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TOPIC: SoCal to the Caribbean

SoCal to the Caribbean 12 Sep 2017 05:15 #26

  • Jim Gandee
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We're looking at a route from the canal to Cartagena, along the north coast of S America, Grenada and up through the island chain to Fl.

How are you planning to obtain weather info? Cell phone?

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Jim Gandee
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SoCal to the Caribbean 12 Sep 2017 13:37 #27

  • kev_rm
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Jim Gandee wrote: We're looking at a route from the canal to Cartagena, along the north coast of S America, Grenada and up through the island chain to Fl.

How are you planning to obtain weather info? Cell phone?


Cool!

I have not made a decision yet wether or not to get a radio for long distance weather data.. Given range I am thinking I won't be more than a day from a cell phone tower normally.

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SoCal to the Caribbean 17 Sep 2017 03:26 #28

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Just met a guy on the dock today in Seward Alaska

He has taken his Meridian 490 as far as Cabo.

It isn't through the canal, but it is a VERY long way from Seward Alaska.

3 years and counting. Don't want to be old, but can't wait.

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KEVIN SANDERS
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SoCal to the Caribbean 25 Sep 2017 22:11 #29

  • Alan Teed
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Medical needs and prep. Shots? Yes Yes and Yes. Get an appointment with your Dr(s), share your plans and request multi-month prescriptions of any routine drugs as well as some antibiotics and pain meds for unexpected issues. You want enough drugs to mitigate serious pain (kidney stone/appendicitis/arm-break type pain) for a minimum of 3 days. West Marine sells a comprehensive general Med Kit for extended cruising with sutures etc. Get one. US Gov websites provide details on recommended shots for each country you will be visiting.

How to clear customs in countries we plan to stop at, pass or decide to put into? Distance offshore? Clearing customs is easier almost everywhere than coming into the US so dont worry. Noonsite.com has specific country info, generally speaking you arrive at a designated port that you have checked it has customs representation than seek out the customs officials. With imminent changes to US immigration procedures from Venezuela you can anticipate reciprocal hassles there. I am not aware of any country other than the US that requires notification prior to arriving in a foreign port - however Noonsite will have country specific info. If passing by but not planning to clear-in to a particular country stay outside their territorial waters.(usually but not always 12 NM). If fishing be aware that Exclusive Economic Zone (200 NM) defines which country's fishing laws will apply which might apply to you (i am not a fisherman so havent paid too much attention to that aspect).

Courtesy flags: You will need courtesy flags for each country as well as a Q flag (Plain yellow) to fly when you enter another country's territorial waters and until clearing their customs,upon clearing customs you replace the Q flag with that country's courtesy flag. I have been stopped and boarded at sea for not flying one. Be aware that flags are taken much more seriously in many countries than in the US. A courtesy flag is flown from the Starboard side of a vessel ONLY as is a Q flag. Any crew nationality flags or yacht club etc flags must ONLY be flown from the port side of a vessel (or bows).. Boat's registration nationality flag is flown at stern. Generally you can buy the nation's courtesy flag on arrival however you will need to have a Q flag before you depart USA.

Weapons? No way no how. You will have 10-15 years to regret your decision if you make this mistake. If you take precautions and avoid troublesome areas it is very unlikely that you will need a gun and if you do need one, you will certainly be outgunned by your potential attackers. So unless you think you can successfully hide rocket launchers and automatic weapons on your boat through a rigorous search - and if called upon - operate them effectively, just don't.

Charting? Whatever brand is compatible with your chartplotter.

Weather/sea info and forecast? I like to get data from several different sources. You can call up GRIB files on pressure/wind/waves on your SSB or Sat phone with a suitable modem. Longer range forecasts when in internet range and other internet Wx info on sites such as Weatherguru and Ventusky. There are also a number of weather routing services that you can sign up with for longer passages.

Com- VHF, SSB, Sat phone, other? VHF of course. SSB is very useful for GRIB Wx reports as well as cruiser chat groups in each cruising destination. Also as a back up to Sat phone for Wx/Email in case of Sat phone malfunction (happened to us crossing the atlantic).

Pirates? Get local info for each area you are cruising. Sail cruising sites are your best resource here such as noonsite.com. Staying far away from coasts and no lights showing (nav or interior) in problematic areas is sensible. The IMB piracy website provides maps, reports, advice to mainers etc at this address: www.icc-ccs.org/index.php/piracy-reporti...ntre/live-piracy-map

There's so much to plan and prepare for. The above is just a start but hopefully will generate conversation and discussion. Good luck with your planning!! ~~Alan.
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Alan Teed
MOONDANCE
'94 4788
Gig Harbor, WA
Previously:
2006 Hylas 49' blowboat
Bayliner 2855
1977 Cal 34' blowboat
1981 Hunter 33' blowboat
Experience: Sail 50 years, Motor 15 years. 2 Transats, 1 Baltimore-Virgin Islands, 6 Months cruising Caribbean, 3.5 years cruising Med.
Last Edit: by Alan Teed.

