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Old 02-09-2015, 19:36   #1
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Where to be in January?

My husband and I left our Caliber 47 in the BVI over the summer and will be flying back down Nov. 10 to spend the next 6-7 months aboard. We plan to take the boat farther south this year, and may bring it back home to NC in June. Our daughter and her 18 year old daughter are planning to come visit us for a week in early January. Any suggestions on a destination? We plan to stay in the BVI for about 3 weeks to make sure everything is working well before starting our meander south. St. Martin holds little appeal - too busy and commercial for our tastes, from what we've read of it. Any suggestions for another island that would be easily reachable by early January and beautiful, with beautiful beaches and some things to do, but without it being so as commercial as St. Martin?
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Old 02-09-2015, 20:32   #2
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Re: Where to be in January?

We really, really, really enjoyed Ile Forchue just south of St. Martin. It's easy for guests to fly in to St. Martin and there are plenty of resources there. Then it's about a half day sail down to Ile Forchue. To say the anchorage is beautiful would be an under statement. The beaches are also gorgeous and there is hiking there. There are no supplies or establishments on this island (at least there weren't a couple of years ago when we were there) so go prepared with whatever you need. Then it's a short hop down to St. Barts. This is another island that has some absolutely gorgeous beaches. This is much more commercialized but seeing the MEGA yachts is pretty cool.

Ile Forchue:



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Old 03-09-2015, 05:09   #3
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Re: Where to be in January?

Thanks for the suggestions and pictures. Sounds like a wonderful suggestion that would give them a good sample of different kinds of Caribbean life. I'll have to check flight and ferry schedules, but it sounds as if we could pick them up in St Martin, then head down to Ile Forchue, then on to St. Barts, where they could catch the ferry back to St Martin for their return flight. Weather permitting, does that sound like a workable plan?
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:16   #4
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Re: Where to be in January?

Muttnut, must ask, where did you leave your boat in BVI? Also, was it left in water or on the hard?
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:36   #5
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Re: Where to be in January?

Yes, that is definitely a workable plan. That's a good mix between "remote" and "touristy" to give your guests a feel for different Caribbean islands.
Another amazing place to consider is Saba. This has it's own culture and feel. The hiking is absolutely beautiful and the island is a natural wonder. However, anchorages can be rough depending on where the wind and waves are coming from. It's only a 5 sq mile island so the weather whips around it. But it's definitely worth a visit. One of my favorite places in the Caribbean.

Also, so you know, if the charts say not to anchor overnight in St. Barts, DON'T! We had one of the worst overnight anchorage experiences of our sailing career in Anse du Gouverneur (Governor's Bay).
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:47   #6
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I don't know.. I find SMX French side along the NW coast great.. just steer clear of Orient Beach and Dutch side.. that's where its commercial.
Also enjoyed St Barts like stepping back in time once away from the trourist traps..
I use 3 anchorages there.. depending on where the swell is coming from.. a stop at the islands halfway there is fun as well..
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:04   #7
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Re: Where to be in January?

Great information, all of it. Time to start marking up the cruising guides and make annotations. Having them come in January is going to force us to have a schedule, at least to start with, which we hate to do. Oh, well. We'll have time to follow our noses after they leave. Everyone else we've told, "You can come down, but it will have to be last minute. You can tell us where you want to meet us, and we'll let you know a week or two ahead to tell you when we think we'll be there, or you can tell us when you want to come and we'll let you know a week or so ahead where we think we'll be."

Any other suggestions for what islands not to miss after our guests leave? Not sure how far south we'll go. We'll have to decide by early March if we want to leave the boat down there or bring it back to NC, which will determine our itinerary. If we decide to leave the boat in the Caribbean, we'll probably head down to Trinidad, which is where we bought the boat. My husband and friends sailed it back up to Annapolis.

