Eastern Caribbean Sea

 
We are always happy to make recommendations where we have received good service in some way and so we have tried to list below the people and companies, by country in case it helps anyone looking for this information.
We do not recommend people lightly and so these places have all done us proud. Please tell us if you find differently.

 

Doyles Guides
Barbados
St Lucia
Martinique
Dominica
Iles des Saintes
Guadeloupe
Antigua
St Vincent
Grenadines
grenada Grenada
St Maarten St Maarten
Anguilla Anguilla
St Barts St Barts
St Kitts St Kitts
Tortola Tortola, BVI
Lion Fish Lion Fish

Doyles Guides:

These excellent guides are very much the bibles of the Caribbean island s for sailing. Informative, interesting and above all, essential for finding the best bays and coves and ancorages as well as navigating customs, immigration and all the other excitements of Caribbean sailing. Brilliant little chartlets and aerial photos make these indispensible.

BUT do not be fooled by the British Virgin Islands edition!! This is in a different class and a VERY much lower one. Clearly written for the charter business it is a very pale shadow of its stablemates elsewhere in the Caribbean. It lacks any clear information and the chartlets are actually worse than useless. Beware.

Another important issue to be aware of when buying these guides is the issue of updates. New editions of the Windward Island edition are published in November of even numbered years and the Leewards in odd-numbered years.The very helpful website carries updates inbetween but then you do not always have access to the web, so be warned as things do change out there.

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 

Barbados:

 

Medical Emergency Clinic: 3rd Avenue, Belleville, St Michaels, Bridgetown, Barbados.
Phone: (246) 220 6121.

Port St Charles:
Very easy to check into Barbados here and we recommend you do so, however the visitors berths (Superyacht berths actually) are very expensive and pretty bouncy from the non-stop swell. Not the relief you might want after several weeks at sea.

Carlisle Bay:
The only real anchorage which is just off Bridgetown. Noisy disco until 4.00 am every night. Pretty rolly so you need to get close to the beach if possible. You can at least take your dinghy right into the town centre.

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index


St Lucia:

 

Rodney Bay Marina:
First Class marina which is also a port of entry. Very reasonable rates and a plethora of bars and restaurants. Several chandleries and pretty much all the services you could want, including gas refils.

Vision Lewis: Vision is a freelance worker who is very good at washing and polishing boats, varnishing and general boat care. He and Meshana did a first class job on Serafina whilst we were in Rodney Bay Marina and they are hard working and reliable. He also can act as an unofficial island tour guide.
email: koolmeshana@hotmail.com
Phone Vision on : St Lucia 5190278

Elvis Ambrose is a very friendly helpful chap who also has a wealth of talents. In our case he fixed our outboard engine, but he came recommended as being able to do all manner of jobs and is very reliable.
(local phone: 284 3989) Claims to be good at varnishing, gel coat repairs and underwater repairs as well as an agent for ourboard and diesel engines. (I suspect he has a friend who actually does this bit!)

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 


Matinique

 

Le Marin:

Stainless steel welding/fabrication I can wholly recommend Tony Crater, Usine du Marin, 97290, Le Marin, Tel 0596 74 66 60 / 0696 25 65 49.
Scruffy workshop close to the boatyard area and near 'Leader Price' Supermarket which has its own dinghy dock.

Canvas work we used Didier and his wife Maria at Voiles & Assistance who are based in the boatyard at Le Marin, beneath the (closed) restaurant. 33 (0) 596 74 88 32

 

St Pierre:

Seemingly exposed bay, but for the most part we have always found it very pleasant. You can anchor close to the pier and just row ashore.

Customs They are based as such in the Tourish Info Office halfway up the hill (one road back from the front) on the left as you face the town from the sea. Hours seem to be just 0900 hrs to 1500 hours, but this varies. They are no longer based in the internet cafe on the sea front.

 

Fort de France:

The main town here and has everything you could possibly need - if your French is up to it. Nespresso have an outlet at Centre Commercial La Veranda, Rond Point du Vietnam Heroique, 97200 Fort du France - Tel: 05-96-62-32-77 and an office at Lamentin Tel: 05-96-57-29-21

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 


 

Dominica:

 

Prince Rupert Bay

Customs are in a modern building tucked away behind what appers to be a scrap yard on the right hand end of the town frontage. there is a pier you can use.