SoCal to the Caribbean 25 Sep 2017 22:21 #30

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Personally I would not rely on cell phone for Wx info. One particular danger is that you get holed up somewhere hiding from weather and there is no cell reception at that location. Bear in mind that cell grids are not comprehensive along coastal areas in particular. So you are holed up waiting for better weather and a good forecast but with only a cell phone you have no way to receive the weather you need. At a minimum take a portable sat phone and cables to download Wx files to your laptop. Sat phones are fairly cheap to rent. Just ship it back when finished. There is a place in Seattle that I have used for this.
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Alan Teed
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Gig Harbor, WA
Previously:
2006 Hylas 49' blowboat
Bayliner 2855
1977 Cal 34' blowboat
1981 Hunter 33' blowboat
Experience: Sail 50 years, Motor 15 years. 2 Transats, 1 Baltimore-Virgin Islands, 6 Months cruising Caribbean, 3.5 years cruising Med.

SoCal to the Caribbean 26 Sep 2017 02:49 #31

  • kev_rm
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Alan Teed wrote: Personally I would not rely on cell phone for Wx info. One particular danger is that you get holed up somewhere hiding from weather and there is no cell reception at that location. Bear in mind that cell grids are not comprehensive along coastal areas in particular. So you are holed up waiting for better weather and a good forecast but with only a cell phone you have no way to receive the weather you need. At a minimum take a portable sat phone and cables to download Wx files to your laptop. Sat phones are fairly cheap to rent. Just ship it back when finished. There is a place in Seattle that I have used for this.


I did add an inreach to my tool box, so now in order to be away from a weather forecast I would need to:
  • Not be near a cell tower
  • Not be near any town
  • Not be near a VHF net or WX station
  • Unable to convince a friend to summarize and text me a marine forecast.

grib via sat or HF seems very very unlikely to be necessary.

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SoCal to the Caribbean 27 Sep 2017 01:13 #32

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I respectfully disagree, but wish you luck. I have practical experience of 1/ poor cell reception along coastal areas & 2/ poor or non-existent Wx reporting outside the US on VHF. 3/ With no cell reception you will not be able to send/receive text. As a prudent mariner I always want to have two reliable means of communicating, I think you will likely have zero at least some of the time. Do not overestimate the range of cell communications. I just returned from the UK a small densely populated country, where I walked the Coastal Trail in Cornwall. I was on land the entire time and never more than 5 miles from a village. I estimate that I was out of cell range about 80% of the time despite this. There was no cell reception even in some of the villages I came across. If I had been coasting on a boat I would likely have had worse cell coverage than just described. This is in a 1st world country among wealthy communities with properties selling for no less than $750k. I suggest you spend some time on cruiser websites and gather additional input.

Here is a scenario to dwell upon. You are at sea; your forecast before you left port 8 hours ago now seems inaccurate as conditions are deteriorating which was unexpected; You are taking increasing seas and the boat is not handling them well. Winds are picking up. You are (obviously) out of cell phone range. Do you continue on into apparently deteriorating conditions or do you turn back? The ability to access Wx ahead of you and behind you can help you make the right decision.
. ~A.
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Alan Teed
MOONDANCE
'94 4788
Gig Harbor, WA
Previously:
2006 Hylas 49' blowboat
Bayliner 2855
1977 Cal 34' blowboat
1981 Hunter 33' blowboat
Experience: Sail 50 years, Motor 15 years. 2 Transats, 1 Baltimore-Virgin Islands, 6 Months cruising Caribbean, 3.5 years cruising Med.
Last Edit: by Alan Teed.

SoCal to the Caribbean 27 Sep 2017 03:44 #33

  • Jim Gandee
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Alan,

Thank you for sharing your valuable experience! I too feel that access to current and forecasted Wx info is vital to the safety of a long distance voyage. I do not wish to rely solely on a cell phone or any one device for that info.

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Jim Gandee
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SoCal to the Caribbean 27 Sep 2017 21:27 #34

  • CptCrunchie
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I have used Weather Fax over HF, and while technology has crept up, SSB is still preferred by many cruisers worldwide for receiving GRIB files and sending/receiving email.

www.yachtingworld.com/features/offshore-weather-planning-65545

Awesome post, Allan! Well explained.
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"B on D C", is a 1989 2459 Trophy Offshore HT, OMC 5.7L, Cobra OD, Yamaha 15hp kicker. Lots of toys! I'm no mechanic, just a blue water sailer and woodworker who loves deep sea fishing.
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SoCal to the Caribbean 27 Sep 2017 21:58 #35

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If you really want data and phone anywhere in the world get a KVH satellite system.

Having the entire internet at your fingertips so tat you can get weather and port information is invaluable.

Having a real phone so you can at least call someone is invaluable.
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SoCal to the Caribbean 27 Sep 2017 22:24 #36

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aluxury1 wrote: You will miss the Superbowl.......


Not a loss there....

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Boatless at this time

A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including their life."

SoCal to the Caribbean 27 Sep 2017 22:34 #37

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kev_rm wrote:
I did add an inreach to my tool box,.


If this is the Delorme or Garmin (Garmin bought Delorme) inReach then they us the Iridium satellite system. (if it is the Inreach you can link it to the Earthmate app and use the InReach to send texts anywhere)
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Boatless at this time

A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including their life."

SoCal to the Caribbean 28 Sep 2017 00:57 #38

  • Alan Teed
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Thanks Jim, and others. I guess I did not understand what "an inreach to my toolbox" meant :) :)

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Alan Teed
MOONDANCE
'94 4788
Gig Harbor, WA
Previously:
2006 Hylas 49' blowboat
Bayliner 2855
1977 Cal 34' blowboat
1981 Hunter 33' blowboat
Experience: Sail 50 years, Motor 15 years. 2 Transats, 1 Baltimore-Virgin Islands, 6 Months cruising Caribbean, 3.5 years cruising Med.
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