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cruising destinations

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Hayden Watson

I am planning a charter to either the Florida Keys or the Caribbean in january of 2001. Can any one help with information about either of these destinations? At this time I am leaning towards the Keys due to differences in air fare and not having to deal with passports etc. Thanks for your help. Not looking farward to being frozen in soon! Hayden Watson S/V Papillon Spokane, WA

Dakota Jim Russell

Caribbean Warmer

Keys are great, but the farther you go south, the warmer it gets. The BVIs are a great place to charter as they are a ring of islands providing protection from the open ocean and plenty of bays with moorings thus avoiding having to anchor. On the other hand, Grenada - St. Lucia provide some great sailing, more challenging, but less traffic. My preference is the latter, but all have their advantages.

Mike Crosa

Florida Keys

Living on Biscayne Bay I am partial to the Florida Keys. Depending on how long you stay, you could start off in Miami and sail on the inside all the way to Key West and perhaps the Dry Tortugas. There are a lot of places to stop along the way and the water is just great! One caveat though as I know the Washington State waters run deep. Controlling depth in the Keys on the bay side is less than 5 feet so you want to charter a boat with as shallow a keel as you can get. A real good way to get a feel for the Keys is to get the guide book put out by Frank Papy. Its about 19 dollars. Although some of the photographs are outdated there is a wealth of information there. Any questions just let me know.


still deciding?

Are you still mulling this over? Considering what you want out of your vacation might promote one place over another. Having cruised both, I will say that you will have a great time doing either. To get to the Caribbean, you'll naturally be crossing the Gulf Stream. Having been caught in a stream squall, I can testify that it is not something generally found on someones's vacation "to do" list. Customs were a cinch. We went to a samller Cay first and found the official very unassuming. The cultural change is a plus. If scuba diving is on your list, but you have neither the equipment or certification (but the skills) this is the place to go. "Adventure" factor is higher The Fla. Keys are more accessible (culturally, monetarily, etc.). There is also great diving and snorkling here, of course, but if you want to have some fantastic suba time have your certification at the ready. You can get the away from it all feeling in the Keys, as was already suggested by sailing on past Key West to Boca Grande and the Tortugas. Please have fun for a land locked sailor this winter!--Rico.

Paul Akers


Sailing the BVI's is easy, peaceful, fun. Passports not required. Never been to Fla. so I can't compare.
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