Harbours and anchorages
This is a list of places we have stayed, and our opinion of them. It is just that, an opinion, clouded by weather, brief experience and the shifting moods of the crew. So taken with a pinch of salty caution, we offer our harbour and anchorage ratings.
Prices are per night for Ty Dewi (48 feet) to boat means that our USB dongle, on a 5m cable hoisted 2.5m above deck, can connect to a free network - usually at the marina.
Click an area to jump to that list:
- Funchal: Funchal marina. €20, free to boat
- This is a friendly marina right in the heart of the capital of Maderia.
- It is relatively small, and there are not many spaces.
- We were berthed along the quay wall, where regular wash and surge made things a little uncomfortable, but not damaging.
The CanarY Islands. Pilot: Canary Islands Cruising Guide, 2006. e-Chart: Navionics 31G. v8.18
La Palma: Santa Cruz, Real Club Nautico de La Palma €15,free in club
- Warning: The Navionics chart shows marina entrance at the wrong end of the breakwater. Enter at the western end, not the east. The pilot book is correct.
- Very small, stern-to berthing with a few visitors spaces
- Fabulous yacht club, and very friendly, contrary to the words in the pilot book
- Close to town and good value
- Slight swell works in through the harbour
- Tenerife: Las Galletas, Marina San Miguel
€30, free in Irish Bar (5 mins walk)
- Warning: The Navionics chart does not show this marina at all and the pilot book gives no chartlet. Entrance is simple in daylight but do not attempt at night.
- A long way from anywhere except tourist apartment blocks
- Still under construction (Aug 2007) and so a bit noisy during the day
- Pricey for what it is, and facilities only OK.
- Very friendly helpful staff, lots of bars nearby.
- La Gomera: San Sebastian, Marina La Gomera €15, free to boat
- Very nice marina a few minutres walk from town, beach and ferry terminal.
- Sheltered, feels very safe, with friendly staff.
- Facilities pretty good, no laundrette but will take laundry and return in evening.
- Amazing population of fish!
- La Gomera: Calle Cantera
- Very dramatic anchorage, sheltered from the prevailing wind
- Ruined cannery ashore, land at the steps and clamber over a broken jetty
- Stony beach, not good for lounging!
- Constant swell, we used a kedge to hold the bow into it.
- Holding may be suspect, thin sand over rock
- La Gomera: Valle Gran Rey (anchored 1/2 mile outside harbour)
- Another dramatic anchorage under cliffs off a stony beach
- Short dinghy ride to town
- Very good beaches in town, sheltered and sandy
- Good bars / tapas / stores in town. Cheap.
- Holding may be suspect, thin sand over rock. Swell here too plus occasional wake from ferries
Clearance: Customs in Antigua are a pain in the b**t. They exist to preserve their own jobs and nit-pick on anything. Get your paperwork as correct as possible, smile, be polite, don't get upset and allow 2 hours. For example, if one of your crew leaves by plane, they must be signed off your crew list. To do this, they must be present with their passport and proof of flight (but only within a day of their departure). An e-ticket reservation caused problems because it had a reservation number but not a ticket number. 'Well, sir, how do I know you haven't made a reservation then cancelled it and are going to stay on the island?' 'Because, you daft civil servant, if I was trying to break the law I'd not be on this list in the first place and certainly wouldn't be standing here in front of you now....'
- English Harbour $EC4-8 (at anchor = about £1.50) ,free locally
- The iconic caribbean landfall for British sailors. Containing Nelson's Dockyard, a well restored and working Georgian dockyard, now catering to yachties, particularly the well heeled owners, crew and clients of anything over 80feet long and with bling lighting all the way up the mast(s)
- Very well sheltered, with three or four good anchorages and space alongside at reasonable rates
- Pretty much all the services and supplies you could ever want....
- ....at a price, those superyacht folks don't care about how much it is.
