Leeward Dreams

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A dream of sun, sandy beaches, palm trees, reggae,
joy of life. You can reach the Leeward Islands
(islands of the Lesser Antilles) easily by plane.
Flying off from hectic everyday life and within a
short period, you are in the middle of the world of
unconstrained joy of life, which is so distinct of the
people in the Caribbean. Drift off with reggae and
suddenly no longer walk like the Europeans but rocking like the dark-skinned people in the Caribbean. Tradewind sailing under the southern sun is simply a dream – the wind couldn’t be better for sailing!  The best time to travel is April to May. The frequently brimming anchor bays are usually emptier then. Long days of sailing with taut sails against the wind and waves are rather a rarity with us. Why go for miles if we can anchor at beautiful, white, sandy beaches, have ourselves served really fresh lobster, with a steel band drumming the sound of the Caribbean or the cocktails taste so seductively of the ripe fruit of the Antilles and the rum made here?

Cruise proposal Guadeloupe to Guadeloupe (2 weeks):

Guadeloupe Sainte Anne___________________________________________

Bonjour Caribbean!
Blue ocean, white sandy beaches and the luscious green of the tropical rain forest. In addition, people full of joy of life, French flair and the culinary delicacies of Creole cuisine – welcome to Guadeloupe, one of the most versatile holiday paradises of the Caribbean!
Approaching Guadeloupe: From above, the island looks like a green butterfly bathing its wings in turquoise velvet. The dream beaches of the Atlantic surrounded by coral reefs decorate the one wing; the soft Caribbean Sea gently caresses the other. Even the estuary, La Rivière Salée can easily be recognized. It separates Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre. Grande-Terre is a paradise for sun worshippers and water sports fans who love to meet up between Guadeloupe‘s largest town Pointeà-Pitre and the tempest-tost headland Pointe des Chateaux because that’s where there are 30 kilometres of beach after beach. Gosier, Sainte Anne and Saint Francois are the most well known places of this popular part of the island. The former fishing village Sainte-Anne, where the Vanora is anchored, is the starting point of our cruise.
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Marie Galante__________________________________________________

A first short whip of the sails to Marie Galante. Named after the caravel Christopher Columbus, the oldest island of the archipelago of Guadeloupe; with wide sugarcane fields, peaceful farmer settlements and sleepy fishing villages. Hotel boom and mass tourism have passed Marie Galante without leaving a trace. Instead, oxcarts are still an important means of transport and there are windmills everywhere. The coasts are lined with marvellous, white sandy beaches, wild, unspoiled and washed by clear water; with colourful fishing boats under swaying palm trees.
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We anchor in front of the “Anse Ballet” sandy beach and bathe in the crystal clear water. From here, it is easy to reach the centre of the island, the main town of “St. Louis” which is only 2 miles away.
Marie Galante, the home of sugarcane culture and thus also of distilling rum, where one of the best yet strongest rums (59°!) is produced. There are several distilleries to go round such as the Destilliere Poisson, guided tour and tasting of the rum “Le Père Labat”, the Chateau Murat which, in 1839, was owned by the richest sugarcane producer of the island and today, accommodates an “Ecomuseum”; in addition, ruins of the former windmills and sugar factories are scattered across the entire island.

Iles les Saintes__________________________________________________

We sail on to “Iles les Saintes”.  These are the picturesque islands of the archipalgo of das Guadeloupe; two of them are inhabited, seven others deserted. They surround one of the world’s most beautiful bays; lined with white, Caribbean palm tree beaches and lovely fishing villages with French charm.
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The majority of the 3,000 mainly young inhabitants – blond and light-skinned – are emigrants from the Bretagne and Normandy. Colourful pubs and beach bars characterize the easy-going holiday atmosphere.
A permanent exhibition in “Fort Napoleon“ exhibits ship models of impressive square-riggers, pictures and models of the All Saints’ Battle between the French and the English. A particularly beautiful place to anchor is the bay behind the “Pain de Sucre”. Sea fans, anemones, colourful sponges in the shape of Greek amphorae and huge schools of fish make snorkelling around the Zuckerhut an experience. An easy-going hike along the “Chameau” (309m), the highest viewpoint of the islands is something you should not miss out on. You can see the small islands below, the main town, the silhouette of and the volcanoes of Basse-Terre as of looking from an airplane.

