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Old 22-03-2010, 09:01   #1
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First Time Cruising Through Guadeloupe and Dominica - Any Suggestions ?

My wife and I are chartering a Lagoon 3800 (Sunsail) out of Guadeloup (PTP) and are planning to cruise around there and Dominica for 12 days. We have cruised BVIs, Bahamas, and Grenadines previously but this is our first time in these islands. Any suggestions, comments, warnings about places to see / avoid, customs, sailing conditions? I would deeply appreciate any intel that is helpful!
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Old 24-03-2010, 15:03   #2
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The Isles des Saintes, Marie Galante, Desirade and Petit Terre south of Guadeloupe are all charming.
In Dominica you have only two anchorages, Portsmouth in the North and Rouseau in the south where you need to pick up a buoy. Dominica is a stunning island to explore ashore by taxi, waterfalls and rain forest, but offers few cruising possibilities.
If you want to sail to beautiful bays and beaches you may do better heading up to Antigua and Barbuda, if your charter company allows it.
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Old 25-03-2010, 09:10   #3
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Thanks Sobriyah for the insight. I personally agree with you regarding Antigua and Barbuda. However, my crew is excited about hiking the rainforest and volcano on Dominica so I'm planning on ~3-4 days between Portsmouth and Rouseau. Otherwise, I am looking to spend the balance of my cruise sailing around Guadeloupe exploring M-G, the Saintes, Pigeon island (for diving), and Desirade.
Do you know if the customs office on MG is open on Saturdays? What anchorages do you suggest on the west side of Bas Terre?
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Old 25-03-2010, 09:46   #4
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On the west side of Bas Terre, Deshaies is a delightful town, with some good restaurants, and a sheltered overnight anchorage. Anse a la Barque is also ok in settled weather, as is the Pigeon Island anchorage. They can often be rolly but that shouldn't worry you on a cat.
I wouldnt worry unduly about customs in Guadeloupe, they are famously laidback. If the office in MG is closed, as it often is, wait till you get to Deshaies or The Saintes. You clear in or out there at the Mairie. Your clearance form is faxed to P-a-P and returns rubber stamped 30 minutes later. In Dominica you can clear in and out at the same time if you are staying less than 4 days.There are several boat boys in Portsmouth who can arrange tours, taxis, etc. I have used Albert before and he has been very trustworthy. Fair winds. Richard
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Old 25-03-2010, 09:54   #5
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Thank you Richard!
I appreciate the info.
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Old 29-03-2010, 20:12   #6
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A bit belated but we enjoyed both Dominica and Guadeloupe in our recent visit. If you visit Roseau, look out for 'Pancho' the boatboy par excellence. We met him after picking up a buoy and the next day did a trip to the Victoria Falls with him. A top drawer experience and definitely to be recommended. The next night he dropped into us for a beer with his two children - a lovely guy.
Isles des Saintes is excellent but the main anchorage can be very congested. Not to be missed if possible.
We traversed the Riviere Salee through Guadeloupe with 6' draft. No problems except we couldn't find an anchorage to stop in after the bridges.
Fascinating even after the 0430 hrs start.
Enjoy
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Old 29-03-2010, 21:11   #7
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Last winter we cruised down here for a week from Antigua while on our CPM course. A few observations:

Iles des Saintes is very charming, and a totally worthwhile stop. The restaurants and shops along the waterfront are quaint and really enjoyable. The water is crystal clear, the people are friendly, and beachfront dining watching the yachts and occasional ferries is not to be missed.

Here's a view of the anchorage from Napolean's Fort:

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Here's a shot of my bride Karen and our leader Capt. Norman heading into customs:

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Here's a deck-level view of the local swim club:

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After an overnight passage to Marie Gallante, and an adventurous + delightful provisioning stop, we motor sailed eastward to Iles de la Petite Terre, my so-far favorite anchorage.

Iles de la Petite Terre is a fantastic anchorage if there is no north swell and you can make the entrance. It is a French National Nature Preserve, and the beaches, palm trees, and surf breaking on the reef a few hundred yards to the east (with nothing except W. Africa behind it) is unbelieveably beautiful. We tied onto a mooring ball in 5.5' of water on our 46' cat and waded 30' to shore. Breathtaking and spectacular. Complete with uninhabited sandy beach, reef, palm trees, light house, excellent snorkeling and swimming, and very few boats:

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Caution: do not try to study and take a test while you are at such a beautiful anchorage...

We can't wait to go back. Enjoy!
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Old 30-03-2010, 06:18   #8
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Ditto on visiting Les Isles des Saintes--very quaint and picturesque, and an easy sail down from P-a-P.

Then it's a short hop (18 nm) to Prince Rupert Bay in Dominica. I highly recommend you use Martin Carriere as a guide there (call "Providence" on VHS 16). His tours of the rain forest and the Carib reservation are a really fun learning experience. We spent four days with him on our first visit, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Usually, one of the Indian River Guides will come out in his skiff to greet you as you approach the Bay from the norht, off the Cabrits. Politely let him know you're looking for Providence and he'll be fine with that.
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