2021 is coming to an end and with the holiday season approaching, Christmas tales often take us to cold and snowy regions. However the Octopus is snubbing Santa Claus this year, and prefers to relax its tentacles in the tropical waters of the Caribbean!
It is therefore to Marie Galante that he takes us today, in the company of Patrick, an early Navily user and seasoned sailor in the Caribbean, who fell in love with the French island !
COVID-19 in the Caribbean Sea
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The Blue icon with a control agent represent the only option(s) for clearance on the Island.
Marie Galante : The forgotten paradise
The island is a gateway to the Caribbean and was the first to be discovered by Christopher Columbus! Enchanted by the landscape that stretched before him, he named it after his flagship, Maria Galanta.
Located thirty kilometers east of Guadeloupe, Marie Galante is a young atoll that emerged from the depth of the ocean a few million years ago. It is a sanctuary for biodiversity where a slow-paced human activity takes place. Revolving around sugar cane, fishing and small-scale tourism, there’s a unique authentic atmosphere on the Island.
Heavenly beaches (the most beautiful in Guadeloupe), local rum at 55%, bucolic hikes in wild lands and scuba diving adventures, you will experience an authentic Caribbean journey, on an island spared by mass tourism!
Weather : No surprise, it's tropical!
With no less than 27 degrees on average over the year and water as warm as 28 degrees, Marie Galante is a tropical paradise. The dry season from January to May is certainly the best time to sail on the island. The wet season is characterized by heavy rainfall and hurricane risks with trade winds blowing regularly in the Caribbean.
4 good reasons to visit Marie Galante (with Patrick's advice)
1- To visit to local distilleries and Rum tastings
Of course, we come to Marie Galante for their exceptional rums. One will say it is often the case in the West Indies, but the lack of tourism infrastructure on the island has left a free hand to sugarcane cultivators who still harvest with ancestral techniques.
These characteristics participate in Marie-Galante Rum illustrious history, considered some of the best in the region.
So do not miss a visit to the Poisson distillery (and its famous father Labat), Bellevue (for its mills) and finally Bielle, the most popular on the island. 30 degrees in the shade, 90% humidity and a holiday vibe in the air … Would you like to taste the rum? With moderation… of course.
2- Breathtaking hike to the Gueule Grand Gouffre in the north of the island.
At first glance the name is puzzling, but it is a natural site that should not be missed on the island. 5km from Saint-Louis (1 km from Anse Canot anchorage) on the north coast of the island, you will find the famous Gueule Grand Gouffre.
You will reach the site by taking a steep road that leads to a small stone path. When you reach the top, you will appreciate the awe-inspiring spectacle unfolding in front of you.
La Gueule Grand Gouffre is a gaping hole 50 meters deep formed into the Caye Plate cliff during a landslide. It rejoins the ocean by an arch shaped by erosion in the porous limestone rock. In strong weather, the waves crash against the cliff and penetrate the pit, giving place to a symphony of sprays of water rising tens of meters into the air!
There is no doubt that at the Gueule Grand Gouffre, you will then realize with humility how majestic nature can be when it is rebellious and wild. A unique spectacle not to be missed
3- Relaxing on the paradise-like beaches of Marie Galante
Undoubtedly, boaters visit Marie-Galante to relax on one of its many paradisiacal beaches. Wild and preserved, they represent all the charm of an exotic dream, bordering the coves and tropical forests of the island’s south and east coasts.
Moustique Beach, Vieux Fort, Anse Bambou, Anse Canot as well as Anse Ballet, are all to put on your list to ensure you enjoy the most beautiful beaches of Marie Galante.
All nice and dreamy but the best is yet to come! Marie-Galante remains an intimate destination little touched by mass tourism. Therefore, you will enjoy the ‘deserted paradise beach’ atmosphere, unique to this island, in total peace. Rare, for the least in the region.
4- Diving in the colorful and blooming coral reefs
Marie Galante offers access to numerous dive sites where you can meet and observe the teeming aquatic flora and fauna for these tropical waters.
For beginners as well as experienced divers, Marie-Galante offers a diversity of experience in several key sites.
Tico, Le Jardins de Corail, Grande Ancre, Bara or even the Aquarium, are all sites where you will come across effervescent marine flora and fauna! Indeed, large colonies of coral line the seabed where lime fish, scorpion fish, anemones, barracudas, stingrays and many others roam.
