The Caribbean Beckons

Stravaig'n the Blue
Wed 6 Jan 2021 17:27
Position: 28:57.780 N 013:32.363 W  (Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife)

After a little under three months on Lanzarote we will be on the move again on Saturday (9th January) bound for Grenada, the southernmost of the Caribbean’s Windward Islands. The shortest route is 2884 miles. At an average speed of 6.5 knots (7.5 mph), which is the average speed we almost always seem to achieve, the passage will take 19 days so we should be there by the end of January.

Our plan is spend February to April working our way north along those islands that are open to visiting yachts before heading back to the UK in May, well before the hurricane season which starts officially on June 1st.

As always the weather has been the major factor in deciding when to depart. The prevailing winds between here and the Caribbean are the trade winds which blow east to west. However, there’s a North Atlantic low pressure system (L998 in the screen shot), tracking much further south than usual, heading our way. This is bringing strong south westerlies (and a lot of rain) for much of the rest of this week with 35-40 knot gusts on Friday. We are in Arrecife just to the left of the 37kt marker.

This low is over Gibraltar by Friday midnight and over the Balearics by Saturday midday which means strong but sailable northerly winds in the Canaries on Saturday, turning increasingly north east from Monday. Not perfect but certainly good enough.

With our departure date finally being decided last Monday, we were able to schedule in the last of the pre-departure activities. 

Yesterday, a local clinic sent an ambulance to the marina car park where we had swabs taken for Covid-19 PCR tests. Service with a smile behind a full face mask. It came at a price but it did save us a lot of time and the cost of hiring a car. The swabs are now on their way via Las Palmas on Gran Canaria to Madrid and we have been told to expect the results on Friday.

Grenada’s current entry conditions require a negative PCR test result 72 hours prior to embarkation. Our PCR results will be meaningless by the time we arrive but we will have complied and, more importantly, we will be putting to sea with a high degree of confidence that we won’t fall sick due to the coronavirus en route.  On arrival in Grenada our time at sea will be taken into account and we will be able to have an arrival PCR test immediately rather than having to wait in the isolation anchorage for the four days that short-haul crews have to wait before being tested.

We have hired a car for tomorrow and Friday. Tomorrow is the big fresh food shopping day and Friday morning we have an appointment with the port’s Policía Nacional to have our passports and exit clearance paperwork stamped. Not strictly necessary when leaving Spain but essential for our arrival in Grenada.