Please select your home edition
Noble Marine 2022 SW - LEADERBOARD

Ocean outlook: Red Sea, Caribbean, Atlantic, Mediterranean

by Noonsite 4 Jul 14:15 UTC
Red Sea ©

Red Sea:

While mainland Yemen should be avoided, the small archipelago of Socotra belonging to Yemen, located between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea, is a useful place to stop and re-provision on the way to the Red Sea. Feedback this month from local contacts on Socotra report that approximately 20-30 yachts stop there every year, mainly to re-fuel.

Hans from Switzerland and Imma from Barcelona have been sailing around the world slowly since 2011 on their Dufour 40 Performance "Tuvalu". Following their wonderful report from the Maldives, they have now shared their experience of sailing up the Red Sea these past couple of months.

"Many sailors look at the Red Sea as a mere transit area to get to the Suez Canal as quickly as possible", they told Noonsite. "So, they sail as fast as the prevailing north winds allow to Suez, but miss an incredibly beautiful sailing area with a variety of excellent anchorages in coral reefs, with great diving and friendly people in Sudan and Egypt. There's absolutely no need to rush!" Read their Red Sea report with in depth details on all the anchorages they visited.

The majority of Saudi Arabia's coastline is on the Red Sea, but it's never been a welcoming place for cruising yachts until recently. Sailboat Tabata III, a 24m ketch, is sailing around the world diving with and filming sharks and spent some time in Saudi Arabia as it's known as a good place to dive with these animals. "We took the opportunity to go now that the country is opening up, but not yet congested with mass tourism" said skipper Patrick. He recommends Jeddah as a much better stopover and refueling option than Djibouti, "because the boat can dock at a nice marina, supermarkets are big, modern and every type of food is available (except alcohol and pork of course), it's easier to find spare parts and overall the place is very clean and the people are extremely welcoming and polite." Read more from Patrick at Saudi Arabia comments.

Caribbean Sea:

While many yachts have already moved out of the Caribbean basin for hurricane season, the month of June and first half of July are said to be the best months of the year for sailing the islands. Uncrowded anchorages, a steady breeze of 10-12 knots - rarely more - and seldom hurricane activity so early in the season, make this the perfect cruising season. Donald Street shares some other summer sailing secrets in this month's Caribbean Compass (pages 20-21).

In the BVIs an abundance of jellyfish have been spotted at The Baths, on Virgin Gorda, a popular bathing spot for tourists and of course yacht crew. If you see purple flags flying at beaches in the BVIs, this indicates a marine life warning and extreme caution is recommended. For further information call the National Parks Trust on 541 2420.

When cruising with pets in the Eastern Caribbean, the French Islands are reported to be the easiest places to go with a dog as an import permit is not required - although on most of the islands you should keep the dogs off the beaches and leashed.

In St. Lucia this month, a lone yacht in the anchorage of Anse Canaries (south of Marigot Bay) was boarded by three attackers and the sole occupant assaulted and robbed of a number of items. The Caribbean Safety and Security Net (CSSN) say this is not the first recent instance of armed robbery in this bay, or nearby in the Soufriere/Pitons area, and skippers should be cautious. Read the report here.

Bonaire Customs has confirmed that they are conducting a trial with the advance web notification service for clearance - SailClear. Completing the online forms prior to checking in aims to save a lot of time at Customs. As this is a trial, there are no Customs computers available for Skippers to complete the forms on arrival as yet (like there are in other islands that use this system), so Skippers should log into SailClear, if possible, prior to arrival in Bonaire and complete the paperwork in advance.

?The Cayman Islands grant visiting yachts and their crew a 30-day stay on arrival and technically it should be possible to extend this to 6 months. However, cruisers continue to report how difficult this is, and that the general feeling is that cruisers aren't wanted there for an extended period. Read feedback in Cayman Islands comments.

On the island of San Andres - a major holiday destination for mainland Colombians - a yacht at anchor was boarded by armed men in the early hours of the morning on May 27th. Luckily no one was hurt and nothing stolen. This was reported to CSSN, who do a wonderful job of tracking crime against yachts in this part of the world. If you are a victim, please take five minutes to complete the CSSN online incident report, it's quick, confidential and keeps our cruising community fully and factually informed.

