It's now three months since many of the Caribbean islands were left devastated in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. As the annual Antigua Charter Yacht Show comes to an end and the participating yachts are now preparing for the winter season in the Caribbean, we take a look at the latest news from these popular cruising grounds.
It is obvious that to fully recover the Islands need superyachts to visit and, though some destruction will inhibit superyachts from visiting certain areas, the message is clear: the Caribbean is up and running and superyachts should come this winter season. Indeed, judging from the turnout of both superyachts and attendees at the recent charter show, Antigua’s vibrant yachting industry remains thriving and open for business. While Barbuda bore the brunt of Hurricane Irma, Antigua was spared serious damage. As I write two email blasts have come in - the first promoting St Kitts and Christophe Harbour with discounts for visiting yachts, and the second promoting Winter charters in the Caribbean from Y.CO with more than a dozen of their charter fleet available this season. Further north, St Martin, Anguilla and St Barths are in recovery mode and most services are open, including marinas, hotels, restaurants and bars. Many of those that are not yet open intend todo so for the season, but many of those that suffered serious damage will not be open until the summer, including the famed Eden Rock.
The Virgin Islands were significantly impacted and updates on their recovery are far and few between, though YachtCharterFleet reported yesterday that Yacht Haven Grande in the US Virgin Islands is back in operation. As mentioned in a previous post (After the Storm), many yachts that were previously planning to cruise the Virgin Islands to the north or the Leewards have chosen instead to venture south to the Windward island chain. Located entirely outside the hurricane belt, Grenada, St Lucia and the Grenadines were safe from the hurricanes of September, though they did suffer minor damage from the tropical storms that the hurricanes left in their wake.
Several yachts that are already out in the Caribbean are doing their bit to help rebuild the Islands, helping residents who have lost their homes and basic food, water and electricity. Yacht Aid Global and the Superyacht Aid coalition are working with several superyachts, including Sequel P and Katharine, to name but a few, to transport essential supplies in an effort to assist local communities get back on their feet. As a regular visitor of the Caribbean, the Owner of Sherakhan recently announced that he is helping by pledging to donate up to $20,000 per charter booking to causes working with islands affected by the Hurricanes.
For a realistic picture on how the Caribbean islands are recovering and up to date information for the yachting community head to the recently launched website Caribbean Yachting Update 2017 - 2018. Here you will find a realistic picture on everything from airports, marinas and port openings to the transport of provisions, yacht services, hotels and restaurants.