Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 82
February, 1998

Last Update 31 Jan 98

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GRENADA TO ST.LUCIA: ISLAND HOPPING IN THE SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN BY TOM CARROLL

Trip 8/97

Our  visit  to  Mustique  by sailboat in August, l997 was recounted in
the  January,  l998 CTR.  We continued  south to Grenada where we laid
over  a  few  days  and  then  sailed  back to Martinique our point of
origin.    Throughout our travels I was reminded of  the vagabond ways
of   liveaboard  sailors  whom  we  would often see in the anchorages.
These  folks  meander  the Caribbean at their own sweet pace venturing
where  they  want  when they want.  Most of these sailor-travelers are
retirees  or  drop  outs with a sprinkling of stock market wunderkinds
and  perhaps  one  to two of  America’s Most Wanted.   For now, though
certainly  not forever, I am confined to a snapshot of  their enviable
lifestyle through these 30 day summer charters.

Traveling Under Sail In The Caribbean

Traveling  under  sail  is  a  wonderful way to see the Caribbean, the
best  way  in  my  opinion.  The  hassle  factor  is  often  seen as a
deterrent.  It  is  pointed  out  that  to  get from point A to B in a
sailboat  without  sinking  requires an investment of time, effort and
resources  to  develop  the  necessary  skills.  This  is true but the
difficulty in learning
those  skills  is  often  overstated  and  is less of an obstacle than
widely  believed.    Of  course,  it goes without saying that one must
also  enjoy  the  sea  and be tolerant of its caprices but both can be
acquired  tastes.   The  rewards  for  a  would-be traveler are great.
For  openers,  the  mere  words  ‘traveling  under sail’ conjure up an
adventuresome  whole which manifestly exceeds the sum of its parts. It
is  more  than  traveling,  sailing or for that matter adventure.   To
travel  under  sail  is to pursue all these things but to do so in the
company  of  grace,  style  and romance.   The term brims, as does the
activity  itself,   with  the excitement and challenge that comes from
reaching out to new horizons and achieving them on one’s own  terms.

Traveling  under  sail,  by  the  way,  is  to  be  distinguished from
sailing.   The latter is undeniably a wholesome activity.  But sailing
for  its  own  sake  attracts  a  zealot  fringe  who  become  wed  to
technique,  mechanics  and  ultimately  to their boats.  Travelers, on
the  other  hand,   properly  view the boat as the platform which gets
them  there, a platform to be properly preserved and never depreciated
but  a  platform  nonetheless.   In  a sense the boat is a means to an
end.  Fisherman  are  said  typically to view their boats this way.  I
confide  this  in  low  tones, however.   Such talk is heretical among
sailors.

But  ephemeral things are not the only reasons to see the Caribbean by
sailboat.   It’s also pretty cheap,  particularly when you usually end
up   with   the  best  waterfront  views.    As  an  added  incentive,
bareboating   costs   drop  significantly  in  low  season  even  more
dramatically  than  counterpart hotel costs.  The boat I rented for 30
days  this  past  summer  would have cost close to $12,000 in the high
season  but  off  season it was $5,000 with discounting then available
for  repeat,   extended  chartering.    That’s  for three berths which
sleep  six  adults   -  -   more  accurately, six contortionists.  Two
couples  and  maybe  a  small  kid or two are more realistic.   Still,
staying  on  a  rented  boat  keeps  lodging  and transportation costs
remarkably  low  for  island  hoping  in  the  southern Caribbean.  Of
course,  it’s  not  altruism  that leads charter companies to the deep
summer  discounting.   July-September  is slow for boat rentals due to
heat,  rainy  season  and hurricane risk.  I’m personally not bothered
by  the  heat  and  for five seasons have been lucky with the weather.
But  the risk is always there during the summer.   This  year the odds
were  with us- - there’s not been a destructive  hurricane to hit  St.
Lucia or points south for decades.

Crew   -  -  indispensable  both  for  sailing and for having fun  - -
requires  getting a helping hand from friends and family.  I generally
have  about  10  or so crew who come for a week or two at a time.  The
crew  varies from experienced hands to those who haven’t yet professed
final  vows of nautical fidelity.  By that I mean not all crew want to
sleep  aboard  the  boat  every  night  - -  like, didn’t you just say
those  berths are for contortionists?  Even their recruiter must admit
traveling  under  sail  does  involve cramped quarters,  the lack of a
comfortable bed and stingy hot showers.  This has
led  to  the  adoption  of  an anti-mutiny strategy  - -  we take land
lodgings  from  time to time.   Plus, there’s a silver lining.  With a
little  negotiating  we  sometimes get to sample the Caribbean’s finer
hotels  under  “walk-in”  rates   -  - rates for unreserved space then
available  - - that beat even the package rates.

