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The first night can be a sleep over in the marina, but if there is time after unpacking and provisioning, sail passed the famous Diamond Rock, commissioned as the English warship HMS Diamond during the Napoleonic Wars. Your first port of call is Petit Anse D'Arlet where you can anchor and swim and snorkel. In the evening take the dinghy ashore and explore the charming little French Caribbean town. Dine at the superb Le Gormier restaurant that serves exotic Cr?ole meals. A specialty is the exquisite dorado (mahi mahi or dolphin fish) served in spicy sauce with wonderful local yams, sweet potatoes and plantains. After dinner, gaze up at the Caribbean stars from the bow.
Sail north along the coast of Martinique to the famous town of St Pierre. In 1902, Mount P?l? erupted sending a fireball of hot gasses down onto St Pierre. Thirty thousand people were killed in the disaster. Walking through the old town, trace the foundations of houses destroyed in the eruption. There is a museum, an old fort and a jail featuring artifacts from the time of the disaster, as well as a typical Caribbean open market. For the more adventurous, a hike through Mount P?l?'s tropical rain forest will introduce you to the local exotic plants and wildlife. There is also superb scuba diving on seven shipwrecks that sank in the harbor during the 1902 eruption. For those who just want to relax, you can swim in the bay or sun tan on the volcanic black sand beach. For dinner, sample more Cr?ole cooking at La Vague restaurant on the waterfront, which features special local seafood dishes.
The next morning, follow the coast of Martinique around to La Peric and cross the 26-mile channel to Dominica. This is a spirited sail for at least 4 hours. You will get a feel for the Atlantic swell and the famous trade winds as you are no longer in the lee of an island. Your destination is Roseau where you can anchor and clear customs. Moor at the Anchorage Hotel where you can decide on an incredible rain forest minibus tour, hiking, and scuba diving or simply relax by the pool. After enjoying some afternoon activities, enjoy an inexpensive meal at the Anchorage Hotel. Choose one of the boat boys and stick with him, he will help you with docking, get what you need in the way of provisions and land based services, and he will also guard your yacht while you are gone. It is not very expensive ($5-$10 for help with a mooring) but very important to select one boat-boy, otherwise they will all flock around your yacht. Once they understand that you are doing business with one individual they will all disappear.
Some of your crew can jump ship at Roseau for a land tour on Dominica and rejoin the yacht at Portsmouth or sail up the coast. The land tour can include a visit to the last existing Carib Indian settlement in the Caribbean, spectacular waterfalls (hot and cold), the Boiling Lake, Emerald pool and the Syndicate Forest. The rain forests are some of the last in the Leeward Islands and home to the endangered Sisserou and Red-Necked parrots. Full day land tours are around $70 per person and usually include lunch, a minibus and a government certified guide. The best anchorage at Portsmouth is stern-to at the Portsmouth Beach Hotel or on anchor at the Purple Turtle, two and a half miles across town at the safest weather anchorage in Portsmouth. In Portsmouth, you can walk around the very well preserved Fort Shirley, a veteran of the Napoleonic wars, then trek through Cabrits National Park. Another unforgettable experience is a dugout canoe trip up the Indian River or snorkel and scuba dive on nearby coral heads.
After breakfast, set sail on a beam reach to Les Iles des Saintes (6 hours) where you can drop anchor at Pain de Sucre beach for a swim and then moor for the night at Bourg des Saintes. Bourg des Saintes is a charming little village with sun-bleached red tile roofs and elegant balconies overlooking the quiet waterfront. The island Terre D'en Haut is small enough to explore by foot and has a number of attractions. Hike up to the well-preserved 1867 Fort Napoleon, where there is museum housing antique furniture and French naval artifacts. The best view of the island group is from Le Chameau lookout tower, which was built, in Napoleonic times. There are a number of great beaches both large and small scattered around the island. The choice of restaurants for dinner is almost endless - a mixed grill of seafood and meat along with tropical salad can be had at Restaurant L'Escale. Cr?ole dishes and poached fish are the specialties at Les Amendiers and delicious Caribbean style pizzas are offered at Pizzeria le Genois. These are but a few of the inexpensive restaurants found in Bourge des Saintes. After dinner sip a rum punch at a waterfront bar or the more adventurous can go on a night scuba dive.
The options are to stay in the splendor of the Saintes for another day or to continue to Base Terre in Guadeloupe. Base Terre is the best location to see more rain forests on Mount Soufri?re. Moor stern-to in the marina Rivi?re Sens and get to town by bus or taxi. It is a twenty-minute walk for those who like to hike and you can see Fort St Charles, souvenir shops and many restaurants. A minibus can be arranged to get up to mount Soufri?re from Base Terre.
Sail in the afternoon from the Saintes or Base Terre to Pointe Pitres. If you are sailing a one-way trip from Martinique to Guadeloupe, your destination is marina Port de Plaisance de Bas du Fort, which is the main marina in Pointe ? Pitre. Pointe ? Pitre is the most important town in Guadeloupe and is a twenty-minute walk from the marina. There are excellent shops and fantastic Caribbean architecture with gingerbread looking houses, intriguing archways and overhanging roofs. Dinner can be enjoyed in town or at the marina.
The first night can be a sleep over in Le Marin marina Martinique. If there is time after unpacking and provisioning sail the open passage between Martinique and St Lucia and moor in Rodney bay. Walk the beach and join the afternoon beach party. Of interest are Fort Rodney Park and the actual fort, which is perched up on the point overlooking the passage.
Sail the calm leeward side of St Lucia to the majestic Piton peaks where you can swim, snorkel or hike to a hot waterfall and enjoy lunch under the well known towering landmarks. Later, sail the channel to the lovely shores of St Vincent and Wallilabou bay - a small quaint bay and beach with a friendly bar and restaurant ashore.
Sail early to Bequia island St Vincent, for a dive with a local scuba operator. There are many exceptional scuba diving sites around Bequia for all experience levels. In the evening have an excellent seafood dinner in Admiralty bay and enjoy bar hopping along the shore of this famous buccaneer bay.
There is time for provisioning at the open market on shore or a morning scuba dive. After an early lunch sail for the highlight of the tour, the Tobago Cays. This is an enchanting anchorage protected by fringing reefs and coral atolls, but it faces the open Atlantic Ocean. The coral atolls are great for snorkeling and beachcombing and the fabulous azure lagoon setting is paradise. Enjoy grilled lobster aboard from one of the local fishermen or your own catch of the day, as there is good fishing for Bonito tuna between islands.
Sail out early on a north heading arriving at St Vincent in the afternoon. Experience the Bat Cave and do an extraordinary afternoon snorkel or dive (with rental gear) through the cave. Dine aboard.
Start the day with an early morning snorkel or dive at Byahaut Point then sail all day for Marigot Bay and spend a night exploring the scene ashore.
Swim and bid farewell to the Grenadines and sail for the beautiful beach and enchanting town of St Anne's, Martinique. Spend the evening ashore in a wonderful Creole restaurant.