Sailrmn, we have a yacht manager on Tortola taking care of the boat - his name is Todd Hutchinson, and he owns B&G Yacht Management. He has his clients leave their boats at his dock in Tortola (Soper's Hole) and then moves them up to Virgin Gorda to be put on the hard at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor. They don't charge for outsiders to work on the boats, which is not the case at Nanny Cay on Tortola. Catamarans have to go to Nanny Cay because that's the only yard big enough for cats to be stored on the hard, but he takes all the monohulls to Virgin Gorda because it's cheaper, especially if work is being done on the boat over the summer. Todd and his crew go to Virgin Gorda every day, and they do all the work and maintenance of the boats.
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:44   #8
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Re: Where to be in January?

We spent almost 4 weeks in Roatan off the coast of Honduras this last April... fairly inexpensive, some GORGEOUS beaches, and fairly quiet. The downside is that January might be their rainy season, and with it being a rainforest, it does get a lot. However, temps tend to stay around the 30 to 32C mark, even in the rain!

There also appears to be some good anchorages around the more populated areas, and if you want me to mention the diving opportunities, I would have to start another blog... virtually limitless!
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Old 04-09-2015, 01:11   #9
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Re: Where to be in January?

Our favorite island in the northern Caribbean is Nevis. Fantastic natural beauty, very friendly people, interesting culture. Its a complete contrast to St. Kitts, which we visited once and have skipped ever since.

Antigua has a LOT of anchorages to explore, and some fascinating history.

I second the comment that the French side of St. Martin is well worth a visit. We try to spend at least a week there every season. The restaurants, especially in Grand Case, are as good as any in the world.

If you make it further south by January, the Iles des Saintes south of Guadeloupe are lovely, with terrific snorkeling and scuba.

Have fun!

David
s/v Callisto
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Old 05-09-2015, 04:58   #10
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Re: Where to be in January?

Thanks, DM Cantor. We'll make sure Nevis is on the list, and take off St. Kitts, and will maybe try the French side of St Martin. So many places to go . . . And it's great having people who've been there before us to make recommendations! I've been to Antigua and liked that - it was Classics Week, which was wonderful. I'm sure we won't make it to Guadeloupe by January, but maybe in Feb. or March. I'm hoping to get as far as St Lucia before heading north. We'll see. It could be we'll decide to leave the boat down there again next summer.
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Old 08-09-2015, 17:47   #11
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Re: Where to be in January?

Quote:
Originally Posted by muttnut View Post
My husband and I left our Caliber 47 in the BVI over the summer and will be flying back down Nov. 10 to spend the next 6-7 months aboard. We plan to take the boat farther south this year, and may bring it back home to NC in June....Any suggestions for another island that would be easily reachable by early January and beautiful, with beautiful beaches and some things to do, but without it being so as commercial as St. Martin?
St-Barth ? I escaped from Montreal in 1980 & I've been living there ever since. Sure, there might be better places but make sure you stop in St-Barth during the Bucket Regatta St Barths Bucket Regatta : 19 ? 22 March 2015, St. Barthelemy, French West Indies 17 to 20 March 2016... It's great fun even if you don't race (You need a 100' & up sailboat).
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Old 08-09-2015, 19:53   #12
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Re: Where to be in January?

Looks wonderful! Beautiful pictures. However, I doubt we'll be around St Barts in March, unless we're headed north again by them, which is a possibility. Not sure if we'll leave our boat in the Caribbean next summer or if we'll bring it home. Decisions, decisions!
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Old 12-09-2015, 08:41   #13
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Re: Where to be in January?

I would suggest you visit each island on your own before you decide. What you read and hear are usually totally different for each sailor.

For example, Sint Maarten is enjoyed by many sailors, including the Lagoon, Orient Bay and Marigot Bay while others don't care for the island. That is usually the case with every island!

St. Kitts has one of the best forts in the Caribbean and anchoring on the south end of the island is very nice. Sure Saba is a great island to visit but the anchorage (moorings only) is terrible and you will roll your guts out, especially your guests.

Again, rely on your experiences before totally trusting what other sailors may say.

I hope this helps.
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