GRENADA

We  stayed  at  the Secret Harbor Resort located on Mt. Hartman Bay on
the  deeply  embayed,  scenic  southern coast of Grenada.  The charter
company  maintains  a  marina  there  and  Secret  Harbor is the house
hotel.  We stayed four nights while we prepped the boat for the return
trip,  switched  crews  and did some sightseeing.  Several of the crew
declared  Grenada  their  favorite  of the Windward Islands due to its
lush  appearance,  friendly  locals  and  overall  tourist orientation
although my own favorite was Martinique.

Secret  Harbor specializes in vacation package deals centered on water
sports  and a few days of sailing on a professionally crewed boat. But
it  has plenty of features to keep landlubbers content as well.   It’s
of  Spanish-Moorish  style  with  10-12 upscale cottages, 2 suites per
cottage,  nestled  on  a  superbly landscaped hillside overlooking the
bay.  The  architecture  and landscaping provide privacy for each unit
including  the  porch which affords great views of the bay and marina.
We  found  the  accommodations  and service to be fine. The restaurant
was  ok,  nice for a special meal but a little pretentious considering
the  main  clientele  is  just off the boat.  One day the hotel closed
the  pool  for repairs so the guests got  to swim over at the Calabash
Hotel  a  few  minutes  away.   That’s  another upscale spot with fine
public  areas  and  nice  looking accommodations.   We were rained out
after  only  a short swim so we consoled ourselves by happy houring at
their stylish terrace bar.

Our  party  took  a  taxi-van  for  a  day’s  tour  of  the  island, a
recommended  approach  for  one  day’s  touring  as  the  roads are in
generally  good  condition  but  not well enough marked for rental car
exploration.   The  entire  island  is  remarkably  lush  with profuse
flowers  and  fruit  bearing trees everywhere. Grenada is known as the
“spice  island”  and  in  places  exotic  fragrances  spice  the  air.
There’s  fine  swimming  at  the  base  of Concord Falls.  We had come
prepared  with  bathing  suits  knowing there were changing facilities
onsite.   We  stopped  for lunch in the town of Morne Fendue up in the
northeast  corner  of  the  island  at   Mascoll’s  Plantation House a
Victorian  mansion  now  a  B&B and one of the few restaurants in that
region.   The  house  is  in contrast to the West Indian homes in this
rural  part of Grenada.  It  looks as if it has been transplanted from
the  English  countryside  as  I  suppose  its  architecture  was  two
centuries  ago.   Delightfully  funky sort of spot where we lunched in
the  living/dining  room of the home surrounded by family knickknacks.
Also  visited  Grand  Etang Lake and National Park, a spot high in the
mountains  with  a  misted  freshwater  lake  in  the  dormant volcano
crater.   For dinner one night we went to the main tourist area, Grand
Anse  Beach  on  the  Caribbean  side  of  the  island.  Enjoyed local
seafood  cuisine  at the Coconut Beach Restaurant located on the beach
with  tables  only  a  few feet from the moonlit sea.  Super spot with
great  food,  very  informal and relaxed.  Regretted later that we had
elected  to hole up for dinner several nights at our own  hotel.  It’s
more  fun to explore a bit and we would have probably found additional
spots offering local color in the Grand Anse Beach region.


THE  GRENADINES

While  “Grenada”  and  the  “Grenadines”  may  sound  and  be  spelled
somewhat
alike  the  latter are not diminutive islands belonging to the former.
They  are  distinct  countries.   The  country of Grenada includes two
smaller  islands  to  its  north,  Carriacou and Petit Martinique, but
those  islands  are  not  technically  part  of  the  Grenadines.  The
archipelago  beginning  several  miles north of  Carriacou is known as
the  Grenadines. The  Grenadines are constituencies of St. Vincent and
together  they  comprise  the  country  known  as  St. Vincent and the
Grenadines  or  SVG.   We  called  at all of these islands but I refer
only to those having lodgings of interest.