Ile de Gosier__________________________________________________

Depending on the weather, we also sail to the “Ile de Gosier”. A small island with an old lighthouse and beach bar, 500m form Gosier beach and its many hotels. It neighbours Pointe a Pitre.
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Ilets de Pigeon____________________________________________

Along the coast of Guadeloupe, we sail on to the “Ilets de Pigeon”. The islands lie in the Cousteau Marine Park, the diving paradise of Guadeloupe, with its fully intact tropical underwater world. Even snorkelers can watch the underwater world and its colourful fish in shallow water, especially at the reef near the “Pointe de Malendure”.
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Guadeloupe Deshaies____________________________________________

Our next stop in Guadeloupe is Deshaies, a small fishing village on the west coast of Basse-Terre, where time seems to have come to a standstill, as if it were protected from the course of time by the surrounding cliffs. A few small, humble, Creole houses, a few milk and souvenir shops can be found along the alleys of the humble village. A little further north is the “Grande Anse” beach, probably Guadeloupe’s most beautiful one. With its golden sand and its coconut palm trees which reach out towards the sea, it offers us an ideal place to anchor.
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A trip to the botanic gardens of Deshaies is well worthwhile, where you can get to know the entire abundance of the flora of the Antilles. Every bend reveals a new landscape; waterfalls, rapids, overgrown waterfalls, orchids, see roses, lotuses, rare plants… A trip by bus through the primeval forest to the capital, Pointe a Pitre, is an absolute experience.
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Pointe a Pitre is the capital of the island and the lifeline of Guadeloupe at the same time. Here there are many colourful markets and there is a lot of hustle and bustle on the streets.
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Montserrat__________________________________________________

We sail on towards Antigua and pass by the volcano island of Montserrat. The “Soufriere” volcano has fully covered the southern part of the island with lava and ashes. For this reason, the entire southern part of the island is a restricted area for security reasons. However, there are numerous guided hiking trails such as the “Centre Hills Trail” and the “Runaway Ghaut”. If interest arises, we can anchor here in the “Little Bay”. From there, a trail also leads to Rendezvous Bay.
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Antigua__________________________________________________

The first long sail takes then takes us to Antigua. With a supposed 365 beaches, Antigua offers sun worshippers and water sport fans more than enough variety. Yet, even the history of the island sounds appealing. English Harbour, the natural harbour to the south of the island was the largest British naval base in the Caribbean. The corresponding dockyard, Nelson’s Dockyard, was restored with great effort and today, it is the destination for sailors from all over the world. The scenic beauties of Antigua show themselves during a trip over the famous Fig Tree Drive. Over gentle ridges, we pass small villages, old sugar mills, past fields of pineapple, avocados and mangos – and past banana plantations. “Fig Tree” is what the banana plant is actually called in the language of the locals.
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The Vanora anchors in Falmouth Harbour together with a parade of other large and luxury yachts. Here in Falmouth Harbour, at the “Pigeon Beach“, life goes wild during the Antigua Sailing Week (April) and the bands play into the early hours.
Of the many fortifications originating from the Colonial era, “Shirley Heights”, situated above English Harbour, is the most well known. Twice a week, local steel pan bands, limbo dancers, calypso singers meet up for a barbeque with reggae and soca music. Of course, it is also worth visiting the capital of the island, St. John’s with the colourful market, the national museum and the Heritage and Redcliffe Quay shopping centres.
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Depending on the cruise schedule, we can also call at other bays such as Carlisle Bay, Dickenson Bay, Morris Bay, or Harmony Bay. Then we continue towards the south for the last long sail back to Guadeloupe.

Guadeloupe Port Luois____________________________________________

Our last place of anchor is short of Port Louis with its beautiful golden sandy beach “Plage du Souffleur”. Port Louis is also known for its beautiful wooden colonial buildings and, moreover, offers a mangrove nature trail and a long hiking trail along the coast.
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A stroll through the town to enjoy Caribbean flair for the last time. Then say your goodbyes, check out and off you go with one of the feeder flights or directly back to reality, yet taking a lot with you… a lot of the Vanora feeling!

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