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Cruising West from Trinidad: Cruisers give their advice

By Anne Dunlop — last modified Mar 29, 2017 03:11 PM
In the wake of November's violent attack on a cruising yacht off the coast of Venezuela's Paria Peninsula (on passage from Trinidad to Puerto La Cruz), long-term Carribean cruiser Anne Dunlop gives her advice on the safest route West.

Published: 2013-11-22 00:00:00
Topics: Caribbean Sea
Countries: Grenada , Trinidad & Tobago , Venezuela

Cruising West from Trinidad: Cruisers give their advice

"Freya" sailing between Trinidad and Grenada in 2008: © Anne Dunlop

Sailing straight west along the coast of the Paria Peninsula from Trinidad is not a safe option.

The general consensus of opinion amongst cruisers is that in order to go west from Trinidad, you need either to sail north to Grenada in the first instance, or sail as far north as sensible (probably between 50 and 60 miles), before finally heading west for the ABC's or Columbia.  There are parts of Venezuela that are probably safe, and you do get cruisers telling of wonderful anchorages and fabulous people. Personally, I'll stay safe and stay away.

My main interest in all of this is to get out to the general public and the other yachties that the area between Trinidad and Grenada is a comparitively safe area, however as in all sea going areas, cruisers must be vigilant and exercise caution.  Cruisers must take note of the fact when approaching the area round the gas rigs, that there are gas rig safety boats who will chase away all approaching boats they deem to be too close to the rigs.  The gas rig companies and workers themselves are anxious that there are no problems in the area for them to worry about.

There is also a very active Trinidad Coast Guard who patrol the Trinidad and Tobago areas, and there is Trinidad North Post Radio whom you can contact on the VHF all the way between Trinidad and Grenada.

Float plans have been put in place by various bodies in Trinidad and Grenada and yachties are encouraged to fill out a float plan before they leave either island.  This actually works very well, but the yachties have to remember to cancel their float plan once they reach their destination! Float plans should be filed with either Grenada or Trinidad Coast Guard. Instructions on how to do that can be found in the file pages on the Grenada or Trinidad Facebook Group pages and you don't have to be a member of the Groups to look at the files.  This information can also be obtained from the YSATT Office in Trinidad or from MAYAG in Grenada (see noonsite report on how to do this here).

My husband and I have been sailing the area between Grenada and Trinidad for 10 years now, and (fingers crossed) have never experienced any problems.  Let's hope this continues!

Anne Dunlop
"Freya of Clyde" presently in Chaguaramas, Trinidad

For the news report, first person account of the pirate attack off the Paria Peninsula go to Venezuela Pirate Attack: First Person report from Victims SY Explorer.

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