- For free either walk out of the dockyard to a small bar, coffee shop a few minutes along the road to Falmouth, or dinghy across to Galleons Bay, buy a rum punch at Calabash and talk nicely to Michael.
- Deep Bay
- Long curving beach.
- Wreck in the middle of the approach - don't hit it but if the water is clear, good snorkelling
- Big hotel at one end of the bay, but fairly unobtrusive.
- Exposed to gusts in stong winds from the East.
- Hermitage Bay, Five Islands Harbour free from the local resort
- Sheltered if you tuck in close to the beach in 3m of water.
- Beautiful beach.
- New, expensive ($5k per week for two) resort but you can still sit on the same beach and watch the same sunset.
- GuestAccess wifi is unsecured and reaches out to the boat.
- Falmouth Harbour free at the Mad Mongoose
- Not as pretty as English Harbour but....
- You can get everything in Falmouth
- Easy dinghy access to the supermarket, laundry, bars, chandlery
- Big, sheltered bay with no shortage of anchoring space
- Mad Mongoose bar has happy hour 4pm-7pm! Beers and punch $5EC. Also free wifi with power sockets at the tables, everyone Skypes from there.
- Jumby Bay, Long Island
- Apparently one of the most beautiful bays in Antigua and home to an expensive, exclusive resport
- Very pretty, but highly developed on the shore
- The resort ferry runs constantly and seems to be briefed to dissuade yachts by buzzing them close by with maximum wake.
- Dinghy across to Maiden Island to enjoy crystal clear water a couple of feet deep over a beautiful reef.
- Great Bird Island
- Wonderful, out of the way, quiet and undeveloped anchorage
- Nice snorkeling, lovely beaches, walk up for views of the Atlantic
- A bit too popular with the day trip boats but quiet in the mornings and evenings
- Parham Harbour
- Quiet, almost no other yachts
- Nice view of the sunset
- Pleasant stroll through the village
- No provisions here bar a tiny local store
- The other end of that darn Jumby Bay ferry
Clearance: Don't forget that Monsterrat has been devasted by a volcano and little of the original infrastructure is still in place. It's a work in progress. That said, I suspect that it wasn't the most efficient island in the first place. Customs clearance was easy, they clearly want as many visitors as possible. Immigration was simple too, once we'd bumped into the policeman at the dock - he was putting the police launch back on it's mooring and had fallen in the sea but once he'd changed his boots he strolled with us to the immigration office and happily stamped our passports.
- Little Bay free at the Green Monkey Dive Shop.
- A small, rolly anchorage with limited facilities. Supposedly calmer water March-June.
- Beware the wrecked barge to the south, and the channel for the cargo ships to the North. There's space for about 6 yachts between.
- Very friendly people make up for the difficulties of the anchorage
- Sam Sword, taxi driver and guide, radioed us on 16 before the hook was down! His keen-ness won him the business and $120US bought us a tour for 6 people, 4 hours, to all the intersting bits of the island. It's good to put some cash back into this struggling economy.
Clearance : I never thought I'd say this, but the French bureaucracy is remarkably efficient. A single form for clearance and immigration, five minutes and a friendly smile. No need to check out either, unless you change the date of departure. Phew.
- Deshais free if you look for it but slow. Only one commercial, pay for hotspot on the waterfront.
- Sheltered bay, plenty of space, good first landfall from Antigua or Montserrat
- Great selection of stores and bars along the waterfront
- French bread and patisserie!!!
- Very 'civilised'
- A bit far to a decent beach
- New currency needed - euros here.
