Off the French Beaten Path – Illes de la Petit-Terre and Marie-Galante

After the relative excitement of populated Guadeloupe and Pointe-a-Pitre, it was time for some peace and quiet at anchor. Illes de la Petit-Terre consists of two uninhabited green islands protected by reef. A national park has provided moorings (no anchoring allowed to preserve the reef) in between the two islands for cruising sailors.  There are day charter boats that come over from Ste. Francois, and their guests swarm the islands during the day, but after 3:00 – wondrous peace. The snorkeling right off the back of Mira is marvelous, and the hiking on the larger of the two islands is enjoyable, too.

Petit-Terre is not easy for the sailor to reach. With prevailing easterly winds, you must sail directly into the wind for several hours to reach it. Also, if the swells are over 5-6 feet, the waves start to break over the entrance reef and makes entry to the islands dangerous. We picked a fairly good day – winds were just under 20 knots and waves were about 6 feet, but we set off early from Pointe-a-Pitre, and we were so glad that we did!

The breaking waves on the reef were intimidating as we approached Petite-Terre. Even more nerve-wracking was threading the needle between the reef and the shallow beach, as entered the cut.

It was all worth it – as we saw the view inside the cut. In front of us were the crashing waves on the reef that separated us from Africa and on either side of Mira were tropical islands straight from Caribbean posters.

The kids gave us a drone for Christmas, and this was the perfect spot for Glenn to practice. The results are amazing!

The coolest part of Petite-Terre was the sea life that was swimming right around our boat. We usually have to swim or dinghy over to a reef or rocks but, here we jumped off the back of Mira with a snorkel mask, and were treated to spotted rays, turtles and tons of fish!

We spent the next few days – swimming, hiking, sunning, relaxing – cruising and sailing in the Caribbean doesn’t get any better than this!

As always, the sunset off the back porch can’t be described.

We could barely tear ourselves away from Petite-Terre, but we needed to keep moving. We headed southwest to the small French island that is also part of Guadeloupe, Marie-Galante. This island is fairly flat but is thickly wooded and green, with palm trees lining the coast. Marie-Galante is perfect for touring by scooter or car. Traffic is light, and there’s really just one road that circles the island. But, most importantly for us, it is a quiet, unspoiled haven.

We rented a car on a cloudy, drizzly day and saw all of the sights. Quaint colorful homes, rocky cliffs, mangrove swamps, beaches, wooded hiking trails, plantation and distillery ruins and of course, the BEST sunset happy hour beach bar ever – Chez Henri!!

8 thoughts on “Off the French Beaten Path – Illes de la Petit-Terre and Marie-Galante

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