I am in San Diego and am considering traveling to the east coast via the Panama Canal in my 1978 Ranger 33 at some point in the next 12 months. I have a few questions that I was hoping some more experienced navigators could answer.
1. Does anyone have a rough idea of how long a trip from San Diego to a U.S. Gilf Coast port might take, keeping in mind that I plan on avoiding Mexican waters once through the canal?
2. Can anyone recommend safe and convienient ports along the route?
3. Does anyone have any experience and advice on sailing internationally with pets? I have a service dog.
Thanks! I look forward to the input.
No idea anything about the west coast portion of the trip as we've not been through the canal. We have cruised the Western Caribbean from Cartagena, Columbia back to the SW Coast of Florida. The usual ports from Colon, are --
Colon to Providencia or San Andreas ... Columbia Islands off the coast of Nicaragua. Both are safe and enjoyable in their own right.
Then Providencia to the Vivorillos Cayes - tiny middle of nowhere cayes on the corner as you round the easternmost tip of Honduras. Good stop to get some sleep -- great snorkeling and fishing, no one but a few fishermen, alot of fish and birds there. No provisioning, no nothing. No real protection from a norther either.
Vivorillos Cayes to the Bay Islands -- Guanaja is the farthest east and the one most cruisers stop and check in at. Roatan is larger, up to you. Some boats then sail north from Guanaja to the Cayman Islands and up to Florida.
We preferred to sail from Utila in the Bay Islands to Placencia Belize and hang out in Belize for a bit.
From Placencia we hopped up to Caye Caulker, checked out at San Pedro, Ambegris Caye Belize, then double overnight to Isla Mujeres, MX. Not sure why you don't want to stop in Mexico, but we always enjoyed it. From Isla we sailed to SW FLorida - most boats stop in the Keys first.
Enjoy your adventure! Jan
s/v Winterlude ...
It took us about 18 months, not going in any particular hurry, and stopping in almost everywhere south of Baja. Good ports? hard question. Good for what? One that's outstanding for supplies might be frightful for wakes or swell. Some stand out only because of an affordable marina. But ones remembered most fondly, and secure in most weathers: Tenacatita, Acapulco, Huatulco (in the marina), and Puerto Madero, Mexico. Isla Meanguera, El Salvador; San Lorenzo, Honduras; Bahia Santa Elena and Golfito, Costa Rica; Pedregal, Bahia Honda, Panama City, Panama. In the Caribbean, Providencia, Vivorillos, Guanaja and Roatan; Isla Mujeres, Mexico, is a prime spot to wait for weather to go to any gulf port, and if they've dredged the lagoon around the corner of the peninsula yet that would be an extra low-key spot. If skipping Mexico is a must, I might go to the Caymans from Providencia, and so to the Gulf from there. But you should secure some cruising guides and decide for yourself where to visit, with your particular time frame in mind.