In a similar way that landlubbers notice the first signs of spring, sailors in the Caribbean notice the first signs of what we colloquially refer to as the ‘new season’.
One of the earliest, to seen around this time in October, are the first private yachts being put in the water and re-rigged after time ‘on the hard’ safe from the worst effects of possible hurricanes. Although officially still in storm season until the end of November, statistically, we’re passed the high risk phase — and there is nothing on the distant tropical Atlantic weather horizon.
Other new seasonal signs are the out-island shoreside resorts and restaurants that, shuttered for possible storms and certain staff vacations, begin to reopen week by week.
Already, the harbours and bays that, all summer, have been as quiet as they were in the 1970’s are getting busy with bareboat and crewed charter boats. A little later will arrive those more exotic birds, the ‘superyachts’ strutting their stuff here after migrating from Florida, New England and the Mediterranean.
Last week the first swells generated by distant Atlantic storms began to arrive on north-facing shores. Next will come the stronger tradewinds.
It’s been a calm, dry and hot summer in most of the eastern Caribbean and those of us who live here year-round are looking forward to the fresh faces and fresh breezes that the new season brings.
So, as one of my taxi driver friends said to me the other day: “Happy New Year!”