No rubbish can be taken ashore, just ask your boat boy to deal with it, but better still take it with you to your next stop.

Indian River trip This is probably worth while, but not brilliant value! It helps if you have an enthusiastic boat boy which we were lucky enough to have, but we saw some who were very lack lustre.

On our visit in 2012, we hired a car and driver (shared the cost with two other couples) and had a wonderful day out touring the island which is really worthwhile and for more information, read up the log of this trip. Read the log of this day trip.

 

 

Isles Des Saintes:

Wonderful set of islands and the town of Bourg Des saintes is an absolute must for a visit. Just a stroll around the houses and shops is fun enough. But touristy of course, but still worth the time.

Napoleon's Fort this is not as big a walk as it seems at first although quite a steep road. Well worth the effort as you get superb views and the fort itself has been very well restored and is an interesting museum as well.

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 

Guadeloupe:

Point a Pitre

Point a Pitre is the main harbour at the southern end of Guadeloupe and in sailing terms a bit tricky to get to as it is pretty much upwind of the Saintes. However if you are heading north from Dominica we found we could lay a course direct and had a cracking sail all the way. (This then allows you another easy sail to Marie Gallant, from which you can then go downwind to The Saintes) Sounds a bit tortuous but it works. However there is a big question mark in our minds about the value of visiting Point a pitre in the first place. It has a few chandleries and various other services if you are in need, but the anchorages are fairly rolly, mainly from the big boat traffic coming past all day. The marina looked OK but it does seem to resemble (and smell) like an open toilet which rather put us off that option altogether. But Marie Gallant is a great little island to visit and if you plan ahead a bit and nip ashore first ting you can hire a scooter for the day which is more than adequate for seeing the entire island and spending time on some wonderful beaches.

 

Deshaies

Deshaies is at the north west tip of Guadeloupe and it is a great stopping point. the anchorage is very safe and big enough to accomodate all the boats choosing to call in. Holding is a bit patchy, but if you take it slowly and do it properly, you will always get a good hold eventually. It does always blow like hell in there, but that makes it comfortable heat wise! The town is great and has plenty of restaurant options and a rrasonable Spar supermarket. WiFi good and there is an excellent botanical garden open to the public (at a price) just above the anchorage.

Hire a car and tour the island. Not outstanding, but in very good repair so to speak and the centre has some wonderful rainforest etc.

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 

 

Antigua:

Antigua Rigging did a great job for us in replacing our forestay tangs under a recal warranty by Selden. They were fast to respond to emails and nothing seemed to much trouble. But a small word of warning... George the manager appears to promise a lot, but in truth they deliver rather less. They had promised to do all sorts of jobs for us, but none of this was communicated to the head rigger Shaun who came to do the work.! Shaun was great and made huge efforts to get the job done without removing the mast. he also did a rigging check and was fun and very polite and helpful.

Catamaran Marina, Falmouth harbour is where we had to go for Antigua rigging to work on the mast. They were not very helpful and the dockmaster was downright rude to Sarah. The main lady in the office was the least jovial person we had met in quite a while and her attitude rubbed off on the other staff. This was sort of evidenced on the day we left when she was absent and suddenly everyone became a good deal more friendly! They have a cute trick for taking serious money off you if you want to plug in to shore power. They use the US plugs (unique this far south) and happily sell you the correct plug at a price roughly 300% above chandlery prices on St Maarten to the north.

Marionics are electronics specialists headed up by Arougoo Adams. Tel: 268-460-1780.
Arougoo was very helpful, polite and prompt, but SSB might just be something he knows less than he claims. We should perhaps have used Cap from The Signal Locker, (English Harbour - Nelson's Dockyard) but Arougoo was based beside the Cat marina and was available!

Jolly Harbour Marina is a bit tired really, but has reasonable facilities and offers good protection in a blow. William the dockmaster is great fun and very helpful and the office staff are largely very cheerful souls - especially Jay. Friday and Saturday nights are long and loud which is worth avoiding. There is a good supermarket close by (Epicurian) which has a fair selection of stuff and probably the islands most miserable staff and security team.

