An­tigua, Guade­loupe, Îles des Saintes, Do­minica

Yachts International - - Sternlines - For more in­for­ma­tion: camperand­ni­chol­sons.com

An­tigua, in the East­ern Caribbean’s Lee­ward Is­lands chain, is where Ad­mi­ral Ho­ra­tio Nel­son was sta­tioned dur­ing the 1780s. The his­toric naval base—Nel­son’s Dock­yard at English Har­bour—is unique for its na­tional mu­seum with re­stored of­fi­cers’ quar­ters, cap­stans and ar­ti­facts from Nel­son’s era.

Ac­cess­ing this his­tor­i­cal site is con­ve­nient for many char­ter clients be­cause An­tigua’s V.C. Bird In­ter­na­tional Air­port got a new ter­mi­nal in 2015, with di­rect flights avail­able from many U.S. and Euro­pean cities. The trans­fer from the air­port to the char­ter yacht is less than an hour, putting guests in the heart of not only Nel­son’s Dock­yard, but also such his­toric sites as Shirley Heights and Fort Berke­ley on Day One.

Day Two’s cruise to the un­in­hab­ited Green Is­land for a day of wa­ter sports gives char­ter guests ac­cess to a pris­tine beach as well as en­coun­ters with lizards, her­mit crabs and birds on land—and good snor­kel­ing un­der­wa­ter. The night­time an­chor­age is at nearby Fal­mouth Har­bour, where the ma­rina hus­tle and bus­tle mixes with small and charm­ing restau­rants, live mu­sic into the wee hours and lo­cal joints of­fer­ing fried chicken and ro­tis.

The next morn­ing, cruise to the French is­land of Guade­loupe: a to­po­graph­i­cally di­verse piece of land that, when seen from over­head, is shaped like a but­ter­fly. An­chor on the north­ern end of the is­land in the shel­tered bay just off De­shaies, a fish­ing vil­lage dot­ted with lo­cal eater­ies and bars. Visit a wild trop­i­cal river and a botan­i­cal gar­den. (For fans of the BBC One/France 2 com­edy series “Death in Par­adise,” some film­ing lo­ca­tions are here.) Nearby is Pi­geon Is­land, where the main at­trac­tion is the un­der­wa­ter Cousteau Re­serve. The char­ter yacht’s ten­der can take guests there for div­ing and snor­kel­ing.

Next on the itin­er­ary is Îles des Saintes, a small group of is­lands where the main town is Bourg des Saintes. It has “gin­ger­bread houses” with red tile roofs, restau­rants and shops, all ideal for a walk­a­bout. Linked his­tor­i­cally and cul­tur­ally to Brit­tany, Îles des Saintes feels even more French than the pop­u­lar Caribbean is­land of St. Barths. One well-known bou­tique is Mao­gany, with hand­made fash­ions that of­ten are dyed a dis­tinct in­digo blue.

From Îles des Saintes, cruise to Prince Ru­pert Bay at the north end of Do­minica, which is part of the Wind­ward Is­land chain. Christo­pher Colum­bus “dis­cov­ered” Do­minica in 1493. The French col­o­nized the is­land in the 1690s, and the Bri­tish took over in the 1760s. Do­minica be­came in­de­pen­dent in 1978. Ar­guably the wildest and most ruggedly beautiful rain­for­est is­land in the Caribbean, Do­minica is an ad­ven­turer’s dream. A hike to the vol­canic Boil­ing Lake—rife with water­falls and rivers, and flora and fauna—is mem­o­rable.

An­tigua’s English Har­bour, on the south end of the is­land, was de­vel­oped as a Bri­tish naval base in the late 18th cen­tury. Nel­son’s Dock­yard is the only con­tin­u­ously work­ing Ge­or­gian dock­yard in the world.

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