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Caribbean (middle islands)

Date: 05-06/2006
(all pictures are clickable)

The next and 'last' part of our journey was from Martinique to St Martin and back. Due to lack of wind or from ahead of us (called beating up the wind, which on a catamaran is far from ideal) we motor sailed a lot. This was not enjoyable. But we enjoyed the islands where we stopped. We did a lot of snorkeling (as you will see in the pictures).

Martinique

Under water Above water Some visiting friends
Under water

St Martin

St Martin is a small island split in 2 parts: the northern part is French, the southern is Dutch. The 2 communities leave in peace for 4 centuries now! As one might think you are in 'Europe', you are wrong: the main language is English (although French and Dutch are still spoken) and the US dollar is king (and yes, Euros and Dutch Guildes are accepted)! Some of the goods here are tax free (you'll find a lot of diamonds, ...) and the products are not too expensive, as long as you choose US import things. European food for exemple is expensive.

Find the fish ! (topview) Here he is... Same fish, from aside Details
It's a scorpionfish.

St Barth

One of the islands close to St Martin is St Barth. It is a total tax free zone, but part of France. The "funny" part is that, although being tax free, the place is (for food, ...) as expensive, if not more expensive, then anywhere else! It is most probably because this place is visited by the very rich... We noticed that in general, all the French 'owned' islands are more expensive than their English (or independent) counterparts.


To the north of St Barth is a little unhabited island called "Ile Forchue". The cacti there are famous for having VERY strong 'needles'. The area underwater is protected.
Ile Fourchue
A 1m barracuda right under the boat (poor picture quality)

Gustavia (capital)
No comment These fishes (+/- 1m20 !) were swimming in the harbour This little fellow was also swimming in the harbour

Antigua

Our next stop was Antigua. I sailed the Caribbean for several years, but each time I managed to skip Antigua, although I always wanted to see it. This time I made it!
We went straight to English Harbour, probably the most known place in Antigua. The English created a harbour facility there end 18th century and it had been beautifully restored. The famous English commander Nelson even came here.
Entering English Harbour Detail
Inside English Harbour

Another scorpion fish Same fish, another angle (poor quality)
Nereus anchored at the entrance of English Harbour

Many pelicans were present in the harbour ! The unique Endeavour J12 class boat ! Endeavour motoring away, Nereus in the middle... No comment

A Belgian friend of mine made me discover a terrific rum. It's called English Harbour (5 years) Aged rum. So if you ever encounter this rum, buy or drink it! It is soft in the throat and has a fine smell and taste. Thanks Petit! I'm bringing you a bottle!

Guadeloupe

After a beautifull passage from Antigua to Guadeloupe at night (speeds between 8.5 and 12kn, 15 and 22km/h), we arrived at Deshaies. It is a quiet and nice little town in the northwest of Guadeloupe. And at 1.5km from there is also a beautiful botanical garden, which is located on the land of the late French comic Coluche. I've been here at the end 2003. We didn't stay here too long because bad weather was announced (the forecast was correct) and we sheltered in the group of islands called Les Saintes, about 35nm (+/- 65km) further south.
Bay and village of Deshaies

Martinique

And yes, back to Martinique. It has a nice advantage of having a lot of flights to Paris (at least 1/day). Altough it is not the nicest island around here, there are things to see.

There are times of work, and times of fun...
It's about 21m high... Greetings from the Caribbean !