Originally Posted by capnmatt
Thanks MondayNever - appreciate the reply and your insight. Good to hear that you like June and July because we booked our trip for the last two weeks of June. We are going to be on a Lagoon 400
S2 through Dream Yacht Charters. We looked into Horizon, but Dream had the boat that was right for us. We've previously chartered and been happy with both companies in the BVIs. Now it's time to work on logistics of where and when customs is required, anchorages and places we want to visit, where mooring
balls are available, etc...
One challenge we are going to face is that my son and I are going to bring kiteboarding gear
so we will want to carve out some time for that. It is going to require finding anchorages that are protected from the swell, but not necessarily the wind (or at least a short walk to open wind). I've got some ideas, but I need to make sure they are accommodative to the wife and daughters as well. We might look into setting up a process to launch and land from the boat, but we need to be very cautious in doing so. Oh well, plenty of time to work all that out.
Customs seems like it is going to be a bit tricky. On many islands it appears that we will have to sail past some of the beaches that we want to stop at to do customs and then backtrack to those beaches. Also, I am hoping that I will be able to check in and out at the same time on some of the islands, otherwise we will have to do even more backtracking. I think I'm going to have to put together a list of all customs locations for each island so that I can plan our routes accordingly.
If anyone has any additional information feel free to pass it along. With the longer offshore
passages and customs requirements this charter is going to be a bit of a departure from our previous trips. But we are ready and looking for to it!
Not familiar with Antigua, but well versed in SXM, St. Barths, Saba
, Statia, St. Kitts, and Nevis
Very general thoughts about customs/immigration:
Dutch territories - Totally streamlined, no run-around. They operate as you would expect in a Northern European or N. American country.
French - Very easy and a bit more casual at times than the Dutch.
colonies - god awful. Multiple offices to visit. May or may not get an attitude. Pricing can be arbitrary. Come armed with information, expect to wait, try to remain as pleasant and polite as possible or your life will only become more difficult.
Given the route
you are taking, from Antigua over to Nevis
, you might be able to both check in and check out in Charlestown, Nevis. That would be vastly preferable to having to check in at Port Zante on St. Kitts then back track south to the good anchorages. The mooring field just north of Charlestown would probably be a gem for kite surfing, too. Wide open, flat water
, but still gets a decent breeze.
and Statia - They have fantastic diving
and are very interesting on-shore, but the anchorages can be unpleasant. You're on a cat, though, so rolling isn't an issue. Saba basically doesn't have an anchorage - you're on a mooring in 70' of water
off to the side of a giant towering volcano. The wind can come screaming around the north side of the island, so maybe good for windsurfing? Long, wet dinghy
rides to get town on Saba but worth it when you do.
St. Barth's is paradise. Easy check-in at the harbourmaster office in Gustavia. The outer anchorage is crowded, rolly and deep (but still doable), but in June you might be able to get a spot inside the harbor on the sea wall. Gustavia is a beautiful and I've never had more fun than racing
against my friends around the island on rented mopeds. Columbier is a fantastic anchorage/mooring field a couple miles north of Gustavia if you want to get away. Don't miss at least a lunch stop or a night at the island of Ille Fourche when you head
up to SXM. Great views when you hike to the top.
SXM - lots of good, wide open anchorages that are probably conducive to kite surfing. Tintamarre is a neat little island with a mooring field and a small tug boat wreck at 35'. Ille Pinel is as idyllic as a place can be and easy to get in there with the draft
of a Lagoon
400. Grand Case is wide open, has the best (and cheapest) restaurants on SXM, and has a good dive spot at the rock on the outside of the anchorage. Depending on where you're dropping the boat off and what route
you'll take around the island, you could check in at Anse Marcel. That's where I always went in and never had a problem in 15+ times. Very sleepy little marina. I don't particularly care for Marigot or Phillipsburg. They are good anchorages, but don't have the charm of some of the other spots.
I could write for days about that part of the world, but I'll stop here.