Costa Rica, with coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, now offers a new tourist TIP for visiting yachts. This means a foreign yacht can extend its stay in the country for up to 2 years (maximum time used to be just 90 days), making Costa Rica a viable option for hurricane season.

Following a series of boardings, robberies and assaults on cruising yachts that anchored in the bay of Nombre de Dios in Panama in 2019, four men have at last been sentenced to jail for committing these crimes. See news item in Spanish.


The beautiful Azores is seeing a lot of yachts this month with the exodus from the Caribbean towards the Mediterranean. Each of the islands is unique from the tiny crater island of Corvo, the ruggedness of Flores, to the volcanos on Horta and the brown sandy beaches of Santa Maria. Cruiser Kia Koropp wrote a wonderful report for Noonsite of their time here in 2021.

Although hundreds of yachts call every year, very few of them cruise around the islands and the majority stop only in Horta, on the island of Faial, one of the perennially favorite places of long-distance sailors. With their secluded bays, uncrowded anchorages and protected harbors, the nine islands of the Azores are still waiting to be discovered as a cruising destination in their own right. We have done a complete update of all ports in the archipelago this month, so why not take some time to find out more about this mid-Atlantic gem.

Some interesting feedback from OCC member Catherine Lorenz, who entered the Azores in Horta in May 2023 with her dogs: "We entered the EU via Horta, Portugal from the US. There were no issues at immigration or customs, they didn't even look at my stack of medical records. I took all of the current medical records and both dogs to a vet in Horta and got Pet Passports. We continued through the Azores, Portugal, Spain, France, Morocco, Greece, Italy, and Montenegro with no issues or fees whatsoever. The EU is very pet-friendly, especially Italy. We are just loving that aspect of cruising here."

The Atlantic Hurricane Season started this month and is predicted to be normal, or near to normal, with met services suggesting up to 20 named tropical storms and 8-14 hurricanes will occur in the North Atlantic before the end of November 2023. For the first time since 1968, the Atlantic has seen two named storms form in June simultaneously, tropical storms Bret and Cindy.

Storm Oscar at the start of June, wreaked havoc in the North Atlantic Islands. With record rainfall in Madeira it resulted in the closure of Funchal Marina due to a build up of rocks, silt and debris blocking the entrance.

Moving over towards the Iberian Peninsula and the international press have taken an interest in the Orca vs sailing yachts phenomena that has been on-going for the last few years. The same behaviour has been encountered by a yacht as far north as the Shetland Islands in the North Sea this month and scientists are now publishing several theories as to what is causing this repetitive behaviour. Good underwater footage of orcas interacting with two rudders was filmed by a Volvo Ocean Race crew who encountered the pod off Gibraltar this month.

Still on the same coast, Sines (a useful Portuguese haven halfway between Lisbon and Cape St. Vincent) has closed its marina to visiting yachts due to safety concerns raised on a survey this spring. Anchoring there too is prohibited.

If Brazil is in your sights, then why not consider the BRally Amazon, set to kick off on 28 October from Marajó Island at the mouth of the Amazon River. The event is a 500-mile fleet cruise up the Amazon River, over the course of 22 days. For the first time this year there is no entry fee and the event will be run like a cruise in company, only sharing any fleet costs. Registration is open until 31 July and there is space for up to 30 yachts. Find out more at Mark and Christine Templeman report on the BRally Amazon 2021.


Ana and John of Sailing the Dream cruised in the Mediterranean with their Golden Retriever Ella from 2017 until the end of 2022 (Ella has her own blog "it's a dog's life" on the website). They say "no one cares about your dog or all the paperwork except for Gibraltar and Malta" (note: they did not visit Libya, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus or Bosnia).

"After the first year of calling and trying to contact the relevant authorities that just don't want to know you have a pet, we gave up. If they ask, we have the paperwork available. One time in Montenegro the customs lady commented we had a dog on board and if we had done the veterinary inspection. I said no and gave her all the papers and asked if she could kindly help me call them, because I could not get them on the phone. She looked at all the papers without much attention and wished us a good trip!"