Petit  St.  Vincent is a small, privately owned island wholly occupied
by  a  resort  of  same name, or PSV.  .And what a super resort it is.
We   anchored   off   its   superb   beaches   and   dinghied  in  for
exploration.    We inquired about seeing a cottage and were treated to
a  45  minute  tour of the island via mini-moke and visited two of the
22  or  so  cottages on the premises.  The cottages are secluded mini-
homes  situated on scattered sites varying from beachfront to hilltop.
The  island  is a full service resort with all watersports and related
activities  on  site.   Judging from the abundance of reefs nearby the
snorkeling  looks  fantastic  especially  near the little sand cays of
Mopion   and   Pinese   which   offer   Robinson   Crusoe   picnicking
opportunities  for  resort  guests.   One  of  PSV’s trademarks is the
semaphore  system  guests may employ to summon staff for drinks, food,
transportation  and  the  like.  Nifty  place  and as one might expect
pretty  pricey.  We  did  not take a room here but it certainly wasn’t
due  to  lack of inviting surroundings.   I believe if I were to do so
I  would  spend  some  time  with an island map getting just the right
location  [hills/beachfront/south  or  north  exposure, etc.]  I would
also  inquire  about  the  last time the cottage of my choice had been
renovated.   One  of  the cottages we saw   -- while a great spot near
the  beach   - - looked  just a bit tired and in need of some interior
revitalizing.   We  mingled  with the guests for a round of happy hour
drinks  and  then followed our custom of returning to the boat  to get
tanked  up  with  our  cheap  on-board  rum.   We returned for dinner.
Actually  it  was  fortunate  we were able to get a dinner reservation
since  resort  guests are of course preferred and it turned out almost
all  tables  were  occupied  even at this off season time. They always
have  a  least  a  few  tables  set  aside for visitors.  We were well
served  a  wonderful  haute  cuisine meal at a very satisfactory table
and  remained  for  after  dinner drinks with musical entertainment at
the bar. Spent the night on the boat. Great spot.

We  stopped  also  at  Palm  Island, a few miles to the north. This is
likewise  a  privately  owned island of about the same size (115 acres
or  so)   occupied  by  a  single  resort with beachfront cottages and
houses/apartments  inland.     We  found  PSV  more  visually inviting
though  Palm  has  an extraordinary beach. Our stay at Palm was brief,
just  for  lunch and a walk around,  too short for a fair appraisal of
the place.  But from what we saw, PSV was our hands down favorite.

Another  place  where  we  anchored overnight for dinner and a looksee
was  Salt  Whistle  Bay on the island of Mayreau, a few miles north of
Palm.   Salt  Whistle  Bay Club occupies much of the beach area of the
Bay,  a  beach  that  regularly  appears  on lists of the world’s most
beautiful beaches as indeed it is.  Its crescent shape makes a
perfect  cove which can only be described in superlatives.  One of the
sailing  guides  for  the  area  describes the beachside restaurant as
“whimsical”  where the “appearance of  the Mad Hatter at tea would not
be  out  of  place”. The author refers to the unique beachfront dining
area.  Each oversized stone table is surrounded by a chest high
booth  with built-in circular bench seats likewise of local stone. The
whole  affair  is covered by its own umbrella shaped thatch roof.  The
effect  is to make each table a sort of open cabana right there on the
beach.   It was a fun spot where the views were magnificent, the local
seafood  well prepared and the evening memorable.  From the restaurant
we  could  see the resort cottages from a distance, 25 or so bungalows
hidden  among  the  palm  trees  on  the  windward  side of the narrow
island. The overall  appearance of the place was A-l.

Next  island  north  was  Canouan.  We had called there earlier on the
southbound  leg. Two crew had jumped ship for the night to take a room
at  the  Tamarind  Beach Hotel located on the beach at Charlestown Bay
where  we  were  had  anchored.   The  hotel  is  part  of  a  complex
consisting  of  two  restaurants,  bar, dive shop and other facilities
that  make  up  the first stage of what is known as the Canouan Resort
Development  an  ambitious  project  to  develop  a  large  portion of
Canouan  with  hotel,   villas, golf course and marina.  As of August,
l997  only  the  hotel  and related buildings had been finished.  They
have  not  yet started the marina project.  We were told that the golf
course  is  nearly  complete  and construction is expected to start on
the  villas  very  soon.  Of course, “nearly complete” and “very soon”
have  special  meanings  in  the  Caribbean.   The  overnighting  crew
reported   that  the  hotel rooms were in fine order, confirmed by the
rest  of  us  when  we  freeloaded  showers  in their room. Dinner and
buffet  breakfast in the main dining room, set outdoors on a sheltered
pavilion  overlooking  the  bay, were top drawer in every way.   There
were  a few Americans in the restaurant but most guests appeared to be
European, principally French and German.

