This post is not entirely based on fact, part of it is based on my opinion based on preconceived notions and incomplete research. More simply:
“We want to go to the Caribbean not Mexico.“
The rest is justification as to why we feel this way…
It seems that North American’s who set sail have, in general, two options on where they are going to start cruising, the west coast of Mexico and the Caribbean. Both of these have strong cruising communities, regular rallies, a plethora of places to explore and great people to meet. They also both have hurricane seasons that many choose to avoid by sailing north or south. On the west they generally sail north to the Sea of Cortez in between the Baja Peninsula and the mainland, where as the Caribbean cruising community either sails to the US or Trinidad. In the Caribbean, there are Hurricane Holes, places whose geography provide a good place to ride out a hurricane. My limited research indicates that Mexico has the hotter summer, where days above 30C with no wind are not uncommon, the wind in the Caribbean generally never ceases completely. Socially, the Caribbean has more cruising boats and the community that they bring, wanted or otherwise. In Mexico, it seems that it is easier to escape and find your own place. Culturally Mexico is constant whereas a day sail in the Caribbean can bring to an entire new country with a different language, people and culture.
This cultural variability is one of the most attractive reasons to choose the Caribbean for us. Why the Bahamas, then? The Bahamas have several reasons going for them – the biggest is that many seasoned cruisers say one of their favorite places to cruise are the Bahamas. In addition, they are an easy place to learn to sail as the weather is generally pretty good. Close proximity to the US, only a 90 minute high speed ferry ride away, a large number of ports with good services and very little over night sailing needed to get from one place to another. The opportunity to find a place where you can be the only boat around for miles is never very far away when you are in the Bahamas. If this trip turns into something longer than a one year jaunt, I think the Caribbean offers more options in terms of where to go with 3 children under 9.
Our plan is to start slow, learn the boat, learn the life and figure the rest out from there.