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Old 04-14-2021, 08:12 AM   #1
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I'm considering bringing a new boat from California back home to Maryland on her own bottom through the Canal. Are countries open for fuel during Covid? I wasn't sure if there were restrictions in certain countries to know about when voyage planning.

What are some of the best stops along the route for quick fuel and provisioning?

Thank you!
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Old 04-14-2021, 08:30 AM   #2
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Crusty Chief is enroute west coast to east coast. Reach out to him, follow his blog https://mvpairadice.blogspot.com/, follow his thread https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...uth-45406.html.
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Originally Posted by Chris Upham View Post
I'm considering bringing a new boat from California back home to Maryland on her own bottom through the Canal. Are countries open for fuel during Covid? I wasn't sure if there were restrictions in certain countries to know about when voyage planning.

What are some of the best stops along the route for quick fuel and provisioning?

Thank you!
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:01 AM   #3
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Route I'm intending to take late this year or early next year. Once you get through the Canal, options get a bit more difficult to balance weather. Plus there are some political issues in Venezuela and Nicaragua/Honduras that would cause me to give the areas a wide berth.

Enjoy Peter

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Old 04-14-2021, 11:29 AM   #4
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Crusty Chief is enroute west coast to east coast. Reach out to him, follow his blog https://mvpairadice.blogspot.com/, follow his thread https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...uth-45406.html.
@Portage Bay, Thank you for the tip on @Crusty Chief and Pairadice!
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Old 04-14-2021, 11:31 AM   #5
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I'm considering bringing a new boat from California back home to Maryland on her own bottom through the Canal. Are countries open for fuel during Covid? I wasn't sure if there were restrictions in certain countries to know about when voyage planning.

In case you haven't considered it, it's also possible to ship from Ensenada to Florida (FLL, West Palm) or even further north if you want to compare costs. Probbaly not as much fun, though.

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Old 04-14-2021, 11:33 AM   #6
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Route I'm intending to take late this year or early next year. Once you get through the Canal, options get a bit more difficult to balance weather. Plus there are some political issues in Venezuela and Nicaragua/Honduras that would cause me to give the areas a wide berth.

Enjoy Peter

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Thank you Peter! What did you use to make that nice chart showing the distances?

I've been keeping Venezuela and Nicaragua in mind for those reasons...what about Roatan Honduras? Do they get the political issues out there on the island? We pulled in their on our Coast Guard Cutter back about 20 years ago.
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Old 04-14-2021, 11:35 AM   #7
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In case you haven't considered it, it's also possible to ship from Ensenada to Florida (FLL, West Palm) or even further north if you want to compare costs. Probbaly not as much fun, though.

-Chris
Thanks Chris! I know that's what most folks do...but, you're right that it's not as much fun as making the trip, which is what I'd like to do! Trip of a lifetime for the kiddos!
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Old 04-14-2021, 11:52 AM   #8
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Thank you Peter! What did you use to make that nice chart showing the distances?

I've been keeping Venezuela and Nicaragua in mind for those reasons...what about Roatan Honduras? Do they get the political issues out there on the island? We pulled in their on our Coast Guard Cutter back about 20 years ago.
It was a manual effort. I found the map online and cropped to show the area I wanted. I then calculated the distances on Navionics which took a while, but I have the routes in my Navionics.

The actual picture is just a simple PowerPoint converted to a JPG. My goal was to create a nice graphic for my wife to coax into joining for the run. We've done 500+ nm runs, but she's not keen. My thinking is that if I added some cool stops along the way, I'd have a better chance of her company. I think it's working......

Noonsite has some decent links on where the hot-spots are for crime and piracy. The western Caribbean has quieted down a bit, but I'd still be careful. Roatan, the Bay Islands, and Rio Dulce are reportedly okay (petty theft notwithstanding). Problem is getting there from Panama Canal. A few years ago, piracy from Nicaragua was reported as out as close to San Andres/Providencia.

The other issue is prevailing weather. The NE tip of Nicaragua that juts out is "Gracios del Dios" or something like that -"Thank you God!" In the spring, prevailing weather can shift to the NE which pushes into the Nicaraguan coastline and can be difficult to make even San Andres direct from the Canal, which is why I am showing options as far east as Baranquilla Colombia (which is supposed to be a very nice colonial city).

