Zeezwaluw Post number 7
Well, well, finally the correspondent has been given the green light to break the news! The Zeezwaluw crew has changed their sailing plans for after the hurricane season again.
This time it took a while for them to decide what to do after the newsletter of Panteanius (their boat insurer) came to their attention.
The sailing plans going farther westward into the Caribbean Sea were almost finished. There were only a few lose ends left to sort out. First detail was, about what time to start from Curaçao to Colombia. Until November Colombia has the rainy season (meaning tropical downpours). This can be a problem with certain outings the crew wanted to undertake.
Secondly, they had no clue yet where to spend the next hurricane season after visiting the countries of Panama, San Blas Islands, Guatemala and Belize.
Those Central America countries have high temperatures (30+C), a very high humidity due to lots of rain (again a rainy season to undergo).
This is not a favourite climate to the crew’s liking. To do things like hiking or maintenance on Zeezwaluw is similar to working underneath a salty shower with your clothes on! Also, due to this high & salty humidity, inside Zeezwaluw all fabric, wood and other materials are prone to mould and decay.
The flipside is, going back to well-known Curaçao, which is hundreds of nautical miles beating into the easterly trade winds and current. So the final decision where to “hangout” during next hurricane season was not made yet. All hard decisions to make for live aboard sailors aren’t it?
Before the final decision could be made, the letter of Panteanius came in by email. The crew read it and could not believe what was happening! Due to last year’s hurricane disasters of Irma & Maria, the Hurricane area, rules and premium would change drastically. The area of the Caribbean Waters was extended. Now the coastlines from Trinidad to all the western countries were included and not safe areas anymore. Also the rules, where and how to take care of the boat (live aboard and on the hard standing) had become so specific and were almost impossible to follow during H-season.
Next bombshell was that the premium for Zeezwaluw would go up 80%! Of course the crew knows their beloved Zeezwaluw is an older lady (but very elegant) which influences the premium. But even after high deductible, to pay €500,=/month (almost 600 US$) is outrageous they thought. But without an insurance or only liability was also not an option to them. So, what to do then?
Further investigation of the world wide changed insurance areas, turned out to be enlightening. To return to European Waters (already from a bit north of the Caribbean Island Chain), the premium would only be 25% with even less deductible! Comparing their expenses in European to Caribbean area for daily groceries and necessities as the always needed boat spare parts, would save another big lump of money. Together it would save up to almost €700,= (US$ ±880) of their monthly budget.
This outcome makes the crew think if it would be still worthwhile to be in these expensive waters for at least 2 years or not. Although they looked forward exploring these westerly countries with their long history they also realised it was cheaper to take a plane from Europe to visit these countries. So it took not too long for the crew to make a new decision. Westward sailing was out of the picture. Eastward it will be.
New plan is; sailing Eastward in a stable weather window early November or end of October. See which island they make landfall due to wind and sea state conditions. At least they want to visit Martinique and Guadeloupe and from there north to the area of Saint Martin and Antigua.
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean from West to East would be preferable in April, May or June. As the crew discovers a good weather window to start with, they will sail to the Azores and spend the summer months hopping along those wonderful islands, they have visited 3 times already before.
At the end of July or early August Zeezwaluw will sail from the Azores to Portugal were they will brood over new wonderful plans for the following seasons. Where in Portugal they will stay (hibernating) for winter is at the moment still a question mark!
They look forward to the new sailing plan and spend the next month preparing Zeezwaluw in Bonaire for the next sailing season.
More news in Pdf form from 2018
New anchoring info of ABC-Islands, Curacao
The SPECIAL travel letter we promished; Bonaire, Washington Slagbaai National Park