Continuing south from Pigeon Island, we decided to give Basse-Terre a miss and carry on down to the Isles Des Saintes. We motored around, exploring some of the smaller islands before picking up a mooring at Bourg De Saintes. Venturing ashore after having lunch aboard, we were pleasantly surprised with the range of shops, including a choice of some lovely craft and gifts. We bought a couple of fantastic little watercolours from a resident artist, depicting local scenes. A great little memento to take home. There are numerous bars and restaurants to choose from and we chose Ti Kaz, a popular restaurant overlooking the bay. The outlook was spectacular.
We woke up in the morning to see the mega yacht Maltese Falcon anchored behind us, not something you see every day! This 88 metre luxury sailing mega yacht is available to charter and can accommodate up to 12 guests.
Back to reality on our more affordable yacht, we indulge in freshly baked croissants and other bakery delights that are one of the bonuses of visiting a French island. Continuing round, we picked up mooring at Pain de Sucre. With the water being much clearer, snorkeling was in order. Keeping to the rocky coastline, the collection of multi-coloured fish was amazing, including starfish, rays, eels, turtles, and an array of multi-coloured reef fish.
With the wind picking up slightly in the afternoon, a spot of windsurfing was in order. With my Kindle in hand, I settled down to read on the fore deck, while my husband kept himself entertained jibing across the bay.
The following day we lifted the anchor, and headed for the island of Marie Galante. A careful approach is required due to the vast number of fishing buoys that litter the approach to the bay of St Louis. This is a beautiful bay with crystal, clear water. Taking the dingy ashore to find some where for lunch, we were somewhat let down with what was on offer. Returning to the boat for lunch, we decided to continue south and head for Grand Bourg. Described as a ‘picturesque harbour with lots of amenities’, we were disappointed with what we discovered. With no berths, or anchoring available inside the harbour, we turned and headed back up the way we’d come and decided to anchor at Folle Anse, which is positioned between St Louis and Grand Bourg. This is a completely deserted stretch of beach and one could imagine a castaway setting. With the advantage of being self-sufficient, the BBQ was soon lit and our dinner underway. For all its false starts of Marie Galante, you could not fault the crystal, clear waters that surround you. It would, however, be one stop I would miss out in future.
With Point-a- Pitre our next destination, we raised the anchor with thoughts of French cuisine making our mouths water. Choosing to go into a marina for the first time on our trip, we were not disappointed with the Marina Bas-du- Fort. The place is a hub of bars, restaurants and shops and was quite a sensory overload after our peaceful itinerary so far. But with delicious smells assaulting our senses who were we to complain. We were spoilt for choice, with a large selection of waterside restaurants offering a variety of fare. Satisfyingly full, we spent the afternoon relaxing on the boat, before heading out to enjoy the sunset at one of the many bars on offer. The shops, in traditional French custom, stay open late and offers the opportunity for some evening browsing.
Clearing out of customs after breakfast was a delight, as once again we were presented with a computer terminal. Throwing off the stern lines we headed out of the marina and enjoyed absorbing the stunning coastline from our yacht as we made our way east. We headed for the Petite-Terre islands, two uninhabited islands. The approach is quite hair raising, so check your charts, and you also have the current to contend with. Poking our nose in, it looked an amazing place to spend the night but unfortunately there were no mooring buoys available. With only 14 provided and a couple of boats already queuing we decided to cut our losses, as it is a National Nature Reserve, you are unable to anchor. I think that when the day boats go, the place would be quite magical, with only the smattering of other boats that are moored to share the islands with. Definitely one to add to a future itinerary.
As there are few sheltered places to anchor on the east side of the island we decided to head back towards Antigua and spend the night at Green Island.
Green Island is uninhabited, unless of course you count the abundant hermit crabs that have made it their home. The bay is well protected due to the numerous reefs that litter this area, which in turn provides a snorkeling paradise. There are various places to disappear and explore, so you don’t need to concern yourself with an influx of other snorkelers. Swimming alongside rays and puffer fish, turtles, and yellow tailed snappers, it really was a perfect way to end our yacht charter.
By Laura Barber