Hurricanes in St Maarten
Do Hurricanes affect St. Martin / St. Maarten?
Due to the Cape Verde Islands we have hurricanes that pass by the Eastern Caribbean but generally St. Martin and St. Maarten aren’t affected by them. We get some squalls and it can get windy here if one passes close by. The best thing to do is to keep a careful watch on the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) for more information or just follow this link: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ Updates are 8am, 11am, 2pm, 8pm daily and if a storm does get named, updates, warnings and watches will appear as needed. If a hurricane is heading our way, please ask your hotel staff for advice and of course contact your airline.
Also if you need information please don’t hesitate to Contact Us directly by email or in emergencies by telephone at +590 590 29 11 27.
What happens when it rains?
When it rains on St. Martin / St. Maarten it’s just the typical showers that we get in the Caribbean. Torrential rain for around 20 minutes and then bright sunshine. In fact, sometimes it will rain on the Dutch side and not the French Side, and vice verse. The rain clouds are quite impressive when you see them passing, (especially if it is bright sunshine where you are!). There is more rain in SXM during the months of April to November, but nothing that stops it from being a great place to come on vacation. Occasionally we will get a thunderstorm or down pour but this is pretty rare. This means that we do go out scuba diving even when it is raining, as these rainclouds pass so quickly. Of course, if it is a torrential downpour then we may have to reschedule.
What is the Eastern Caribbean water temperature?
Water Temperature is beautiful year round and ranges from low 80 F to low 90 F. Peak water temperature is in September / October and when it reaches 90 – 92 degrees Fahrenheit. From July to November many of our divers don’t wear an exposure suit at all. The coolest time is in January / February when we generally see the water temperature in the low 80′s. Even when the water is low 80s, most of our customers are comfortable in a 3 mm shorty wetsuit for a 60 minute dive. However, if you are planning to do a lot of diving, a full wetsuit may be desirable, as your core temperature may drop a bit over several days of diving. Also keep in mind that our average bottom times are often close to or even over an hour, depending on the site, the dive profile for the day and air consumption. Over the course of a full day of diving, you may be underwater much longer than you would be with a typical dive center. We do have a few long wetsuits, but not many, so if you would like a long wetsuit please bring your own or let us know in advance.
What about the wind?
St. Martin/St. Maarten is part of the Leeward Islands. These islands are referred to as “leeward” because the prevailing winds in that blow from the east-north-east. Thus these islands are downwind from, or leeward of, the southeastern most Windward Islands, the group of islands that first meet the trade winds. Because of the wind direction we are pretty well protected in Grand Case on the French side. We do get something every year that we call the “Christmas Winds” which produce some windier conditions than normal, however you can expect a gentle 15 – 16 knot breeze year round and 4 – 5 foot seas. Luckily we have our beautiful dive boats Kraken and Octopussy so enjoy a stable, fast, comfortable ride to your destination.
When is the best time to visit?
This is a question that we often get asked and one that is difficult to answer because we are here year round and everyday the diving is awesome, whether it’s raining, windy or sunny, we always see cool marine life! St. Martin / St. Maarten certainly has seasons, the most questionable season is of course Hurricane season which, surprising to most, runs from June 1st to November 30th. The height of the hurricane season is September and October. You may also see this time of year called the “Cape Verde Season” because of the tropical waves and depressions that form over the Cape Verde Islands (Western Africa) and travel west towards the Caribbean. Hurricane Season can be a great time to visit the islands because the number of tourists is low. This means the beaches are less crowded, the roads have less traffic and the restaurants aren’t as full. Plus, in the Low season hotel prices are less, flights prices drop and there are some fantastic deals out there.
When is High Season and Low Season in the Caribbean?
High Season runs from December 1st to April 30th with December being the busiest Month for the Island. At Octopus Diving St. Martin / St. Maarten we stay busy year round and usually close for the month of September.
Low Season runs from May 1st to November 30th which of course is the warmest time to visit the Caribbean. When it is cold up north we are the busiest. The hottest months here have to be August, September and sometimes October too.