Well… mostly the Leeward Islands. In April, we sailed for 3 weeks from St. Martin to St. Lucia. As you can see on the map below, St. Martin south to Dominica lies in the Leeward Islands, while our last two stops, Martinique and St. Lucia, are in the Windward Islands.
We started on St. Martin
, which is what the island itself is called. The island is divided roughly 60/40 between the Collectivité de Saint-Martin
, an overseas collectivity of France,
and Sint Maarten
, one of four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands
. The four parts of the Kingdom (Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands) – are separate countries and participate on a basis of equality as partners in the Kingdom. Saba
, our first stop after St. Martin, is part of the Caribbean Netherlands, and is one of three special municipalities (Bonaire and Sint Eustatia are the other two) that are located in the Caribbean, but are actually part of the Netherlands. Further confusing the issue, the designation “Netherlands” can refer either to one of the Kingdom’s constituent countries or to the short name for the Kingdom (e.g. in international organizations). The Kingdom of the Netherlands as a whole is a member of the EU, but EU law applies only to parts within Europe.
Clear as Caribbean mud, right?
Most of our trip (St. Martin to Dominica) was in the Leeward Islands. Our last 2 stops were Martinique and St. Lucia.
Our trip included St. Martin (Philipsburg above), Saba (The Bottom above), St. Kitts, Montserrat, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia.
Around St. Martin. Ready to sail!!
We had planned to tour Saba
for a day, but windy/rainy weather and a tight time schedule nixed that, so unfortunately, no pictures of Saba except the one below I nabbed off the net. We will definitely go back sometime soon to climb that peak!
Not many place for sailboats, or even dinghies, to make a landing on Saba.
We DID climb Mount Liamuiga (well, to the crater rim across from it) on St. Kitts
, and it was a fantastic hike. This dormant volcanic mountain rises to almost 3800 feet high; we were probably a few hundred feet below it at the top of our hike. Unfortunately, we lost our camera on St. Kitts and didn’t have backups of this hike on our phone, so again, here’s some pics off the net that show EXACTLY what we saw!
Mt. Liamuiga – view from sea level.
Almost to the top of the hike for our view of Mt. Liamuiga on St. Kitts.
View of Mt. Liamuiga from the top of our hike on the crater rim.
A hard-earned dinner at Nirvana Restaurant on St. Kitts. New upscale Indian restaurant at an old plantation. Fantastic dinner accompanied by a green flash.
From Nirvana Resteraunt on St. Kitts. No clouds on the horizon – we think we might see a green flash.
To keep our schedule (i.e. to get to Guadeloupe on time to fetch Jake from the airport), we only sailed past Nevis
and on to our next stop, and a new island for us, Montserrat. Montserrat
is a British Overseas Territory, and is best known for the volcanic activity that has occurred starting in 1995.
Soufriere Hills volcano on Montserrat erupting in 1995.
The island looks much more peaceful, at least for now.
But the remains of the destruction are obvious. As a result of the volcano, the population decreased from 15,000 to 5,000.
Next stop, Antigua
, part of Antigua and Barbuda, and a new country for us. The beautiful aquamarine colors just outside Jolly Harbour reminded us of Anegada in the BVIs.
Jolly Harbour in Antigua. Looked more like a lake – or Florida! – with lots of waterfront houses with boat docks.
Antigua’s southwestern coastline.
The famous Lord Horatio Nelson was stationed for several years in Antigua.
The historical Nelson’s Dockyard is a cultural heritage site and marina in English Harbour, Antigua.
Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, is a former West Indian cricketer from Antigua. He is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time.
A national hero on Antigua, Richards was voted one of the five Cricketers of the Century by a 100-member panel of experts in 2000.
is a populous overseas French Territory. When you are there, you are actually in France. Its two main islands are Basse-Terre to the west and Grande-Terre to the east, which are separated by a narrow strait that is crossed with bridges. It is commonly referred to as a single island in the shape of a butterfly.
Map of Guadeloupe, which is part of France.
Deshaies, Guadeloupe, complete with quaint church steeple, and French menus.
We caught a beautiful sunset just off Guadeloupe.
And a beautiful moonrise.
…..and we picked up Jake, who flew in to spend a week with us.
Another new country for us, Dominica
, had long been on our bucket list to visit. It didn’t disappoint. Dominica
is largely covered by rainforest and is home to the world’s second-largest hot spring, Boiling Lake. It rises to about 4,500 feet elevation. Average yearly rainfall along the windward east coast frequently exceeds 200 inches, and exposed mountainsides receive up to 350 inches per year. It supposedly has 365 rivers; we didn’t count them (but Shauna would like to someday soon).
We took a slow and silent boat trip along the shady mangrove-lined Indian River.
…..perhaps more interesting to some than others.
Approaching Dominica, one of our new favorite islands. Dominica is largely covered by rainforest and is home to the world’s second-largest hot spring, Boiling Lake. It rises to about 4,500 feet elevation.
Unbelievable….as we motor to a mooring in Roseau, Dominica’s capital, we find Caribbean Dream – the catamaran we owned in the BVIs from 2004 – 2009.
On an island tour with a colorful guide named Sea Cat, we stopped at this little local hole-in-the wall for lunch. Nice view!
We were not sure what all we were eating, but it was all incredibly good.
This local speciality was a drink which was steeped in local herbs and spices, and, supposedly a turtle’s penis.
When in Dominica, do as the Dominicans do.
Walking around a Rasta settlement on Dominica. Steps from the beautiful trail were a couple dozen individual garden plots full of fruits and vegetables.
….and if you look at the table to Shauna’s left, you’ll see a laptop.
Sort of limited infrastructure in Dominica.
… and the local ‘Sports Club’.
Our last stop was Saint Lucia
. Saint Lucia is an island nation recognizable for its 2 distinctive mountains, the Pitons, on its west coast. It’s known for its beaches and reef-diving sites, as well as its rain-forested interior. It’s home to quiet volcanic beaches and fishing villages as well as luxurious resorts, and the capital, Castries, is a regular cruise ship stop.
Arriving at the Pitons in St. Lucia – one of our favorite places in the world.
Anse Chastanet, and its sister resort Jade Mountain, are very unique — developed over the last 40 years by owner Nick Troubetzkoy, also the architect. On the leeward side of the Pitons, the estate encompasses 600 lush tropical acres bordering two soft sand beaches, and the resort’s two crystal-clear bays are part of a designated marine reserve protecting miles of colorful coral reefs.
We are about to hike to the top of the Gros Piton. At 2,600 feet, it is the second highest peak on St. Lucia. The trail was well maintained by local rangers.
Terrific views from the top of the Gros Piton.
Must. Yoga. At. Mountaintop.
Mark’s version of a yoga pose with Shauna.
Our last evening of our trip. Scuba mask marks and ocean hair… we don’t want to go!
Our last sunset….goodbye Caribbean.