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Old 27-08-2010, 02:18   #31
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Does your boat draw around 5'8"? John Kretschmer, in a SailNet article had a note about crossing the bar to enter Rio Dulce:
"The Rio Dulce is a lovely oasis in Guatemala. .... Unfortunately, the bar at the mouth carries about six feet at high water. My 44-foot ketch draws seven feet. Usually I am forced to hire a small tug that takes my main halyard aboard, heels the boat over precipitously, and ignominiously escorts me across the bar. Once however, a strong onshore wind and the short chop caused by the initial ebb of the current, was enough to let me bounce over the bar and into the River. You have to use what you can."
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Old 27-08-2010, 04:58   #32
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Mangrooves in English Harbor, Antigua
These would your neighbours...

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Old 27-08-2010, 05:10   #33
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John A, have you actually cruised in Venezuela? I ask because, while there are clearly dangerous areas to be avoided, there are also many safe and beautiful areas to cruise and remain safe from tropical storms. Yes, the Paria de Peninsula and Araya Peninsula and near shore islands have had numerous problems. Yes, Caracas should be avoided by all but the very brave. However, painting the entire country (one with by far the largest coastline facing the Caribbean Sea) with the same paint brush is unfair.

I suggest that one read Noonsite and, with respect to their most recent piracy reports, one can see that the tiny island of Bequia in SVG and yes, St. Martin/Maarten have been getting a significant number of reports of late - and these are islands with a shoreline less than 1% of the size of Venequela. Two recent postings on the site - 'Venezuela - Don't Believe the Rumours' (March 1, 2010) and 'Report on Various Ports of Call' (Jan. 2010) put things in some perspective.

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Old 27-08-2010, 06:25   #34
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What about hanging about in the Grenadines or Grenada and quickly heading south to Trinidad or Venezuela at at the first sign of a problem? Of course here's where a fast boat helps.
We have been doing just that for the last four years. We stay in Grenada where the people are quite friendly and the environment is very "small town." I used to spend the hurricane season in Trinidad but the opportunities to use the boat and extra costs were not appealing to us.
- - It is 84 nm anchor to anchor from the south side of Grenada to Chag Bay in Trinidad so it can be done in about 14 hours (at 6 knots). This allows you to stay in Grenada - ready to go - until the storm gets within 2 or 3 days from passing through the area. Track predictions for hurricanes are very unreliable outside of 48 hours so being able to get to a relatively better place within 14 hours is very nice.
- - Venezuela from Grenada is a 2 or 3 day journey so is not a good choice for "last minute" running. That report of murders, etc. that was just in the news is for city and land-side people. The problems cruisers might have with Venezuela varies from benign and "what's everybody taking about, we did fine" all the way to severe and sometimes fatal encounters in anchorages and underway. The political climate there is not conducive to having a "happy time" if you are not a Venezuelan - but again I have friends who go there every year and have a great time. But I have more friends who were attacked and would never go anywhere near VZ again.
- - As said before unless you get a direct hit there are numerous places in the Windward and Leeward islands that have places to hide. It is really just a case of your personal karma and how much you like to gamble. The areas below the ITCZ - Trinidad; VZ; Cartagena and sometimes the ABC islands offer a much higher degree of probability of avoiding hurricanes.
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Old 27-08-2010, 06:50   #35
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Sunsail yacht charter will have filled the mangroves with their fleet long before the thought occures to you.
Depends where you are. If you are paying attention OR are in Antigua and move quickly you can beat the fleet.
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Old 27-08-2010, 06:51   #36
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These would your neighbours...


And your point? I assume this was for someone who would be on their boat in the hurricane.
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Old 27-08-2010, 07:02   #37
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Here is an interesting forecast for Antigua this weekend - notice the purple stuff. I think I would rather be somewhere else . . .
WindGURU: Antigua and Barbuda - Antigua

