Which Way Do We Go?

Reader Intervention Requested!


Pondering during our relaxation from travel period here in Beautiful Antigua, we start discussing the next places to visit. You may recall me responding to questions about where we are going, even before we left. Ok, you got one of us to answer reluctantly, perhaps saying, “South”, which may have then sounded blunt or uncaring. However, we meant it seriously! And here we are… somewhere south.

Time to head south!

So now the question is asked again (and to ourselves). To help find an answer, the following are our most important criteria:

  1. Timing. Consider our most steadfast travel plan/goal: Pass through the Panama Canal at the end of January. Don’t ask for an exact date – please! That’s as close as it gets – until we get there. The smallest increments of time, for us, are now measured in weeks. (Except happy hour).
  2. Tradewinds. They are well established now, and blow generally from east to west, and can be in the 20-30 knots range. That means once we go west, we aren’t likely to beat back into the easterly wind. At least we’ll avoid any travel at less than 45 degrees off the wind. One big reason we are starting with Antigua is because it lies so far East, we can’t really go much further until we hit Africa. We probably won’t consider Barbados because it is still further East, but not impossible.
  3. Popularity. We primarily intend to visit lesser-travelled spots. That’s not easy nowadays. We first consider islands we don’t often hear about. For example, how many times have you seen a travel advertisement for Saba?
  4. Trouble. We’ll avoid going into areas of reported piracy or political upheaval, such as Trinidad, or coastal Venezuela, until they can get their respective acts together. ABC’s (see below) are considered safe, even though relatively close to South America.

Ok, so these are our decision points. Here are two example courses to take:

1. Westerly Route

We head west, and hit Monserrat (volcano), St Kitts & Nevis, St. Eustatius and Saba, before heading on a 450 mile passage SW to the ABC’s (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao), then hop around (offshore a ways) Columbia to the San Blas Islands to kill time before the canal.

Hop, skip and jump to Panama via “westerly” route.

2. Southerly Route

We’ll head south, visit Monserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent, and eventually Bequia before jumping west (400 nm) over to the ABC’s. The journey continues from there as above, eventually to Panama.

Southerly-first route.

Both courses are equally appealing to us. There are variations in each, so to customize the timing of Panama in late Jan. We are having trouble deciding- especially as the sun and rum makes us numb. Will you help us decide?

Will You Help Us Decide?

Please leave comments and/ or email us. I promise we’ll respond, and send a bottle of Antiguan rum to the person with the most interesting rationale. (well, maybe the rum is a bit optimistic).

13 thoughts on “Which Way Do We Go?

  1. Tom

    It looks like the Westerly route is more of a long reach “water route” , while the Southerly is more “touristy” with more port calls. Westerly may be quicker and a better sail since the wind won’t be astern as much as it will when you hit the Westerly leg of the Southerly route, but since they both end up in Aruba, I think tourism and more island hopping is the way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh boy… I don’t think that will matter in this situation We are still trying to figure out how to get it to work consistently. PYI makes the drive unit for Garmin, and they don’t seem to be fond of Garmin. We may just add a new position sensor, which is what failed last. In any case we have additional redundancy with Vinny the Vane.

      Like

  2. We’re on Serendipity! Great to meet fellow New Englanders today. There are so many beautiful places to visit that I think skipping all the eastern Caribbean is missing out!! And don’t forget about Barbuda! From here all the way to the Grenadines are some really cool places. Let’s chat over sundowners!

    Liked by 1 person

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