You can clear in and out of Antigua in Jolly harbour, to remeber to take your boat to the customs quay when checking in. You cannot dock in the marina and then stroll round!! Use E sea Clear here online and in advanceor else you will be filling in forms for a good hour. Same when clearing out.

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 

 

St Vincent & The Grenadines:

Bequia

Caribbean Schooner. Friendship Rose is a wooden schooner built locally and it runs day trips to Mustique and Tobago Cays amonst other places. Very well run and although not cheap, it makes a great day out and a visit to Mustique is one of the things you have to do one way or another! www.friendshiprose.com

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 

Grenada:

Le Phare Bleu Marina We really enjoyed our stay at this wonderful little resort. Pontoon moorings with lazy lines and you need to be aware than in any sort of southerly it gets fairly unpleasant in here with a fair old swell, however the place is still worth the visit. Very helpful staff, Quirky converted Swedish Lightship is the marina office and shower/toilet block. Great beach bar and restaurant with a fresh water swimming pool on site as well free use of sailing dingies on the beach. Small but more than adequate mini market and various other services such as engineering ((Palm Tree Marine. lucy@palmtreemarine.com ), sailmaking and car hire etc. Fuel available at all berths. Probably the cheapest marina fees we have found anywhere in the Caribbean. www.lepharebleu.com contact@lepharebleu

Port Louis Marina Situated in the lovely harbour of St George's this is a modern concrete marina with the finest showers and loos in the western world! Safe moorings and good supermarket and Island Waterworld Chandlery on the doorstep. A very cheap and FAST bus ride to the capital itself.

Hog Island Anchorage Great and secure anchorage used for hurricane hiding. Beach bar operates, but only just! Noisy fun Sunday evening BBQ and band by the bar.

Spice Island Marine First rate boatyard and storage yard. Good security and very helpful friendly staff. There are a few things that you need to know if you are planning to haul out there, so feel free to email me.

We were very lucky as we had Lesley keeping an eye on Serafina all the way through the summer. She went on board and opened her up to keep her well aired every week and this made all the difference. Lesley can be contacted by email, but you will need to email me to obtain this for security/spam reasons.

Budget Marine This is next door to Spice Island Marine and is a well stocked chandlery, but in addition I have to make mention of the very well informed and fantastically helpful staff. The best we have seen for a VERY long time, if ever!

De Big Fish This restaurant and bar is right next to Spice Island marine as well. Run by Rikky and Kim this bar is a great blend of social setting, good eating and fun.Very much the focal point for all the local yachties, either moored in the bay or ashore in the yard. Frequent live music is varied and good, but not intrusive. Rikky is also very helpful if you are hauling out and you might want to make yourself known to him as soon as you can.........

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 

 

St Maarten:

Tax free centre for yachting enterprises. Pretty much everything you might need is available in some way here, but you do need to look carefully to get the best deals.

The principle mooring area is the lagoon which has two entrances/bridges. We used the Dutch side as the French side is pretty shallow and certainly we would be pushing our luck there drawing 2.2m. Popular way of doing things seems to be to enter the lagoon on the Dutch side then anchor in the middle of the lagoon area (in the lea of Witches Tit), then take the dinghy to the French side and clear in through their customs. Much cheaper if not very fair. Not much happening on the French side generally, but there are points of interest.

On the Dutch side there are loads of useful shops etc. Budget and Island Water World have their main shops here and both give substantial discounts if you simply open an account with each of them.

Quantum sails (http://www.stmaartensails.com) Rob Gilders, were really helpful and did some excellent canvas work for us on time and to an agreed cost.

Lagoon Marina, might be a bit of a misnomer as it is barely a quay, but they did us a very good deal for a few days stay whilst we sorted things out.

There are good supermarkets, two cinemas and pretty much all you could want, but labour costs are very high so beware just hoping to get major jobs done here and expecting a sensible price!

La Sucriere is the finest bakery this side of anywhere and it is on the west side of the southern end of the laggon, almost opposite Lagoon marina.

But the thing you really must do is listen to the cruisers net at 7.30am on channel 14. (If you moniter 16 they tend to announce when it is about to start and name the channel.) Mike, who is based at Shrimpies Laundry on the French side, runs the net and it really is one of the best anywhere we have been. They are happy to help and answer all questions and there are a host of experts amongst the resident cruisers so you are never short of at least one set of helpful answers.