like Grenada . . .
WindGURU: Grenada - Grenada

or Trinidad.
WindGURU: Trinidad and Tobago - Tobago, Pigeon Point
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Old 27-08-2010, 09:15   #38
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John A, have you actually cruised in Venezuela?
No I have not.
But I spent 7 hurricane seasons in Trinidad where I heard/read of numerious reports of conditions in Venezuela, some good, most bad. Some from cruisiers and some from locals.
Venezuela's current leader is a student of Stalin and encourages anarchy. His heros are Castro, and the leaders of Iran and North Korea. He's leading Venezuela back into the stone age. IMO
Sorry if I sound pessimistic.
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Old 27-08-2010, 20:35   #39
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John A, have you actually cruised in Venezuela? I ask because, while there are clearly dangerous areas to be avoided, there are also many safe and beautiful areas to cruise and remain safe from tropical storms. . . .
I suggest that one read Noonsite and, with respect to their most recent piracy reports, . . . Two recent postings on the site - 'Venezuela - Don't Believe the Rumours' (March 1, 2010) and 'Report on Various Ports of Call' (Jan. 2010) put things in some perspective.
Brad
As I have said before some people cruise Venezuela in perfect safety and have a good time. Others, more than a few, have some very bad experiences and have even lost their lives.
- - So read ALL the reports on Venezuela on Noonsite and also on Caribbean Safety and Security Net's website. These are not rumors but actual verified reports of real incidents - just like other real incidents that happen to cruisers in other Caribbean Islands. Unfortunately, there are reports like the quoted "Venezuela - Don't Believe the Rumours" that disprove themselves with their own words. A statement in the report "So much bad propaganda is being placed on or in cruising websites or magazines. Some I know to be fabricated by businesses in the competing Grenada and Trinidad." is so blatantly false that it makes the rest of the letter of little or no validity. Some letter writers with good intentions ending up shooting themselves in the foot with such statements.
- - Every cruiser must make up his/her own mind on how much risk they are willing to take in cruising and anchoring in any of the islands/countries of the Caribbean basin. That is why most of us went cruising - to be able to be in charge of our own destiny. So read all of the reports and statistics, not just isolated indefinite letters promising hell or paradise. Make up your own mind and plan accordingly.
- - All of the Caribbean is changing and especially in the personal/boat security area things are different from a decade or more ago. More attention to personal/boat security and passive defensive strategies/equipment is warranted. The great parts of cruising the Caribbean basin are still there, it is just that now we need to be more aware and proactive in taking personal responsibility for our own and our crew mates security concerns.
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Old 28-08-2010, 12:05   #40
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Boy, I am glad that I am in Grenada and not Antigua or St Martin right now. Here is Earl's forecast.


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Old 02-09-2010, 14:04   #41
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Oh My!! A word of caution.

Hurricains are those things in which the wind blows anywhere from 64nm to a max of 150nm creating something wierd called storm surge. And a 40 foot swell would not slow down very much as it swept acrossed the Tobago Cays.

I would direct your attention to Hurricane Ivan when, in 2004 or so it tracked acrossed Granada (below 12*N) as a caragory 3 and damaged/sank 800 boats including over 200 that were on the hard.
One of the good (and bad) things about these forums is there is always someone else who thinks he knows better.

When Hurricane Dean passed over St Lucia two or three years ago as a Cat 3, no swell got in to the Cays. Plenty of wind, but two anchors was enough for that, whereas down in Trinidad one of the pontoons at Crews Inn was lifted off its piles and drifted away, together with all the yachts tied to it.

Most of the boats that were damaged on the hard in Grenada by Ivan fell over when the unmade ground under them was washed away. Spice Island Marine and Grenada Marine are both in flood plains, albeit concreted now, whereas the majority of the boats tied into the mangroves survived.

For anyone thinking of staying in the Tobago Cays, remember it is just an overnight sail down to Trinidad, or Puerto de la Cruz, if you get worried, and the Grenadines are a hell of a lot nicer place to spend the summer aboard.
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Old 02-09-2010, 14:32   #42
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One of the good (and bad) things about these forums is there is always someone else who thinks he knows better.
I couldn't agree more! Having spent nine years in the Eastern Caribbean 24/7 as an anchor-out singlehandler, I've watched and listened to many experts.
Most of my advice is on the pessimistic side in hopes that people will excercise caution.
It's kind of like a weather forecast ie. which would like? A forecast that predicted sunny and calm weather and a gale force storm hit you, or a forcecast full of gloom and doom, and it turned out to be a beautiful day?

I've even heard that it's possible to jaywalk acrossed a busy freeway. That doesn't mean I'd reccomend it.
One last observation: There is no way in hell that you can get from the Tobago Cays to Trinidad in a day!!
kind regards John
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Old 02-09-2010, 14:54   #43
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John, for those of us who are more optimistic but less experienced then you, why can't you get from the Tobago Cays to Trinidad in a day?
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Old 02-09-2010, 15:27   #44
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John, for those of us who are more optimistic but less experienced then you, why can't you get from the Tobago Cays to Trinidad in a day?
Good question, since the straight line distance to the north coast of Trinidad is about 100 miles. However, I'm not sure there are any ports of entry/dood harbors on the north coast.
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Old 02-09-2010, 15:33   #45
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When Hurricane Dean passed over St Lucia two or three years ago as a Cat 3, no swell got in to the Cays. Plenty of wind, but two anchors was enough for that.......
Please don't take offense, but I'm really having trouble believing that. Were you in Tobago Cays at the time? If you were there, could comment more specifically about the sea conditions? If not, what is your source for that report?

Thanks.
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