Bottom line is my thinking is the last 1500 nms from Canal may be a bit tricky and will depend a lot on what time of year (Pilot Charts) and the actual weather patterns.

Noonsite would have the best information on fuel availability. Baja is a bit of a crap-shot for fuel. I forget the name of the local who provides diesel in Mag Bay - it's expensive ($10/gal). If you have at least 1000 nm range, you can make it from Ensenada to PV. After that, you will have plenty of options.

I was a delivery skipper for 5-years starting in the late 1990s. I've been through these areas, but always at delivery speed so didn't stop along the way. I am really looking forward to smelling the roses.

Peter
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Old 04-14-2021, 02:34 PM   #9
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It was a manual effort. I found the map online and cropped to show the area I wanted. I then calculated the distances on Navionics which took a while, but I have the routes in my Navionics.

The actual picture is just a simple PowerPoint converted to a JPG. My goal was to create a nice graphic for my wife to coax into joining for the run. We've done 500+ nm runs, but she's not keen. My thinking is that if I added some cool stops along the way, I'd have a better chance of her company. I think it's working......

Noonsite has some decent links on where the hot-spots are for crime and piracy. The western Caribbean has quieted down a bit, but I'd still be careful. Roatan, the Bay Islands, and Rio Dulce are reportedly okay (petty theft notwithstanding). Problem is getting there from Panama Canal. A few years ago, piracy from Nicaragua was reported as out as close to San Andres/Providencia.

The other issue is prevailing weather. The NE tip of Nicaragua that juts out is "Gracios del Dios" or something like that -"Thank you God!" In the spring, prevailing weather can shift to the NE which pushes into the Nicaraguan coastline and can be difficult to make even San Andres direct from the Canal, which is why I am showing options as far east as Baranquilla Colombia (which is supposed to be a very nice colonial city).

Bottom line is my thinking is the last 1500 nms from Canal may be a bit tricky and will depend a lot on what time of year (Pilot Charts) and the actual weather patterns.

Noonsite would have the best information on fuel availability. Baja is a bit of a crap-shot for fuel. I forget the name of the local who provides diesel in Mag Bay - it's expensive ($10/gal). If you have at least 1000 nm range, you can make it from Ensenada to PV. After that, you will have plenty of options.

I was a delivery skipper for 5-years starting in the late 1990s. I've been through these areas, but always at delivery speed so didn't stop along the way. I am really looking forward to smelling the roses.

Peter
Peter - I can appreciate trying to find creative ways of coaxing a significant other to participate! Love it! I'm not sure a creative graphic would do the trick for my wife! lol

Thanks for the tip about noonsite.com, which I've joined and was able to find the info about the status of countries and piracy.
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Old 04-15-2021, 07:05 AM   #10
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You sure you want to make this trip on your own hull? I wouldn’t want to bash all the way up the west coast, almost 4000 NM from Panama City to Ensenada MX. 1200 NM from Ft Lauderdale to the canal opening at Shelter Bay. Getting across the gulf would be a very lumpy ride. All that aside, the costs to enter most countries right now are very expensive, between Covid tests, additional Medical insurance and quarantine costs it adds up rather quickly. Most countries wont allow entrance just for fuel. Costa Rica, over a grand. El Salvador was almost $600. Panama almost $500 then entering Mexico is a very time consuming and about another $500. Fuel prices in Mexico $4-5 bucks a gal. South of Mexico, to Panama almost $4 bucks a gal. Panama City was $3.06 yesterday when I filled up.
Staying in a marina is very costly and a few countries require you to check in and out at marina’s, like Costa Rica. It averages around $2.50 a ft per night.
If you do this trip, I would also recommend joining the Panama Posse, that alone will save you a buttload in discounts.
Dont know what your distance between fuel stops is, ours is between 2-2.5K NM , but for the most part we top off the tanks every 1K miles. Getting any, and I mean any parts to repair the boat are very difficult in most countries. Getting stuck in one place for weeks waiting on parts is no fun, not to mention expensive.
If your boat is rather new to you, I highly recommend taking a few extended cruise’s on her prior to embarking on a trip like this. If your gonna rush this trip just to get the boat to the other side, you will miss some great cruising grounds. But the Covid issue has really curtailed sightseeing, many places, ( historical sites, ruins, museums, not to mention many local services) are or were closed on our trip south this year.
I would recommend looking into shipping your boat, just remember that the boat will be dropped off in Golfito Costa Rica, Ensenada MX or In British Canada. Your decision, but may actually be the cheaper way to move her.
If I can help you out in anyway, let me know.