On  the  return trip, northbound, we again anchored in Charlestown Bay
but  everyone overnighted on the boat.  This time we had dinner at the
only  other  resort on the island, the Canouan Beach Hotel, located on
the  beach  at South Glossy Bay to which we were delivered by courtesy
cab.    This  is  an upscale French resort where I believe we were the
only  English  speaking  dinner patrons. We were treated very well but
were  disappointed  with  the  meal, perhaps our expectations were set
too  high  for  the  French  cuisine.  That  night  we returned to the
Tamarind’s  bar  and  ended  up  talking  with  some  locals about the
development plans.  Attitudes seemed mixed with some seeing great
opportunity  and others seeing themselves cut out of the real progress
and  their  way of life destroyed.  One fellow dwelled on the probable
social  implications  of  the  development’s proposed location and the
island’s  topography.   There’s  a single road to the northern portion
of the island.  He predicts the development will end up as a gated
villa/resort  with  the  entire  northern  end  of  the island devoted
exclusively  to  the  development with access by invitation only.  The
development  is  going to divide the island in half  - -  in more ways
than one.

Northeast  of  Canouan  is Mustique. Our travels there were covered in
the earlier article.

Bequia  is  the  northernmost  of  the  Grenadines  [and  its  largest
island].   We  likewise  stopped  there  both  north  and  southbound.
Southbound  we  picked  up two crew who had flown in from Barbados and
stayed  overnight at the Frangipani, a restored inn dating back to the
pretourist  days.  The crew found it satisfactory as we likewise found
the  restaurant,  but  not worth seeking out on our second visit.  The
top  hotel  on  the  island  is  said  to  be  the Plantation House on
Admiralty  Bay  where  we  had  dinner  one  night  with  the European
clientele,   mainly   Italian   here,   and   were  pleased  with  the
surroundings,  service  and  food.   We  took  a  half-day tour of the
island  and  enjoyed awesome views from the hills.  The historical and
cultural  background  of the island is tied in with its early European
settlers,   mainly  Scotch  and  Welsh,   who  were  boatbuilders  and
whalers.   On  our  tour  we  visited  Spring on Bequia, a country inn
consisting  of  l0  or  so  rooms  set up in the hills overlooking the
water.    Our  guide  said  it  was closed just for the off-season but
from  the looks of the place a lot of work would be needed to bring it
up  to snuff.  The Old Fort Country Inn is another place we stopped to
look  at,  a  restored fort used as an inn.  Young romantics who watch
both  sunsets and their budgets might find this place satisfactory but
old  grumps  who  demand  lots  of  amenities  should  look elsewhere.
Overall,  other  islands  in  the  Grenadines  seem to offer more than
Bequia  at  least  for  those in pursuit of the lap of luxury in their
lodgings.    Save  perhaps  the  Plantation  House,  Bequia is pitched
towards  the  traveler  who  enjoys  accommodations  characteristic of
B&B’s  and  guesthouses.  On  the  other  hand,  the main town of Port
Elizabeth  on Admiralty Bay  is a sailor’s delight consistent with its
history   as  a  seafaring  place.   It’s  got  a  multitude  of  fine
restaurant-bars with plenty of stores and marine facilities.

ST. VINCENT

Why  St.  Vincent,  one  of the largest and spectacularly beautiful of
the  Windward Islands, is so undertouristed is best explained by those
qualified  to comment on the history, culture and economic development
aims   of  this  island.   I  will  confine  my  comments  to  my  own
experiences there.

We  did not take the boat to St. Vincent. We left the boat anchored in
Bequia  and  took  the  ferry  across the Bequia Channel to Kingstown.
Most  boaters  who  visit  St. Vincent do it this way.  Many, like us,
are  acting  on  the  recommendations of their charter companies.  St.
Vincent  is  not  considered  to be a place free of worries about boat
and  personal  security  in  harbor anchorages.   Boating publications
carried  allegations of official frame-ups to promote an appearance of
domestic  tranquillity  for  tourism or maybe must to obtain bribes in
two  recent  boating  related  murder  cases,  the  Heath and Fletcher
incidents.   Publicity about those cases chilled many boaters not only
about security but also about the Vincentian justice system.

