Great Lakes to the Caribbean (route review) - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 13 Old 02-27-2012
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Sorry about that, was having browser problems.

I loved Newfoundland - Nova Scotia was nice, but Newfoundland was great. The problems are:
1. Heavy fog
2. Very changeable weather
3. Strong winds 35 knots is not uncommon
4. The water depth is 200 feet 2 feet from shore - lots of boats get in trouble.

If you choose to go this way leave me a PM and I will chat with you about it on the phone. If I was not planning on crossing the pond this May I would go back to Newfoundland, I liked it that much.

If you do go, make sure you also plan to stop at St. Pierre and Miquelon. These are French (not French Canadian) islands off the southwest coast of Newfoundland. You will anyway as you will see when you do route planning.

As far as the Mississippi River is concerned it is pretty much a bummer for a sailboat. Unless you want to take the stick up and down a couple of times you will drop it in Chicago and put it back up in the Gulf of Mexico. Motor, motor, motor. Once you arrive in the Gulf you then need to get somewhere fun - that means crossing the Gulf to Key West. (I have done Mexico, Belize and Guatemala but again you need to have some significant cruising experience to deal with the adverse currents and the fact that the entire trip is on a lee shore. The political situation in these places is not very reassuring either.)
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post #12 of 13 Old 02-27-2012
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Originally Posted by neverknow View Post
I have not been to CA since they changed the rules. I know now you have to have a passport just to visit. Wasn't sure what else has changed?
Canada is easy - boat papers - passport - they will give you a clearance number. Make sure you stop at the US Customs (usually at the nearest international airport) to get a "courtesy clearance" out of the US. This makes it easier to get into Canada. Also, expect to be inspected - particularly for smokes and booze on the first time in. If you go in and out (such as going into Miquelon) the Canadians will most likely clear you back in by telephone.

Miquelon is even easier. The islands live on the tourist trade. When I checked in the customs person was at the airport. The Immigration person told me to have a nice dinner and the customs person would stop by in the morning. Very low key.

If you do go to Newfoundland come down through the Cabot Straight. Going over the top is for very experienced sailors as the ports are few and the weather can be brutal. If you are that good go do it, you will pull into towns that have not seen another sailboat for 5 years or more. You will enjoy the welcome.
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post #13 of 13 Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Great Lakes to the Caribbean (route review)

I've often thought about making this voyage myself. I've sailed Puget Sound in the NW and around the lakes in Seattle as well as Lake Superior. I'll be working in Bayfield, WI from May to August this summer if you'd like someone to join you as crew, feel free to stop by and pick me up or I'll happily meet you in Michigan!
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