Originally Posted by savuti
 What are Leeward Antilles and Windward islands
like for cruising?
 Am I correct to assume that anything north of Grenada
is a no-go during hurricane
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.