Cheers, John
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Old 04-15-2021, 08:13 AM   #11
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You sure you want to make this trip on your own hull? I wouldn’t want to bash all the way up the west coast, almost 4000 NM from Panama City to Ensenada MX. 1200 NM from Ft Lauderdale to the canal opening at Shelter Bay. Getting across the gulf would be a very lumpy ride. All that aside, the costs to enter most countries right now are very expensive, between Covid tests, additional Medical insurance and quarantine costs it adds up rather quickly. Most countries wont allow entrance just for fuel. Costa Rica, over a grand. El Salvador was almost $600. Panama almost $500 then entering Mexico is a very time consuming and about another $500. Fuel prices in Mexico $4-5 bucks a gal. South of Mexico, to Panama almost $4 bucks a gal. Panama City was $3.06 yesterday when I filled up.
Staying in a marina is very costly and a few countries require you to check in and out at marina’s, like Costa Rica. It averages around $2.50 a ft per night.
If you do this trip, I would also recommend joining the Panama Posse, that alone will save you a buttload in discounts.
Dont know what your distance between fuel stops is, ours is between 2-2.5K NM , but for the most part we top off the tanks every 1K miles. Getting any, and I mean any parts to repair the boat are very difficult in most countries. Getting stuck in one place for weeks waiting on parts is no fun, not to mention expensive.
If your boat is rather new to you, I highly recommend taking a few extended cruise’s on her prior to embarking on a trip like this. If your gonna rush this trip just to get the boat to the other side, you will miss some great cruising grounds. But the Covid issue has really curtailed sightseeing, many places, ( historical sites, ruins, museums, not to mention many local services) are or were closed on our trip south this year.
I would recommend looking into shipping your boat, just remember that the boat will be dropped off in Golfito Costa Rica, Ensenada MX or In British Canada. Your decision, but may actually be the cheaper way to move her.
If I can help you out in anyway, let me know.

Cheers, John
That's super helpful! I appreciate the info and recent details John!
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Old 04-15-2021, 08:42 AM   #12
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I know of several people who have entered into Ensenada in the last few months with no additional hassle. Getting a TIP (temporary import permit - good for 10 years) takes a half day but isn't too expensive. My understanding is Costa Rica is also opening up. Having a vaccination card would likely help, but that's just a guess. A friend who lives there is scheduled for vaccine in 2 weeks.

A good place for very up to date info would be noonsite. Also, there is a small user's group https://groups.io/g/southbound-group/topics that has cruisers all down the coast. Recent threads on Barilles sounds like there's no issues there. Finally, I'd also try CruisersForum that has a broader base than TF

Bottom line, you didn't mention your boat or experience. And Crusty is down there now (or has been there recently). But I wouldn't be put off by the hurdles assuming you bought a boat that's fit for purpose.

FYI- this time last year I had a quote to ship my Willard 36 from Ensenada to Florida. $17k. Probably higher now.

Peter
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:19 AM   #13
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That's super helpful! I appreciate the info and recent details John!
Sorry, I got you confused with another thread on different forum. Your planning to go downhill as they say, only bad part is the bash across the gulf. And a few spots like T-Pec, Papagayo winds along Nicaragua and Costa Rica and Punta Mala in Panama that you will have to wait out for a weather window.
Forgot to mention, You will have to deal with hurricane areas and insurance restrictions. Speaking of insurance, plan on your insurance costs going through the roof. Ours has tripled, maybe a bit more and you will need a separate insurance policy to go through MX. You can get your MX Tip online prior to departing US waters, that saved a lot of time.
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:27 AM   #14
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I know of several people who have entered into Ensenada in the last few months with no additional hassle. Getting a TIP (temporary import permit - good for 10 years) takes a half day but isn't too expensive. My understanding is Costa Rica is also opening up. Having a vaccination card would likely help, but that's just a guess. A friend who lives there is scheduled for vaccine in 2 weeks.

