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Ocean outlook: Caribbean, Atlantic and Mediterranean

by Noonsite 27 Jan 2023 14:33 UTC
Mediterranean © Noonsite

Caribbean Sea:

Two round the world rallies started this month from the Caribbean. World ARC started from Rodney Bay, St. Lucia and the fourth Oyster World Rally from Antigua. World Cruising Club will also be running an 'into the Pacific' route in February 2023. More info...

Tobago has new, high-quality moorings for yachts in Man-O-War Bay, on the NE of the Island, the first of their kind on Tobago. This bay is in the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve and the moorings aim to reduce anchor damage to fragile marine ecosystems and generate income for local conservation activities as well as for maintaining the moorings.

Bonaire, once the sleepy Caribbean island loved by cruisers, is seeing changes and fees have increased significantly this year resulting in just a handful of visiting yachts when normally there are 30+. Yachts that regularly visit Bonaire report on the rise of new construction sites on the island and a feeling of being "ripped off" in comparison to the fees charged to yachts on neighbouring Curacao.

If you're visiting Bonaire and would like to learn more about sea turtles, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) give free bi-monthly presentations where volunteers and staff talk about sea turtles and the work done to protect them. Between January and April, STCB conducts transect-count (snorkel) surveys along the west coast of Bonaire and around Klein Bonaire and are looking for volunteers for in-water surveys as well as beach clean-ups, beach keepers and their fishing line project.

An armed boarding has been reported from St. Lucia, at the popular Pitons area when six men with machetes robbed a charter yacht crew of cellphones and other items.

US cruisers Jerry and Katy, of SV Idril, cleared into Culebra, Spanish Virgin Islands, on Christmas Day from the BVIs using ROAM. They report that the process went very smoothly. "I created and submitted an arrival request at the entrance to Ensenada Honda, and within a few minutes received a phone call from CBP. They asked me to confirm the number of persons aboard and my answers to the clearance questions, and said we were free to enter."

Captain Pete reports an equally straightforward procedure when clearing into Cuba at Marina Hemingway.

Islas Mujeres is often the first stop in Mexico for boats coming from the US, but recent visitors warn of extortion by Customs officials and having to pay fines for having alcohol on board.

Atlantic:

As orca interactions with yachts off the Iberian peninsula in Europe continue, the Spanish authorities have launched Orcinus this month, so that yachts can see orca sightings and interactions as they happen. Orcinus is a free reporting and tracking app which allows users to view and make reports relating to Orca whale sightings and encounters. This means that as soon as a sailboat using the App sights orcas, they can report it on the App and all other App users will be notified of the position. This is a huge step in helping sailors plan their route safely around the Iberian peninsula.

A new service by the National Hurricane Center and partners started on 1 January, part of their Blue Water Mariner program. Tropical Atlantic Marine Weather Briefings will posted to YouTube every Sunday and Thursday afternoon discussing marine weather in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Tropical Atlantic Ocean.

Tom Sheehey from Simpatico Sports Bar in Mindelo has sent a good update for cruising boats visiting the Cape Verdes. He reports a busy season so far with a large participation in the ARC+ rally (particularly Scandinavian boats), followed by a large group of Dutch boats, 60+ Danish sailors and over Christmas 3 Australian yachts. Poor winds have meant that many yachts on passage across the Atlantic have had to extend their stay in the islands.

Mediterranean:

As of 1 January Croatia has entered Schengen, meaning one less escape hole for non-EU cruisers. It will however mean greatly reduced formalities if coming from another Schengen country, saving time and planning.

With scarcely one year of sailing under their belts, New Zealand sailors Connie and Greg Miller sailed away from England in the midst of the Covid pandemic, bound for Greece. Connie details 12 lessons they learned as they sailed across the Bay of Biscay, through the straits of Gibraltar and across the Mediterranean, heading for Greece.

If planning to cruise the Greek Islands this year, don't miss Tony Cross's yachting pilot for Crete, available as a free download from the RCCPF website. These notes were started in 2007 and are continually updated, the latest version dating from April 2022.

Cruisers with knowledge of the west coast of Italy might be able to help this Noonsite user looking for a suitable marina near Naples to keep a yacht.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of noonsite.com

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