Hurricane Hanna, Ike – Effects on Yacht Charter In Eastern Caribbean
While Hurricane Gustaf, Hanna and Ike create headlines in The US, it seems that for now, The Virgin Islands and The Eastern Caribbean Islands (St. Martin to The Grenadines) have escaped any major storms. This has been the pattern in recent years, but it is imperative for anyone sailing there in September and October to buy a trip cancellation policy that specifically covers named storms. Ed Hamilton & Co offers their clients two choices of suitable packages.
Weather patterns have certainly changed over the years. When Ed started his bareboat charter company in the 70’s, he could honestly say the last hurricane to hit the British Virgin Islands was in 1927! In the late 70’s a hurricane did approach The BVI, but it conveniently downgraded to a tropical depression as it passed over, so the statement was still true! Incidentally, Ed remembers the eye passing right over Tortola. Suddenly the wind and rain ceased and the whole night sky was full of stars. Like a lunar eclipse, the eye wall then slowly covered the sky again and the rain and wind resumed – from the opposite direction.
All this changed in the 80’s, when some vicious storms hit The Virgins and later Grenada, but recent years have been kinder.
For people willing to put up with the possibility of trip interruption, there are certainly some bareboat bargains out there and the islands are delightfully uncrowded. Winds tend to be much lighter, so the seas are calmer and the water clearer – ideal for snorkelers and scuba diving. Most crewed boats haul out by August and the crews take well deserved vacations, but there are some who charter throughout the summer.
While storms are not impossible in November, this can be a great time to charter, before the winter snow birds arrive and the harbors start filling up
Thank you Dick for the photograph. It was taken from his house in Tortola a few days ago!