A good place for very up to date info would be noonsite. Also, there is a small user's group https://groups.io/g/southbound-group/topics that has cruisers all down the coast. Recent threads on Barilles sounds like there's no issues there. Finally, I'd also try CruisersForum that has a broader base than TF

Bottom line, you didn't mention your boat or experience. And Crusty is down there now (or has been there recently). But I wouldn't be put off by the hurdles assuming you bought a boat that's fit for purpose.

FYI- this time last year I had a quote to ship my Willard 36 from Ensenada to Florida. $17k. Probably higher now.

Peter
Peter,

Thank you so much for the additional info! I'll check out the Southbound users group and I'd also registered on CruisersForum. I appreciate the info.

About myself, graduated from Coast Guard Academy and spent 12 years on the coast guard as a shipboard engineer in the Caribbean. My sport through college and the last 2+ decades has been offshore sailing on the east coast racing to Bermuda etc. I grew up in SoCal spending summers at Catalina Island before going to the east coast for the coast guard. I've done a transatlantic on the coast guard's tall ship Eagle.

I'm intending to purchase a boat within the next 6 months or so. Most recently was looking at a Jefferson 64.

$17k isn't bad at all to get a 36 from Ensenada to Florida! I've been expecting $30k-$60k for the kind of boat I'm looking at. I'm in the DC area and frankly haven't looked too seriously at the West Coast boats due to the shipping or delivery...but for the right boat, I'm now thinking about the trip.

I'd call up all my retired Coast Guard buddies who have been commanding ships and get a good crew together with a solid 3-4 qualified watch captains and another 3-4 mates so we can have a good 1:3 watch rotation for the delivery.

I'd bring my kids who are 9, 7 and 4 and who love this stuff.

I'm in the middle of my career, so I could take a few weeks off for an adventure of a lifetime with the kids. I'm not trying to take months or a year and take it all in on this trip.
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Old 04-15-2021, 10:47 AM   #15
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I'd call up all my retired Coast Guard buddies who have been commanding ships and get a good crew together with a solid 3-4 qualified watch captains and another 3-4 mates so we can have a good 1:3 watch rotation for the delivery.

I'd bring my kids who are 9, 7 and 4 and who love this stuff.

I'm in the middle of my career, so I could take a few weeks off for an adventure of a lifetime with the kids. I'm not trying to take months or a year and take it all in on this trip.

So that's 9-11 pax plus you. Big boat. And/or hot-bunking.

FWIW, I suspect "a few weeks" would be a bit optimistic... and/or no fun at all at delivery speed.

-Chris
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Old 04-15-2021, 11:45 AM   #16
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Chris - you certainly have great creds for the trip, and the boat is certainly capable. One of the last runs I did prior to hanging-up my delivery job was a Nordhavn 57 from Dana Point to Ft Lauderdale. W burned 3000g diesel with 500 engine hours over 4500 nms and made two 36-hour stops - Acapulco and Panama City/Canal Zone. Trip was 25 days total, so 200 nm per day at an average of 6 gph, so decent fuel burn.

Watch standing is a totally different topic - rotate the watches, keep the same schedule, etc. I prefer keeping the same schedule and found 4 watch standers, each standing two 3-hour watches per day. Gives a lot of down-time which also means there's almost always someone else at the helm hanging out. If you're new to powerboats, I think you'll find standing watch is a lot more relaxed and comfortable than a sailboat.

Sounds like it's a $50k trip whether you go on your own bottom or ship. I'll mess with your mind a bit: If you ship the boat, in a few years, you won't remember what was going on at work, but you will regret not taking the trip.

Peter
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Old 04-15-2021, 10:39 PM   #17
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We've shared our stops previously here and I'll find and link to it, but I see you looking for quick fuel stops so I have to ask are you doing this as a delivery trip or a pleasure trip? I'd strongly recommend doing it for pleasure. You'll pass through places you may never have another chance to see. Take advantage. Cruise every other day or so. Then it will be worth the time and money. If you're going to do it as a delivery and work yourself to death along the way, you'll end up exhausted and with only bad memories. The way to deliver is to drop it in Ensenada and pick it up in South Florida.
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