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A Yachtie’s View Of The Caribbean

Squalls, Choppy Seas & Cats…Welcome To The Caribbean!

Now in to our second season of cruising the Caribbean and I can honestly say that “Squall!” is the most-used word on Two Drifters!  It can be shouted at any time of the day or night, but the inference is still the same; move quickly as in the Caribbean, when the rain comes in the form of a squall (torrential rain and strong winds), it falls as pitter-pour, so the slower you are to shut the hatches and awnings, the wetter you’ll get!

2 Stormy Weather

The evening temperatures don’t fall much below the mid-20’s, so keeping a breeze coming into the cabin is imperative to a good night’s sleep.  But the reality of living on a boat means being up several times a night to close the overhead hatches as a squall comes through and then open them again once it’s stopped being wet.

And the rain will quite often descend on us during the day too in short, sharp blasts, so leaving even the smallest hatches open when we go ashore is a tad dicey.  As for trying to keep the outside seating and dining area dry, forget about it.  Some days our boat cushions spend more time piled up in the corner than they do being sat on!

Witness the Caribbean Sea from a hotel’s lovely white sand beach and it’s more than likely calm and serene.  Sail between the islands and the swell soon mounts up and the sea state goes from calm to moderate and rough in seconds.  This year, the Caribbean has been susceptible to stronger swells due to the intensity of the Nor’easter storms that have been plaguing the East Coast of the USA. Swimming and getting the dinghy to the beach in some bays can be choppy as a result of the swell and Molly has become quite adept at being a surf dog as the paddle-board catches a wave into the beach.

Living on a catamaran, we’ve previously been in the minority but not in the Caribbean where cats seem to gather in anchorages in a clowder, often outnumbering the mono-hulls.  But one thing’s for sure, you can always spot the cats at the front of the pack, in the shallows, clambering to be closest to the beach.

3 Cats
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And talking of anchorages, in travelling the Windward and the Leeward Islands, finding that secluded Caribbean bay on the lee side has eluded us and most nights we share our chosen anchorage with 20 boats; but in the most popular bays you could add on another hundred or so.  There are a few exceptions; Deep Bay in Antigua, which is popular during the day with party boats of cruise ship passengers but quiet in the evening and Brewers Bay in Tortola, which is off limits to the charter boats due to the reefs.

5 Boats

But on the sunny side, the sea is also the Caribbean Queen, and the jewel in the crown is the colour of the water.  In places, it’s the brightest, shimmering shade of topaz blue I’ve ever seen.  And, when you wake up at sunrise, before the world and the waves have had time to get going, you can enjoy the most breathtaking swim to the beach in gin-clear warm water. A perfect way to start the day!

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