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Old 02-03-2018, 13:44   #1
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Itinerary for St. Lucia/Matinique March 2018

Mary Helan and I, along with two friends and our son, all moderately experienced sailors, are chartering a Lagoon 440 out of St. Lucia in two weeks. We looked at sailing to St. Vincent and the Grenadines but the two charter days it would take to get there and return have postponed that until a future charter. We are considering the run up to Martinique. We like the idea of French food and wine and the open water sail there and back could be fun. We are all avid SCUBA divers. We understand through dive shops in St. Lucia that we must dive with a local dive guide either on our boat or theirs. Doing rendezvous diving with their boat seems the best option but the dives sites seem to be clustered around Rodney Bay which means we would have to stay in that general area for multiple days if we wanted to dive more than 1 day. Wanting to sail a lot, sticking around one specific location is a bit unattractive. So the question is: If we wanted a variety of sailing, interesting anchorages/moorings or marinas if necessary, good diving, good food, and a relatively slow pace which would be better: hang around St. Lucia or head up to Martinique?
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Old 02-03-2018, 13:46   #2
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Re: Itinerary for St. Lucia/Matinique March 2018

I’ve never been to St. Lucia but did a charter out of Martinique. Great experience. Plenty of anchorages with dinghy access to restaurants. If you are adventurous you can go to the Atlantic side. I’m not a diver so I cannot help you there
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Old 13-03-2018, 07:22   #3
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Re: Itinerary for St. Lucia/Matinique March 2018

You could sail up to Martinique.
Even if you are experienced sailors keep in mind that the sail between both island can have sizeable waves.
I always prefer to wait a few days before crossing so I have less of a chance of getting people sea sick.
Diving in Martinique is nice but not spectacular.
St-Pierre has many wrecks to dive on. The Diamant rock is also nice.
You should contact local dive guides as the area can be tricky.
Martinique also has many things to offer on land.
The people are nice.
Language barrier could be a problem if you do not speak french, but most people manage a bit of english.
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Old 14-03-2018, 08:23   #4
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Re: Itinerary for St. Lucia/Matinique March 2018

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagman101 View Post
You could sail up to Martinique.
Even if you are experienced sailors keep in mind that the sail between both island can have sizeable waves. .
Wind predictions are Easterly 15-18kts for the day we are planning on sailing to Martinique, E 18-20kts on the planned day of return. With that in mind what are your thoughts as to potential wave heights?

I would expect in the relatively narrow channel between St. Lucia and Martinique (28nm) that the wind will accelerate as it flows through, increasing wave height. Has this been your experience?

I have the schedule for VHF channels 79 and 80 weather broadcasts and also the AM radio station frequency for local news and weather. Do you have other weather sources you use while cruising this area?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagman101 View Post
I always prefer to wait a few days before crossing so I have less of a chance of getting people sea sick.
I plan to spend our first sailing day near shore St. Lucia getting everyone familiar with boat systems, sail trim, reefing, MOB drills, tacking, heaving-to etc. and to acclimate everyone. Part of that day will be a brief foray into open water just to see how the boat handles and how the crew is doing.

I like the idea of spending more time getting everyone on their sea legs so a second day near shore St. Lucia might work out well. Part of the reason we are considering Martinique is the uncertainty of mooring fields and anchorages along the leeward coast of St. Lucia. Information provided by the charter office has been less than encouraging. We really don't want to spend each night in a marina. Do you have suggestions as to moorings/anchorages between Rodney Bay and the Pitons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagman101 View Post
Diving in Martinique is nice but not spectacular....... You should contact local dive guides as the area can be tricky.
My attempts to contact dive shops in Martinique from here has proved unsuccessful. I sent emails and also left voice mails, or rather my wife did as she speaks French. To date I have not received any reply. We definitely plan on contacting shops in person once we get to Martinique.

On St. Lucia, diving from your own boat is not allowed unless you are accompanied by a permitted guide. Three shops have confirmed this. Is the situation the same on Martinique? We don't mind diving with a local guide but the logistics involved are a bit problematic. Is it possible to rent gear from a dive shop in Martinique and plan our own dives with local input? We are all very experienced divers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagman101 View Post
Language barrier could be a problem if you do not speak french, but most people manage a bit of english
Fortunately my wife speaks excellent French.

One further question please. Where is the best place to clear Customs once we reach Martinique?

Thanks for all your very helpful info. Aloha, Keith
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Old 14-03-2018, 08:51   #5
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Re: Itinerary for St. Lucia/Matinique March 2018

See my answers in bold letters.
Fair winds to you and your crew.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nani Kai View Post
Wind predictions are Easterly 15-18kts for the day we are planning on sailing to Martinique, E 18-20kts on the planned day of return. With that in mind what are your thoughts as to potential wave heights?

I would expect in the relatively narrow channel between St. Lucia and Martinique (28nm) that the wind will accelerate as it flows through, increasing wave height. Has this been your experience?

I have the schedule for VHF channels 79 and 80 weather broadcasts and also the AM radio station frequency for local news and weather. Do you have other weather sources you use while cruising this area?

Expect waves to be between 5 to 10 feet. Depending on tide and curent.
Wave height is not bad but it can get choppy. Forces you to slow down.
If you have internet go to this web site before casting off.

METEO FRANCE - Prévisions côtières de Météo-France en Martinique, Guadeloupe et Guyane



I like the idea of spending more time getting everyone on their sea legs so a second day near shore St. Lucia might work out well. Part of the reason we are considering Martinique is the uncertainty of mooring fields and anchorages along the leeward coast of St. Lucia. Information provided by the charter office has been less than encouraging. We really don't want to spend each night in a marina. Do you have suggestions as to moorings/anchorages between Rodney Bay and the Pitons?

Dont worry about that. You will find a spot.
They will give you pointers on your chart breifing



My attempts to contact dive shops in Martinique from here has proved unsuccessful. I sent emails and also left voice mails, or rather my wife did as she speaks French. To date I have not received any reply. We definitely plan on contacting shops in person once we get to Martinique.

Do contact them by phone when you are there. Early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Between that they are either diving or sleeping.

On St. Lucia, diving from your own boat is not allowed unless you are accompanied by a permitted guide. Three shops have confirmed this. Is the situation the same on Martinique? We don't mind diving with a local guide but the logistics involved are a bit problematic. Is it possible to rent gear from a dive shop in Martinique and plan our own dives with local input? We are all very experienced divers.

I could not answer that as I always used diving guides. They know the pots and the specifics.

Fortunately my wife speaks excellent French.
Excellent

One further question please. Where is the best place to clear Customs once we reach Martinique?

Le marin. You can clear customs and find many dive shops.

If you need a taxi, feel free to contact Cathy Taxi
06 96 83 16 92
Excellent service, she has lots of contacts.


Thanks for all your very helpful info. Aloha, Keith
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