South through the Bahamas or toward Costa Rica? - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-31-2010 Thread Starter
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South through the Bahamas or toward Costa Rica?

Some of you people that know geography, weather and island people better than I do maybe you would have an opinion about this. I am kind of stuck on the idea of going South. I'd like to go far south with the 30' Grampian that I have with my dog. He is a lab
We started in Charleston South Carolina and are in Vero Beach Florida now. A friend is meeting us to either go to the Keys or to Nassau from here. We haven't decided yet.
I'd like to go to Brazil eventually and the straight path goes to the Bahamas and then to Purerto Rico. The alternative is to go through the Keys, go to Mexico then cut down to Costa Rica. After going to Costa Rica start going hard eastward through the Carribean.
Of these two routes which one do you think would be the safer and cheaper? Empasis is on safety of course.
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-01-2010
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Probably easier to work your way down the Bahamas and the Islands using ´The Thornless Path¨as a guide. However, the western Caribbean is much cheaper and if you need work Cartagena is the cheapest.

Brasil is another matter and you need to buy Jimmy Cornells passage guide.
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post #3 of 9 Old 11-01-2010
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Having a dog with you will cause a few problems. Most countries have fairly strict quarantine regulations regarding animals, and not following them can end up costing you a lot. I would highly recommend you figure out the countries that are going to be the least complicated in the matter of your dog and then proceed from there.

Also, crossing the Gulf of Mexico is not to be taken lightly. It is one of the nastier bodies of water to cross, since it has strong currents and can turn very vicious very quickly.

Piracy is a concern. There are reports of piracy near the Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago. Colombia's coast as well as Guatemala's have had incidents reported as well.

Where in Brazil are you intending to go. Most of Brazil is upwind and up-current from the Caribbean and getting there is rather tough. The traditional routes for sailing vessels to get to Brazil start from the other side of the Atlantic, since the winds and currents will be with you then.

Prevailing Atlantic Ocean Currents:


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post #4 of 9 Old 11-01-2010
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Costa Rica had lots of crime problems when we were there in the '90s, particularly in San Juan and Golfito areas, but then we had things stolen twice in Florida as well. Going east from Cartagena is a hard slog into the tradewinds. Most cruisers go north rather than east.
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-01-2010
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Originally Posted by akin_alan View Post
Some of you people that know geography, weather and island people better than I do maybe you would have an opinion about this. I am kind of stuck on the idea of going South. I'd like to go far south with the 30' Grampian that I have with my dog. He is a lab
We started in Charleston South Carolina and are in Vero Beach Florida now. A friend is meeting us to either go to the Keys or to Nassau from here. We haven't decided yet.
I'd like to go to Brazil eventually and the straight path goes to the Bahamas and then to Purerto Rico. The alternative is to go through the Keys, go to Mexico then cut down to Costa Rica. After going to Costa Rica start going hard eastward through the Carribean.
Of these two routes which one do you think would be the safer and cheaper? Empasis is on safety of course.
Bahamas down to the Carribean would be my choice. But we have some aquaintances that have been in Guatemala for a long time and love it and it is very cheap. Like mentioned above, cartegena has been highly suggested. We have some friends that spent three years down there (Colombia, Guatemala, Costa), and loved it. In fact, they are heading back down there this Decemeber or so.

Also, like mentioned above, I have heard it is a tough beat to head east from Colombia or Guatemala. So if heading to Brazil was your final destination, I would probably take the east carribean route, but I suspect the cheapest route would be taking the western route.

I do not know about the animla restrictions. I have always heard that they could be tough in some countries, with British colonies the worst (BVI). However, there was another Sailnet member here (Jswrites???) that took his large dog via FL, CUba, Mexico, and south through guatemala and the canal. He said the reports of problems bringing in dogs were way over blown. But, this is all hear-say. I will tell you from a personal point of view, from someone that has a dog too, it is a pain in the butt and we are always thinking of where we can find a good spot for her to crap. She also has a sensitive stomack (only Iams lamb & Rice) which could get quite costly if we can find at all down south. So I suspect Fatty will be staying with relatives when we head south (and she will probably be the happier for it).

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post #6 of 9 Old 11-01-2010 Thread Starter
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Any way that I go this doesn't look easy. We might just tool around in the Keys for a little while for now. I will probably need to get another main sail. The one that I have is on its second leg and my backup is sorta crippled with little tears in it. I dread such a long beat if I do decide to go to Brazil. It looks like going out in the Atlantic a ways before going South would be the fastest route. Might be able to miss some of the Eastern Winds and Currents that way. How far it would be necessary to go out is another question.
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-01-2010
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If I were you I'd keep talking to people...should be some people in here who haven't chimed in yet who can give you some advice.. keep doing searches for "the thorny path"...not the Thornless path though...There might be some tricks on getting from Bahamas towards Puerto Rico this time of year using a a particular weather set or scenario...,etc...weather is fascinating...the more I learn about air masses and how they mix and mingle...and even the currents they can produce...can really help one to know what to look for as far as weather windows that small boats can thread....I've heard Grampians are good ol' boats...good luck!

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post #8 of 9 Old 11-02-2010
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If I were you I'd keep talking to people...should be some people in here who haven't chimed in yet who can give you some advice.. keep doing searches for "the thorny path"...not the Thornless path though...There might be some tricks on getting from Bahamas towards Puerto Rico this time of year using a a particular weather set or scenario...,etc...weather is fascinating...the more I learn about air masses and how they mix and mingle...and even the currents they can produce...can really help one to know what to look for as far as weather windows that small boats can thread....I've heard Grampians are good ol' boats...good luck!
The "Thornless Path" is a play on words written by a fellow that is now on a trawler (started in a Sailboat... I cannot remember his name but I have his book at home) where he devised a easy run to the east Carribean by ducking behind islands and following in lees so that you are not beating the whole way. The Thorny path got its name because from the Bahamas or states, it is a hard, gruelling beat all the way SEast. That path includes turks, DR, PR, then across to BVI. His path is similar but circles you around the lees to circumvent a lot of the hard beating and make it an enjoyable experience versus a terrible one. Also, he makes up his runs in short jaunts versus lots of overnighters. IIRC, he only has one overnighter and I think that is from T&C to DR/Haiti.

Been some months since I read the book so please excuse any typos as this is all from memory - which does not always do well anymore (memory loss is directly proportional to number of kids and dogs on boat). He also has a lot of great ideas on stocking up, different provisions, where to stop, and some great ideas on use of chemicals and other items in a creative fashion. I did find some of his personal views a bit distateful for me... but heck, if I can survive Sailnet, that bokk is a walk in the park!!

So if you are serious about it, get the book. A good read and a path well used by many knowlegeable cruisers.

Brian

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post #9 of 9 Old 11-02-2010
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Here it is: The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South.

http://www.thornlesspath.com/

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