The most impressive sight are the colonies of sea sponges that populate the island’s reefs in a colorful and peaceful aquatic ballet! A true diving paradise very popular amongst scuba diving enthusiasts.
In late spring, you will be lucky enough to observe Humpback whales closely with their offspring. They stop in warm tropical waters before resuming their long migration through the world’s Oceans.
The best anchorages in Marie Galante
Anse Canot is a superb anchorage, very well protected and perfect for spending the night (can be a bit rolling in an east wind, but nothing too unpleasant). The wild landscape that lies before you is simply magnificent. The cliffs covered with a thick green coat overlook the long white sandy beach bathed in transparent waters. It’s something out of a Robinson Crusoé novel!
The seabed is made up of sandbanks and seagrass of good holding which makes it a safe and comfortable anchorage.
At Anse Canot, take advantage of the beach and have a swim in its crystal-clear waters. Some barbecues are also available in the background and you will certainly enjoy the company of wild dogs (very nice) during your visit ashore.
Finally, strategically placed along the west coast of the island, Anse Canot is the ideal starting point to enjoy the neighboring beaches of Moustique and Vieux Fort or swim in the turquoise waters of Anse Bambou. In addition, the Vieux Fort beaten path will lead you on a hike to the North and the Gueule Grand Gouffre (1h30 one way). A view that’s worth the walk, as Patrick mentioned earlier!
Our next anchorage is further south, at Anse Ballet, where you will enjoy an immaculate natural setting bathed in absolute calm … A dream come true for any adventurer!
It is a picturesque wild anchorage in the south of the island. Thick vegetation borders a long pristine beach bathed in shallow waters forming a magical tropical scenery.
You will anchor easily in the shallow sandbanks of the anchorage. The crystal-clear waters will also allow you to distinguish it effortlessly. Protected only from easterly winds, it is a popular anchorage in calm weather during the day. For the night it is safer to leave it and reach the protected bay of Saint Louis a few miles away.
The main activity at Anse Ballet comes down to enjoying the scenery, swimming in the 28-degree water and taking a relaxing nap on a beach worthy of “Cast Away” (don’t try to find Wilson, others have tried before, it is not there).
‘’ What a beautiful secluded beach! We anchored easily and were alone. We figured there wouldn’t be enough protection to get through the night, so we put the engine up to St. Louis for the night. We were accompanied by dolphins the next day towards Guadeloupe. “
Carla on Singing Frog
La Baie de Saint Louis
Finally, the Bay of Saint Louis is certainly the most popular anchorage in Marie-Galante, and for good reason : it is the perfect anchorage to drop anchor and visit the island (on the advice of Patrick and the Navily community ).
You will still enjoy the magical setting of this tropical island but in more comfortable conditions (better wind protection and accessibility to many amenities).
You can take one of the free mooring buoys at the anchorage but be careful, they are not well maintained and it is good to follow Reva’s advice for safe anchoring.
‘’ Please note, orange buoys are free but not maintained, some chains are 3/4 rusty! I recommend either passing one end through the mooring ring or mooring at anchor. South of the quay there is a pontoon for tenders. “
Reva on Pirate Solo
Well anchored and protected from easterly winds, you can enjoy the anchorage and its many amenities on land. A pontoon allows you to dock the annex to set foot in Saint-Louis, a small town with unspoiled charm, where you will find shops to refuel.
You can also rent scooters to explore the rest of the island, enjoy good meals in the few local restaurants and have a drink at the local beach bar, Chez Henry.
It is the ideal place to undertake the main attractions in Marie-Galante, knowing your boat is safe and sound.
To complete the charm of the anchorage, every Saturday at 10 am, a wild regatta is organized where everyone is free to participate. A great memory engraved in the minds of the boaters who stopped there.
There is no doubt, the Bay of Saint-Louis is the perfect place to stop at Marie Galante, and it’s not Patrick who will tell us otherwise. Anchored in Saint Louis during his stay, his feet in the sand Chez Henry, he summarizes his trip to the island of a hundred mills:
“Marie Galante, I fell in love with her! The charm of its coastline from paradisiacal beaches to steep cliffs, the authenticity of its culture and its tranquility make Marie Galante a destination apart. An exclusive paradise for sailors and adventurers in search of authenticity and peace’’.
Patrick on TokTok
It is usually heavy hearted that boaters leave the coast of Marie Galante.On our side, Its authentic charm has capsized the heart of the Octopus who will spend the holiday season there.
Happy Holidays and Fair Winds Captains.