For many visitors to the Caribbean the escape from February weather is one of the primary motives. In northern climes February is the worst month; freezing temperatures, ice, snow, short daylight hours and long nights. The Caribbean is different; balmy temperatures, sunny days, blue seas of many hues and brisk trade wind breezes – not forgetting copious varieties of rum at giveaway prices. ‘Head south until the butter melts’ has been a mantra for yachtsmen for decades. When you cross the Tropic of Cancer you’ve arrived; when you reach 18 degrees, 30 minutes north you’ve really arrived. Yep, you’re at the latitude of the BVI, the land of Foxy’s, the land of Treasure Island, the land of Cheeseburger in Paradise.
Continuing south, Anguilla is another gem, with popular entertainer Bankie Banx playing his unique style with slide steel guitar rhythms. You might even see the famous local boat racing.
Saba rises out of the sea like Shangri-la. Its clean and tidy appearance is typically Dutch and the impossible cliffside buildings, roads and infrastructure will take your breath away.
St Martin is the home of fine dining in gourmet French restaurants. St Maarten, the Dutch side, is noted for its mega yachts and duty free shopping. Nearby Saint Barth offers similar luxury.
The nature island of tropically rain-forested Dominica is exceptional and is famous for stunning waterfalls and mountain hikes.
Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua, is particularly loved by English sailors who hold Britain’s greatest naval hero close to their hearts.
Charlie has sailed the string of emerald isles several times and loves the unique attractions. There’s plenty of history: visit the fort at Brimstone Hill in St Kitts and then Les Iles des Saintes. The important British victory at the Battle of the Saints that secured British control of the Caribbean is displayed in the local museum. History tells us that it was The Treaty of Paris in 1763 where the French agreed to take control of Martinique and Guadeloupe in return for relinquishing Canada. Unbelievable in today’s world, but when sugar was king …
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are particularly desirable with the old whaling island of Bequia. The Tobago Cays are a snorkeler’s paradise and Grenada at the southern end of the chain is known as the Spice Island.
And there’s more, much more.
Charlie fell in love with the Caribbean years ago for the vigorous sailing, hedonistic pleasures like wine (rum), women and song and the unparalleled beauty both above and below the water. The sea is a salve for many ills and for those who choose a lifestyle of sailing, the Caribbean offers fishing or collecting the fruits of the sea as well as a cool sea bath every day and a new anchorage whenever you like.
Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.