The Corinth Canal in Greece re-opened on June 1st until the end of September with a new online booking and payment portal. While this is the most expensive canal transit in the world for the short time it takes, it does save the long voyage around the Peloponnese.

The procedure to pass through the Khalkis bridge, which connects Euboea (Evia) Island to mainland Greece, appears to have been simplified with feedback from SY Carcharias (Lagoon 46) that passed south to north this month. See their feedback in comments.

Following a number of incidents in the last three months, Michalis Roditis (of Roditis Yachting Agency, Rhodes) has some words of advice for anyone currently in Greece with a Delaware USA or UK registered vessel, who may be planning a change of flag.

While costs are rising in Turkey, cruisers report that it's only expensive if you stay in marinas. Many cruisers manage very well with anchoring (which is free) or using restaurant docks, plus, unlike Greece, there's no TEPAI to pay. Fuel is also reported to be much cheaper than in Greece.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of

Related Articles

Cruisers against garbage
Jean-Marc and Karen from SY Blowing Bubbles report on how they organised an 'underwater' clean up World Clean Up Day (celebrated on the third Saturday in September bringing together people worldwide to clean up and care for their communities) did not pass unnoticed by the cruising community in Curaçao. Posted on 6 Nov
New to cruising
Alison Gieschen shares what she has learnt When you first move on board your boat for some offshore long-distance cruising, it can be tempting to fill every cabinet, every bilge, every empty pocket of space with stuff you think you cannot live without. Posted on 5 Nov
Caribbean Sea, Atlantic and Mediterranean outlook
Talk to cruisers when you arrive in a new anchorage Pretty much every island in the Caribbean has its own cruisers' Facebook page which have replaced, in many ports, the once popular VHF Cruisers Nets. Posted on 2 Nov
Red, Caribbean, Atlantic, Mediterranean outlook
Canadians are no longer able to get a visa on arrival, nor an E-Visa for Egypt Canadians are no longer able to get a visa on arrival, nor an E-Visa for Egypt. A visa in advance must be acquired from an embassy or consulate in a neighbouring country. Posted on 4 Oct
Caribbean, Atlantic, Mediterranean ocean outlook
It seems Port Said in Egypt is still best-avoided It seems Port Said, in Egypt (north of the Suez Canal), is still best-avoided as reports come in from cruisers who have cleared into Egypt there. Posted on 1 Sep
Off the beaten path
Tuvalu is a tiny Pacific nation not like any other South Pacific island Penrhyn is the northern-most of the Cook Islands and probably the most remote and difficult to access, but is well worth the effort according to Canadian cruisers Ian Hay and Ann Montgomery of SV Afrikii, who visited there in May 2023. Posted on 12 Aug
Ocean Outlook - Atlantic
Introductory Guide to the ICW and Great Loop Although Noonsite predominantly covers only coastal ports, we realised some time ago that there is little information out there regarding the Intracoastal Waterway and Great Loop specifically for international visitors to the USA. Posted on 11 Aug
Ocean Outlook - Caribbean Sea
Yacht break ins and burglaries continue to be reported in the Caribbean Significant levels of Saharan dust moved across the northern areas of the Lesser Antilles this month and air quality alerts were issued for some islands. Posted on 9 Aug
Ocean Outlook - Red Sea
The offshore island of Socotra continues to offer a warm welcome While the mainland of Yemen remains a very inhospitable place for cruising sailors, the offshore island of Socotra continues to offer a warm welcome for those planning a passage to or from the Red Sea. Posted on 8 Aug
Ocean Outlook - Mediterranean
An urgent situation developing in Kos and soon all over Greece, in reference to Polish Flag Yachts Roditis Yachting Agency in Greece report on an urgent situation that is developing in Kos and soon all over Greece, in reference to Polish Flag Yachts. Posted on 8 Aug
Crewsaver 2021 Safetyline FOOTERMarine Products Direct 2023 - Calypso FOOTEROcean Safety 2023 - New Identity - FOOTER