Concern that a low-pressure area heading towards the Eastern Caribbean could spoil Anguilla Monday this year diminished a bit based on the latest forecasts. The latter indicate the disturbance with a 40 per cent chance of cyclone formation over five days could become a tropical depression by early next week well East of the region, but upper-level winds would become less conducive for development as the system approaches the islands after that.
This probably means there will be no major impact on Monday, when just about everything in St. Martin/St. Maarten that floats traditionally makes its way North to Sandy Ground for a huge beach party as part of the annual Anguilla Summer Festival. It’s also a time when having so-called “FWBs” (friends with boat) could be beneficial.
However, accurately predicting local conditions is tricky at best, so people and especially captains planning to go should closely monitor weather reports. Keep in mind that the state of the sea tends to deteriorate well ahead of these storms, while the speed at and direction in which waves move as well as the wind-strength often deviate significantly from what was earlier foreseen.
Even in relatively calm waters preparation remains necessary to make sure everything is technically in order, although the unexpected can always occur. When it does, being well-equipped is key, because it’s a big ocean.
In addition to required gear such as life vests, working radio and emergency flares, also extra fuel, a backup-engine or sail, plenty of drinking water, some non-perishable food and preferably a global positioning system (GPS) are recommendable. Whoever is operating the vessel obviously needs to stay sober and it is prudent to either return before sundown or go ahead and stay the night there to come back the next day, because navigating in the dark is clearly less safe than with sunlight.
The most important advice is to be responsible and have fun without overdoing it. Enjoy, but remember that there’s still a tomorrow.