 18 months from now from Miami through the Caribbean and back again. We have read extensively about budgets, etc. we plan to be in a 40-50 ft Cat as it feels like it will be more livable. We have downloaded several cruising guides to get a feel for the islands, but just seeing if there is any last minute advice or tips we should review about anything to just make certain that we have not missed anything.

Thanks all!
Pick up (or download) a copy of the September 2014 edition of Cruising World. There is an excellent article by Todd Duff commencing on page 58, "A Path Without Prickles", that describes the "easy" way of getting south without enduring undue discomfort. Leaving from Miami, you're ahead of the game timing wise for a mid-November departure and Christmas in the BVI with none of the extended travel at sea and exposure to potentially crappy weather. (Essentially, travel when and for as long as the weather windows give you a westerly-northwesterly and sit tight when not, resting and waiting a few daze for the next front to pass before starting again.)

In re: supplies, believe it or not, folks in the islands eat every day, usually several times a day, drink coffee/beer/wine, and have/use all of the other things that you're accustomed to eating/drinking/using in Florida. Accordingly, there are places to buy such items everywhere although some may be more costly than you find "at home". A partial solution is to eat/drink "locally" rather than trying to find everything you're accustomed to "at home". You'll be amazed at how good things can be that you might never have had/tried before.

In short.... "Don't let your expectations/preconceptions get in the way of your enjoyment." You'll be glad you don't!

FWIW...
__________________
"It is not so much for its beauty that the Sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
svHyLyte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 09:55   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: SW Florida
Boat: Grand Banks 49
Posts: 506
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
18 months.. Not sure thats last minute!

Advice #1... Bring coffee.. Its stupid expensive down here..
Advice #2... Don't underestimate the Thorny Path. You will almost burn a whole season getting through it.

Have fun.. Hope to see you out here!
===

Respectfully disagree. We've done the "Thorny Path" twice and average about two or three weeks time from Florida to the BVI. Perhaps if you insist on waiting for perfect conditions it would take longer but not really necessary in our experience. In addition, there are many interesting places along the way which you miss otherwise.
wayne.b is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 10:11   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 113
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

Re: Cruising Guides

Get and read them all - including the old ones from Don Street and the free ones from Frank Virgintino (FreeCruisingGuides) and the really popular ones from Chris Doyle ....and don't rely upon any of them to be 100% accurate or anywhere near comprehensive! And of course go thru back issues of Caribbean Compass and other publications, available online, for area-specific and passagemaking articles.

I also suggest trying to make contact directly with Frank & Chris - both are most knowledgeable, helpful and friendly.....you'll probably cross paths along the way.


Re: Thorny Path

Read Virgintino's Thinking Man's Guide to Voyaging South - and strongly consider the "long way" - south thru the Windward Passage and east along the southern coasts of Haiti, the DR and PR. I did Georgetown to the VI in a couple of weeks (in February), including several brief but relaxing stopovers, with little brain damage or hard sailing. My only regret was not having much more time to explore the southern Bahamas, Ile a Vache in Haiti, and elsewhere along the way. But, with the time you have, not only can you spend as much time as you want these beautiful and interesting areas off the beaten path, but also have the luxury of timing the weather - cold fronts and the diurnal winds along the mountainous south coast of Hispaniola & PR - to make for a pleasant and easy trip east with a lot of great sailing. [Despite little flexibility but with a certain amount of close attention to weather and some luck added on, our passage via this route had the spinnaker or screacher flying much of the time, a lot of close reaching and only light headwinds and seas the rest of it - for an average VMG close to 6 knots in a 44' cat.]

Fair winds and happy exploring!
wcapital is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 11:06   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 311
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

If you're planning to leave in 18mo and haven't done some real serious boat shopping, I think you better get on that! "we plan to be in a 40-50 ft Cat as it feels like it will be more livable" Do you have experience single handling a 50ft Cat? If not, you ought to try it before you buy it. And I personally would not want to buy a boat one month and shove off for long off destinations the next. It take a bit of time to learn a boat. If you buy like-new, there will be significant upgrades to make it live-a-board friendly and that will take time (solar/wind, aux gen, watermaker, charger and battery upgrades, sail plan upgrades, etc.). If you buy used and something already outfitted for live aboard (my recommendation) you will likely want to 1) make changes to suite your specific needs, 2) spend some time shaking it down to find any issues like aging lines, equipment, etc.. In short, I'd want to be under-contract on a boat in the next 6mo if I were you and it could take longer than that to find the right boat for long term cruising if you are somewhat picky or uncertain what options you want... I guess a big budget can mitigate some of this if you're okay throwing money at it.
Best of luck!
zstine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 13:49   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Boat: FP Helia 44
Posts: 28
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

Hi Phil


Note your scuba diving in Bonaire comment. Curious as to whether you put a compressor on your boat.
Heliades is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2017, 19:16   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 11
Re: 2 years in Caribbean....where to start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
18 months.. Not sure thats last minute!

Advice #1... Bring coffee.. Its stupid expensive down here..
Advice #2... Don't underestimate the Thorny Path. You will almost burn a whole season getting through it.

Have fun.. Hope to see you out here!


Thanks so much!
__________________

mpomerance is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
Caribbean, rib

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
mercury 5hp 4 stroke 11 years old(?) - wont start easily squirty34 Auxiliary Equipment & Dinghy 3 27-06-2016 08:08
Start Small or Start Big ? Zonker Multihull Sailboats 18 16-01-2012 12:13
Diesel Engine Not Started in Five Years - Pre-Start Procedure ? westsailwill Engines and Propulsion Systems 8 23-07-2011 13:26
Plan for First Start of Diesel in Five Years TopHat Engines and Propulsion Systems 3 01-03-2010 06:19
2 years planning, 2 years sailing...was it worth it? ABSOLUTLY!!! kingfish General Sailing Forum 14 19-04-2009 17:35



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 17:06.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.