- Point a Pitre in various cafe's etc, didn't find a free one but very cheap in little cafe at the marina
- Lots of places to anchor, fairly calm
- Marina (Bas de Fort) nearby with all facilities
- Quite nice town, a little scruffy but with supermarkets and all the other stuff
- Ferries, cruise ships and motor boats constantly making wakes
- Not a place to linger
- Ilet du Gosier
- Beautiful little island an hour from Point a Pitre
- Nice beach, interesting lighthouse, little bar on the island
- Bumpy anchorage, not recommended for overnight unless it's calm
- The world and his girlfriend turn up at weekends and anchor their motorboats just where you'd like to swim
Guadaloupe - Iles De Saintes (The SaintEs)
Clearance: As for Guadeloupe, apparently you can clear in and out at the Marie in Bourg De Saintes - we cleared in Pointe a Pitre but others said the Marie was easy and friendly.
General: The Saintes are a perfect stop to shorten the distance between Guadeloupe and Dominica. They are also worthy of a visit in their own right, a delightful group of little islands with good anchorages and friendly people.
- Bourg De Saintes in the internet cafe, upstairs above the ice cream shop - turn right from the dinghy dock and walk 100 yards.
- Very pretty anchorage, plenty of space and shelter
- Most facilites easily available in the village
- Very nice dinghy dock
- Great walks out of town to the other side of the island (20 minutes!)
- Visit Fort Napoleon, very good views, iguanas and a botanical garden
- Ferries again, from about 7am to 7pm but quiet otherwise
- Still expensive, it's French.
- Pain de Sucre
- Lovely quiet spot behind a mini-piton like rock
- Very nice snorkelling and beach
- No facilities but you can easily go round to town in the dinghy
Clearance: Fairly straightforward once you have found the customs office (A long way from the anchorage in Portsmouth - a boat boy can be useful here for $20EC, take you, bring you back and show you where customs is). Clearance is valid for 14 days without need to clear out again, longer and you need to visit again before you leave.
General: Boat boys are everywhere. Take your pick and be choosy. I suggest avoiding fruit / veg / fish / courtesy flag salesmen, go into town for better at much lower prices. Water taxi or running lines ashore is worth paying for sometimes, no doubt.
- Portsmouth in the Purple Turtle, $10US for 24 hours
- Pretty much the only place to stay for a few days in Dominica - Roseau is more exposed
- Nice beach and great bar, The Purple Turtle
- Fort Shirley is fantastic, make sure to walk to the ruined Commandant's Mansion
- Most things available in town, though grab a bus to get up to a half-decent supermarket
- Loud music till the early hours
- We anchored no problem but know of a boat who took a mooring only to find it coming adrift from the seabed - there is no need to use a mooring buoy
Clearance: It's French - it's easy (in Fort de France, go to Sea Services chandlery and do it all by computer) but do make sure you do it. Customs (Les Douane) are vigilent and did once meet us at sea to ask the usual questions. (They have a 35ft red motor boat, usually three people). We also saw them motoring around the Fort de France anchorage with a clipboard and boarding yachts not on their list.
- St Pierre
free in excellent café, turn right from town dock. Café also has customs check in computer.
- First, or last, stop coming from, or to, Dominica
- Fascinating city with a tragic history - destroyed in 1902 by the volcano of Mt Pelée, 30,000 people killed
- Plenty of space in the anchorage, but a narrow shelf, you have to get close in before it reaches 20m
- Very open to rolling in any swell
- Fort de France
free in a cafe just beyond Sea Services chandlery - their coffee is good but not cheap!
- A secure anchorage close to the centre of town
- Great for supermarket and all other services
- Ferries again, rock, rock, roll
- Anse Noir
- Very small but sheltered anchorage with fantastic snorkeling
- Walk up over the hill into the next bay for a beer in the fishing village
- Why does this bay have black sand and the next, just fifty yards around a small headland, have white sand?
- The wind shifts all around the compass as gusts come off the cliffs or down the valley. Make sure you have swinging room
- St Anne / Marin free in café - turn left from the dinghy dock
- Huge, sheltered harbour at Marin, and long stretch of beach at St Anne
- Marin - All imaginable yacht services and the supermarket has a dinghy dock!
- Interesting walk up to the shrine in St Anne
- St Anne is a lovely little village with good basic services