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 

 

Anguilla:

Very little to say about this lovely little island. Customs and Immigration are very friendly and helpful and be careful how much notice to take of the guide books when it comes to paying for access to the national park areas. It is all a bit hit and miss and although we played by the rules, the customs officers discounted what we owned up to 'for being honest' which suggestes that they do not expect it. Certainly the fixed buoys that you are expected to pay top dollar for are very poor and frankly we did not dare use them when it was blowing hard.

We anchored for several days in Crocus Bay and the snorkelling was very good indded and we even saw rays, lobsters and various other unusual species - sadly including the Lion Fish which is so huge a potential problem out here.

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 

St Barts:

Almost totally European and frankly rather an enigma out in the Caribbean. We hired a car at great rates and enjoyed the trip around.

Gustavia is the main harbour and both expensive and pretty rolly, so like most normal people we anchored outside which is free. Our spot clos to Trois Islets gave access to some stunning snorkelling. WiFi is beamed out to the anchorage, but strangely not by the harbour, but from the commercial harbour. It is free, but you need a code which is given freely to you, but you have to take a dinghy over to the fuel dock and speak nicely into a hidden microphone, which is all a bit odd. European gas available also at this dock, but very expensive.

Sarah enjoyed the shops which are pretty upmarket and pricey, but best of all is the airport which you will just have to go and see. Only small aircraft can come in here and you will soon see why.....

Columbier Bay is at the western end of the island and makes a nice place to stay. Mooring buoys are plentiful and free.

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 

 

St Kitts:

Basse Terre is the main town and there is a marina there called Port Zante. It is very basic and not especially cheap, but the anchorage was very rolly when we visited.

Security is a big issue here and generally because of this it is a safe place to visit we found with everyone especially friendly. Like everywhere else it suffers from Cruise ships, but then they keep the economy moving. So once you get clear of the terminal (and the very friendly customs and immigration staff) you soon find yourself in the real town which is delightful.

We caught a bus out to Fort Brimstone which is a UNESCO heritage site and well worth a visit. Forget taxis or car hire etc. and just use the buses as they are good value and you meet the locals!

White House Bay is a great anchorage and we found a free wifi point which is remarkable as there are no houses at all.

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 

British Virgin Islands:

Tortola is the main island and has most of the professional services.

Lincoln Ramsarran
Aquadoc Marine Services Ltd. Boat Electrics. Tel: 1-284-346-0305 Cell: 1-284-346-7643 Email: aquadocmarine@surfbvi.com

Compton Marine Services

Nanny Cay Marina impressed us hugely when they helped us with an overnight stop so we could get our damaged mainsail repaired. The manager and dockmaster were both incredibly helpful and obliging and we were impressed by the standards of maintenance and service. The showers were the very best we have seen anywhere bar none! They are very busy which is no surprise but well worth trying if you need a mooring. There is a small Budget marine chandlery there and the Quantum Sails loft (284 494 1124) run by Kevin Wrigley were kind enough to rush our repair through even though they were clearly very busy.

Customs & Immigration in Road Town, Tortola were not at all helpful or interested. I recommend that you should seek to clear in at Sopers Hole or Jost Van Dyke or even Spanish Town (Virgin Gorda).

Supermarket (Riteway) behind Wickhams Cay II Marina is excellent, but access is tricky. We anchored beside the cruise ships and took the dinghy into the marina and walked across the road. Check with the marina before you leave the dinghy as they do not always like this! There is also a nice French Deli behind the marina on the way to the supermarket.

We hired a car from the airport for a day (left boat at Trellis bay) and this was OK, but not a great day out compared to most islands.

Great harbour, Jost Van Dyke has mooring buoys, but also plenty of room to anchor. Dinghy to any of the dinghy docks and there are customs and immigration (very helpful and swift) and Foxy's bar which may have seen better times... We took a taxi ($5) each way to White Bay and the Soggy Dollar Bar. You have to have one (or two) of their Painkillers - although I am not too sure why!

