Top tips from Salina 48 “Novae” in the Caribbean

Posted: 14th April 2013.

British Virgin Islands

Hello everyone.

My communications in the last few months have been sporadic due to internet connectivity.

We have been buying new SIM cards in every island we visited and not always managed to get DATA from the network, we learned that staying in touch via internet is one of the main problems when cruising.

We crossed the Atlantic in 17 days, most of them in good trade winds flying the Parasailor. A couple of days a bit too windy three or four with not enough wind.

We made landfall in Barbados where the alcohol is cheap and food expensive, I think the government wants to keep the people drunk so they do not complain if they steal their money……

Trinidad is a big island close to Venezuela, food is cheap and grog expensive, different government…… This is a place to spend the hurricane season as it is out of the hurricanes path, repair and provisioning is cheap, but the place is not so nice for cruising.

Grenada is a beautiful friendly island full of bays, many marinas and secluded coves; mountains and national parks, fruit and spices, it is nicknamed Spice Island.

The Grenadines offer some of the nicer cruising grounds in the Southern Caribbean, the Tobago Cays are large reefs with crystal clear shallow sandy anchorages with turtles and fish.

Bequia is a small island with one large, protected bay full of cruisers, the cruiser’s net on the VHF radio is one of the more trafficked.

St Lucia is a larger island very well organized for cruisers, it is here that every year the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) makes landfall. There are many bays, some with plush marinas, but we always found some space to drop the anchor. A great Indian restaurant in Rodney! This is the last place to get some cheap fuel before getting into the French islands (where grog is cheap……)

Martinique, the first of the French Antilles, is the best place to provision in this area, too bad if you don’t speak French…. Here is a big Carrefour, malls and great chandlers, all with french flair and Euro prices.

Dominica, one of the best! The best way Colombo described it was to crunch up a big piece of paper and shape it into an island. Rainforest, waterfalls, hot springs, friendly English speaking locals, cheap mangoes…… a must see and stay place.

Les Saintes, another French territory. Small, pretty, great snorkelling, expensive.

Guadeloupe, French, big island, actually two, divided by a narrow channel and mangroves.

Jack Coustou Marine Park with an underwater statue of the great oceanographer visionary, was the highlight for us avid divers and marine pseudo-echologists….

Antigua, ahhh, English again……. A place we would have liked to stay longer! Sandy bays, coral reefs , ports, marinas, secluded anchorages. Super cheap interned….. Mangoes and avocados like footballs.

Barbuda, the least developed island, the older locals fiercely resisting MacDonaldisation. Long sandy beaches, extensive coral, an immense mangroves filled lagoon with a Frigate bird reserve, the largest in the Atlantic. If you want to escape civilisation, this is the place to go.

St Bart, French, expensive, nicknamed the St Tropez of the Caribbean. All this should be enough to make you understand how I feel about it!

St Martin, this half French, half Dutch island is a mecca for shopping, repairs and provisioning in an otherwise rather expensive area. The large Simpson lagoon offers shelter and free anchorage to a myriad of cruisers of all sorts, from mega-yachts to 8m clinker boats in all state of repairs. We found some long lost friends and had a good time here.

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) turned out to be more like what we thought the Caribbean should look like than what we had seen so far: sandy beaches, coral reefs, lost of fish, crystal clear waters. And with names such as Tortola, Dead Chest Island, Deadman Bay, you feel you are in Pirates territory and start looking for hidden treasure chests in every cave….

From here we will go to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Florida.

Will keep you posted.

Keep smiling,

Cpt Stefano and Admiral Helen

SV Novae – Fountaine Pajot – Salina 48


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