Clearing in and clearing out definitely takes some time--more time on some islands than on others, so you need to factor that into your schedule, along with the fact that the C&I offices have opening hours. Plus you'll need to find an ATM to get a little local currency. Chris Doyle's sailing guides have all the necessary info, and Noonsite: The global site for cruising sailors
is helpful, as well.
All islands, as far as I recall
, will let you clear in and out at the same time, but some will insist that you then depart within 24 hours. Dominica
will let you stay up to two weeks, I believe. We've found the French islands to be very informal about clearance, letting us clear out and then spend a couple more days in anchorages
on the way to our next destination
. Lack of French shouldn't be a problem, although it helps to have a little ability to communicate in French in Guadeloupe
, where many don't speak any English
Don't skip Dominica. Hire one of the Indian River guides ("Providence"- Martin Carrierre, is my favorite) to take you hiking in the rain forest and on a mini-bus tour across to the Atlantic side. It's a beautiful, unspoiled island. Some may disagree, but I would advise you to be very cautious about anchorages
on the western side of St Vincent. Chateaubelair in particular has had a number of instances of violent crime against cruisers. We always made the all day run from Soufriere, St Lucia
to Bequia, and then cruised the Grenadines.
Hope you have a great vacation!