Great harbour, Peter Island is a curious name for what is just a big bay. It is very deep but if you like snorkelling you have to stop here a few days. The eastern shore is a superb spot to swim with all manner of aquatic life on view. Good protection from most winds and swell and there is even faint wifi available if you are lucky from the resort in the next door bay. We loved it here and kept coming back. Peter Island Resort is in the next bay and also in Deadman's Bay. They are happy to welcome boaters to their bar and restaurants and although rather expensive, the quality of the food and the wonderful service is an experience to be enjoyed. Also free wifi.

[Deliverence is a brilliant, friendly and very helpful service that operates in these bays (Norman, Peter and Cooper Islands) and is a boat that calls round once a day and will take away bags of rubbish (a couple of $ for a bag) and has some wonderful fresh cakes and bread and other staples on sale. You can also call them on Channel 16 or phone: 1 284 542 2181.]

The Bight, Norman Island, is another large and well protected but deep bay. Festooned with mooring buoys, it still has sections where you can anchor for free. The attraction here, is just around the corner where you can nip in your dinghy and tie to a specially provided line between two buoys, then snorkell in some outstanding water and underwater seascapes. there are three caves you can swim into as well, but our advice is go early! The world and his mate come here and ignore all the instructions and it is not much fun. But first thing is great although the sun is not quite high enough to show it at its best.

Marina Cay is a small island and bar etc. close to Trellis Bay. Plenty of room to anchor but frankly we would advise giving it a miss as it was expensive and they did not care one bit! Trellis does mean picking up a buoy, but is just 400 yards max from the airport if you have flights to meet. Also there are some great bars and superb shops along the beach and on the island (The Last Resort).

Cooper Island was OK, but we took a buoy here and did not use the shore facilities so we cannot comment really.

Virgin Gorda. Now this island has a lot going for it! The baths are a natural wonder which you just have to visit. Get there early (6.30am) and pick up a buoy. Then you can have a relaxing morning both swimming in through these incredible stones/boulders and riding the swells as they surge through the gaps and into blow holes. A fabulous swimming experience. then swim ashore and walk through the land side of this maze of passageways and pools. A good morning's entertainment.

Spanish Town is the main town on Virgin Gorda and it does not have a whole lot going on, but there is Virgin Gorda Marina which has a small mall and a fair supermarket on site. You can anchor outside in the bay (or pick up a buoy) and take the dinghy into the marina to do your shopping and customs if you need to.

North Sound, Virgin Gorda is a huge protected bay with endless anchoring opportunities depending absolutely on whether you are feeling sociable or not.

Saba Rock hosts the best bar (happy hour 4 - 6 pm) and a good restaurant (ask for the bar meal list if you are on a budget). Happy staff and a great ambiance. They have mooring buoys if you want and your $25 also gets you 200l of water and a bag of ice. ! Bitter End Resort provides a posh alternative (at a cost) but is fun all the same and worth a wander round. Treverick Bay looked very nice, but we never actually went in there. We simply found that you can anchor off the beach on Prickly Island, close to Saba Rock and get free wifi and swim in clear water. We loved the place and sat out some strong winds in complete comfort there. DO NOT be tempted to get a taxi as they are ridiculously expensive. ($60 for a return trip to Spanish Town from Bitter End - all of 6 miles). There are ferries to Tortola, and Saba Rock has a fleet of free water taxis.

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index

 

US Virgin Islands:

We have very limited experience of these islands, but understand that the shopping is considerably cheaper and more varied especially on St Thomas.

We spent a few days in Charlotte Amalie which was a nice big anchorage with good access to the town facilities and shops which are excellent. We did not check in here, but would do so another time as our friends on Scott-Free met us here and checked in with total ease!

St John's is where we checked in and this is not an easy place as the holding anchorage is very shallow and the customs post seemed very busy with ferries. But the island has some very nice anchorages and some excellent snorkelling. You are pretty much obliged to pick up buoys and not anchor to protect the coral, but the honesty boxes are hard to find. We had a rare burst of bad weather whilst we were there and so did not stay long, but returned to the BVI.

 

Lion Fish - The problem

Lionfish can grow 7+ inches per year, mature in less than a year, reproduce year-round and are capable of laying 2,000,000 eggs per year. They can eat prey up to 75% of their own body size and have venomous spines and no natural predators in the Atlantic. Report all sightings. the BVI take this really seriously and have a Reef Guardian phone line on: 284 442 7783

 

Return to Eastern Caribbean Sea Index