These  things  deterred  us  from  taking  the boat there but not from
visiting  the  island.   We spent a full day touring Kingstown and the
southern  portion of the island by cab.  I can say without reservation
that  it  was  one  of the more enjoyable days of our entire trip.  We
found  the  island  beautiful,  the  people friendly and proud perhaps
even a little
hurt  by  the  adverse  publicity.  The atmosphere was very Caribbean,
vibrant  and  inviting.   To  the  extent the Heath/Fletcher incidents
suggest   any   general  public  disorder  the  impression  is  wholly
erroneous.   Based  on  what  we  saw  I  would feel fully comfortable
vacationing  there  with the caveat of course that we were there for a
day on what amounted to a guided tour.

We  stayed  pretty  much  on  the  tourist beat, visiting the sites of
Kingstown  including  Fort  Charlotte,  the Botanical Gardens (where a
breadfruit  tree  descended  from one brought to the island by Captain
Bligh  still thrives) and several architecturally interesting churches
in  the city.  We also toured the Mesopotamia Valley, the agricultural
region   and  the  Ottley  Marina,  a  new  marina/shipyard  north  of
Kingstown  which  is  complete but is not in full operation.  Atypical
of  a  tourist’s  beat was my own visit to the Kingstown Courthouse to
watch  a  session  of  the  Fletcher  murder  trial  which was then in
progress.   That  celebrated  case  concerned the murder of a local in
Bequia  allegedly  by  an  American  married couple on their sailboat.
They  claimed  they  had  been framed but their acquittal was based on
insufficiency   of   evidence.    I   thought   there  was  persuasive
circumstantial  evidence  of at least the wife’s guilt.  In my opinion
what  really  helped  their  case  was  less  their innocence than the
desire  of  Vincentian  officials  to  put  closure  to  this  tourism
nightmare.  In  any  event,  there was nothing about the Fletcher case
that  demonstrates  any  kind of crime wave in SVG except perhaps on a
certain visitors’ sailboat.

We  also toured the southern end of the island.  Guesthouses and inns,
mostly  very inexpensive, predominate on the island, most of which are
clustered  on the south shore.  Young Island Resort, the island’s only
true  hotel/resort,   occupies  a  small  island 200 yds off the south
shore  with  30  or  so  cottages  amidst  tropical  gardens  and full
amenities.   We took the launch there and had lunch in its picturesque
outdoor  restaurant.   We walked the grounds after lunch and looked at
a  few  of  the  cottages  on the beach.  The resort has been here for
decades and the rooms we saw were a
little  long  in the tooth but pleasant.  I confess a bias in favor of
air  conditioning  if I am paying 300+ bucks per night but these rooms
had  none  -  -  nor, for that matter,  did the cottages we visited at
PSV where the rates are higher.

An  indicator  of  the  small scale tourist industry is a place we saw
advertised  but  did  not  visit with the imposing name of the Emerald
Valley  Resort  and  Casino.  It  bills  itself  as St. Vincent’s only
casino-resort  but  it  has  a total of only 12 rooms. Before catching
the  ferry  back  we  had  great fun in going to the open market.  Our
cabby  acted  as our negotiator in buying fruits and vegetables at the
market  where  haggling  is an art form.  There’s also a fish and meat
market  at  the  same  location, very noisy, crowded and full of local
color.  Just  as  we were leaving an incident happened leaving me well
disposed  towards  this  island.  I  had  worn  dress  clothes  to the
Fletcher  trial  and  then  changed  at  our  next stop, the Botanical
Gardens,  but had forgetfully left my expensive attire in the changing
room.   A young fellow dispatched by the Gardens came huffing up after
locating  us  by  taxi-radio and running the 1/2 mile from the Gardens
to  return  the  clothes.  I was impressed by the honesty and courtesy
which  was  consistent  with  everything  I  had  seen that day on St.
Vincent.

ST. LUCIA

For  islands  so  close  together  St.  Vincent  and  St.  . Lucia are
radically  different  in  their  approach  to  tourism. St.  Lucia has
numerous  full  service  resort  hotels,  several of the all inclusive
variety  which  offer attractively priced packages.  There’s many more
restaurants  and  tourist  oriented  attractions  than  found  on  St.
Vincent.  In  a nutshell, St. Vincent is West Indian in appearance and
feel   -   with  warts  -   while  St.  Lucia  is  more for the resort
vacationer.   Which is not to say St. Lucia is wartless  -  the armies
of vendors on this island are a pain in the neck.

