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Ocean outlook: Atlantic, Caribbean, Mediterranean and Red Sea

by Noonsite 3 Dec 2023 15:43 UTC
Atlantic Ocean © Noonsite


Over 200 yachts have registered with OSASA for entry into South Africa already this season. World ARC recently arrived in Richards Bay and the Grand Large World Yachting Odyssey is due soon. One of OSASA's key functions is liaise with government to promote the cruising industry in South Africa. Vital to this is the gathering of information about the economic contribution of cruisers to the local tourism and maritime sectors. When departing South Africa, you can make a huge difference by completing the OSASA Exit Survey.

If departing South Africa soon for St. Helena, remember that December to March is Whale Shark season there. The Port Control in St. Helena now have a new central email address to which all correspondence should be addressed: .

Namibia yachting season begins in December. Yachts should note that pre-notification to authorities is requested, and while there are no clearance fees, there are after hour fees, so time your arrival carefully.

This year Brazil is proving a popular destination for many cruisers after leaving South Africa. There are no entry fees (unless arriving out of hours) and the lengthy bureaucratic procedures are starting to be eased with a new Nautical SAC opening in Salvador, offering a one-stop-shop for simpler and quicker clearance.

Yachts arriving in Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands - either in preparation for an Atlantic Crossing or just to cruise the islands - are reminded to take extra care when anchoring due to the presence of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) Submarine Cable. Also be aware that a record number of migrants have made the treacherous boat journey from Senegal in West Africa to the Canary Islands this year, according to reports from regional authorities.

Caribbean Sea:

The Caribbean influx is about to begin with yachts descending from North America and approaching from Europe. Over 250 boats are crossing the Atlantic with ARC rallies right now. The first boats in the ARC+ fleet are arriving in Grenada as this newsletter goes out and the first ARC boats should make landfall in Saint Lucia in the first week of December. All ARC news can be found here. The OCC are tracking member boats that are southbound to the Caribbean, many of which are taking part in the Salty Dawg Rally.

Customs and Immigration are now on site at Christophe Harbour Marina, St. Kitts, for the yachting season, open 7 days a week.

There has been a procedural change with Customs in Antigua. While visitors can continue to use eSeaClear for Customs clearance prior to arrival (which has been used successfully for the last 12 years), they can also use the alternative SailClear if they prefer (this system is used by the majority of Caribbean countries). At the end of the season, typically May/June, Antigua Customs will make an assessment as to which system works best for them.


Grupo de trabajo Orca Atlántica [GTOA] have a database with more than 1000 orca sightings around the Iberian peninsula since 2020. They were the first organisation to start collecting data about orcas interacting with yachts off this coastline and continue with their efforts. This month they have been monitoring several groups of orcas that are entering the Strait of Gibraltar from the west and southwest, parallel to the African coast and have determined navigation areas that are low risk for sailboats transiting through the Straits. The GT ORCAS mobile app is available to receive or transfer information and you can also send reports to the Cruising Association.

The Gironde Estuary, a majestic waterway in southwest France, holds both challenges and marvels for sailors. In the first of this two-part series, Imray Commissioning Editor William Thomson shares how he found his way with Imray through this gateway to the iconic Canal du Deux Mers, that connects the Atlantic with the Mediterranean.

Red Sea

With Red Sea transit season kicking off next month and running until April, Wade Alarie (admin for the Red Sea Passage FB group) has sent Noonsite an update on the latest situation for those making the passage. The current conflict in the Israel/Palestine area, continuing unrest in Sudan and the ever-persistent conflict in Yemen is making cruisers cautious and numbers making the passage currently are lower than previous years.

In Egypt, there has been significant investment made to the marina at Ismailia (mid-way in the Suez Canal), making it an excellent place to stopover and visit Egypt if you decide you want to face the clearing-in fees.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of

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