Me and my better half are planning to leave San Diego
around the 1st of November (maybe with the Ha-Ha). Our plan is to head
down to Panama
, into the Caribbean
and make it to the Long Island
area before June/July. I have some family
in the area and we're planning to live on the east coast
for a year before jumping the Atlantic to Europe
and living/working there for a awhile.
Most of the threads I've found covering this trip are east to west and I understand that west to east is more difficult. We have about 9 months to prepare and I'm trying to suss out the route
planning (so at least there's a schedule to break). I'd love to have the opinions of some serious cruisers as regards to challenges, timing and places to visit.
Our rough plan shapes up like this:
- San Diego to Panama City (November 1 to March 1)
- Bum around and get through canal
- Colon to Jamaica/Cayman to Turks & Caicos (Mid March to May 1)
- From there escape north before it's too late (I welcome advice on exactly when 'too late' is)
We're currently looking at the major dangers/obstacles being:
- Gulf of Tehuantepec (Either 1 foot on beach or waaaay offshore)
- Guatemala and El Salvador being somewhat sketchy places for cruisers (please correct me; I'd love to be wrong about that)
- Hassles/dinero getting through the Ditch
- Close reaching 600 NM to Cayman or Jamaica through pretty open water
- Windward Passage to Turks & Caicos (If we can hit a good window, motor?)
You must understand, as West coasters, born and bred, the concept
of hurricanes/tropical storms is terrifying the way some folks seem to feel about earthquakes
Because I know it's hard to give advice without knowing the crew/boat. We're in our late 20's and have a fair amount of coastal cruising experience (Cabo and back in 5 weeks, several trips to Channel Islands/Catalina). The boat is in good shape for an old Mariner 31. I re-powered with a new Beta 25 last year which got us through the baja
bash. The only major upgrade for this year is windvane
(anyone got a new-ish Monitor
they want to sell?), the rest is your usual painting/rigging/maintenance.
Thanks in advance for any and all advice. A couple of our cruising neighbors left last year, so I haven't had the usual experienced sailor's advice-dump.