We  visited  St.  Lucia  both north and southbound, stopping at Rodney
Bay,  Marigot  Bay and Soufriere-Pitons.  We took rooms at the Marigot
Bay  Inn  several  nights.  That was our charter company’s house hotel
at  its  Marigot  Bay base so we stayed there largely for convenience.
The grounds and rooms provided West Indies flavor while the
upscale  restaurant  and pool area offered a resort feeling.   Marigot
Bay  is justifiably called one of the most beautiful small bays in the
world  with  a breathtakingly lovely appearance of white sandy beaches
and  palm  trees.  We  enjoyed ourselves there several nights visiting
the  various  bar-restaurants while changing crews and re-provisioning
the  boat.   We  had  good  times and fine meals at Doolittles and the
Shack, both right on the water.

We  anchored  in  Rodney  Bay and visited the Pigeon National Park and
Fort.  The  grounds  and  restored buildings are well worth seeing and
the  view  from the ruins of the fort itself is terrific.  At night we
passed  up  the  restaurant/hotel  district  for  dinner  on  board (a
mistake,   the   restaurant/bars   in   this  area  are  numerous  and
outstanding).   We  did  go to the Friday night jump-up at Gros Islet,
an  excursion  that  might  not  appeal  to  everyone. The jump-up, or
street  carnival  as  it really is, takes place in a non-tourist local
neighborhood  where  several  streets  are  closed  Friday  night  for
dancing,  carousing  and general merriment.  Beer, bar-b-que and other
refreshments   are   sold   by   wall-to-wall   vendors  and  numerous
bars/restaurants.  The center of the activity was the largest, loudest
amplification  system  I  have  ever  seen  or  heard which played the
loudest  most  raucous  rap/reggae  music  I’ve  ever heard or care to
hear.  The  streets were packed, mostly with locals who were out for a
good  time  at  the  end  of  the  week.  Everybody was getting pretty
tanked  up  by  the  time  we  split.  The younger members of the crew
declared  it  lots  of fun.  I wanted ear plugs. We passed up visiting
the  hotels of the island, most of which are north of Marigot Bay, and
opted for a
day’s  cab  tour  south  to  the  Soufriere-Pitons  area  where we had
anchored  on  our  southbound  leg  but had not taken a land tour. The
centerpiece  of  the  tour  is  the  Pitons  themselves, two stark and
almost  mystical  rock protrusions that tower like sentinels over this
part  of  the island.  They are awesome to see from land but even more
so  from  the  sea.  We  stopped  at  the Diamond Botanic Gardens, the
finest  gardens  I  have  visited  in the Caribbean, where we used the
“private  mineral  baths”  for  a  refreshing  mineral  bath.  Lunched
poolside  at  the  Hummingbird  offering dramatic views of the Pitons.
We   also   visited  the  Soufriere  Plantation  which  is  undergoing
restoration.   When  completed  it  will  offer  lodgings  in the 18th
century  greathouse  which  looks like it will be a superb location to
stay  while visiting the island.  Completion looks to be several years
away.  Thereafter, we continued our trip north to Martinique......

GUADELOUPE BY CHARLES GOODWIN

Trip to Guadeloupe and Terre de Haute (June, 1994)

The  following  is  a  belated  summary  of our trip to two delightful
isles  in  the  French Antilles (West Indies). Both Guadeloupe and its
out-island  neighbor  Terre  de  Haute  (pronounced  "tear dough") are
French-speaking  islands  and  a command of a few key words en Francis
are  helpful--  not  essential,  but  helpful,  especially in Terre de
Haute.

We  (me,  my  wife  and our two non-naturist friends) flew to Point-a-
Pitre  airport from Philadelphia via San Juan. The flight down on AA's
island  hoppers  was  exciting  since  it  flew  near many of the more
frequently  visited islands in the Eastern Caribbean. After landing in
Guadeloupe,  we  picked  up  a "micro" rental at Hertz and headed East
from  the  crowded capital city of Point-a-Pitre, toward St. Anne, the
nearest  town  to  "Le  Barriere  de Corail" (coral reef) where we had
reserved  a  pair of adjacent bungalows. We chose these accommodations
because  of  the incredibly low price ($40/night) and its proximity to
Caravelle  Beach  and  its  CO  section.  (Recommended  in  the "World