Lesser An­tilles, Lee­ward Is­lands

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

Whether you call it St. Martin (as they do on the French side) or Sint Maarten (as they do on the Dutch side), this is­land is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for casi­nos, shop­ping and Caribbean re­sort life. Many su­pery­achts base here, which means that ar­rival aboard Me­teor is likely to in­clude a chance to see some of the largest yachts in the whole of the Caribbean.

An­guilla is a Bri­tish ter­ri­tory with clear wa­ter that rings mag­nif­i­cent beaches. High-end re­sorts such as Mal­liouhana, Bel­mond Cap Ju­luca and Cuisi­nArt Golf Re­sort & Spa at­tract the rich and fa­mous. While celebri­ties go to the is­land of St. Barths to be seen, they go to An­guilla for pri­vacy. On An­guilla, the right bal­ance of super chic and slightly funky pre­vails. Singer Bankie Banx’s Dune Pre­serve is a must-visit for that funky vibe (and a rum punch). Sandy Is­land, An­guilla, is an oa­sis of green­ery and palm trees in the cen­ter, with chalk white sand and trans­par­ent wa­ter all around its edges. A beach bar­be­cue is great fun here, per­haps with some beach vol­ley­ball. Next is a sail to the Prickly Pear Cays, which are un­in­hab­ited islets great for snor­kel­ing along a coral reef.

St. Barths (the nick­name for Saint Barthélemy) is the “it is­land” for char­ter clients who en­joy St. Tropez style. There is a hint of Swe­den here too: The French is­land’s cap­i­tal, Gus­tavia, is named for the Swedish King Gus­tav III, be­cause the is­land was a Swedish colony starting in 1784. Many of the street names are still Swedish. Even still, char­ter guests will find plenty of French rosé served dur­ing lunches at Nikki Beach and La Plage Restau­rant, where a mid­day meal can go on for hours and blend into din­ner­time. Pop­u­lar restau­rants such as Bonito, L’Isola and Maya’s have world-class cui­sine, and Gus­tavia’s shops are rem­i­nis­cent of Fifth Av­enue in New York (think Cartier, Her­mès and Louis Vuit­ton). Dur­ing the Christ­mas and New Year’s hol­i­days, Gus­tavia’s har­bor is the place to see and be seen for the yacht­ing crowd.

A respite from the hoopla awaits on un­pop­u­lated Tin­ta­marre, an 80-acre is­land north­east of Sint Maarten. Tin­ta­marre was pur­port­edly a base for sub­ma­rine op­er­a­tions in the 1940s. To­day there are sim­ply un­spoiled beaches and calm wa­ter for re­lax­ation.

An­other op­tion is a sail to Saba, an is­land that con­sists largely of a dor­mant vol­cano known as Mount Scenery. Hik­ing here can be mem­o­rable, and the vil­lage ashore has “gin­ger­bread houses” as well as lovely flower gar­dens. At and be­low sea level, Saba is sur­rounded by a marine park and renowned for div­ing. The is­land has wa­ters that are home to sea tur­tles, sharks and un­der­wa­ter moun­tains.

The horse­shoe-shaped har­bor of Gus­tavia in St. Barths, rimmed with bou­tiques and cafés, can ac­com­mo­date a hand­ful of su­pery­achts at the quay.

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