May 3rd, 2017
The Petite Terre Isles were so lovely. I saw them on the chart but dismissed them out of ignorance.
Then my great sailing friend Peter Wraa invited me to meet him and his latest crew in these little lost and protected islets. It would be a hard 5 hours to windward across a shallow shelf and short choppy seas, for Peter it was a long but fast sail down from Antigua.
Twin islets with a just a 7 foot bar for an entry between the two.
Entry during a northern swell is forbidden as the bar is completely closed out by breakers. However, it was calm on our arrival – simply the most shallow entrance bar Ad Astra has crossed.
We took one of the 13 moorings that the French National Park system provides. Absolutely no anchoring allowed. For the 13 possible moorings there are 4 full-time rangers stationed on the islands.
There were so many rules on the island, you could not do much more than swim or snorkel in specific zones, or relax on the beach. I even got busted for flying the drone!
The water visibility was excellent, the fish super plentiful.
When Max and I went snorkeling I stopped counting large lobsters at knee depth after I reached 70!
Now I understood the value of all the rules. With strict French protection I got my first understanding of what life in these Caribbean reefs must have been like for millennia. Now most reefs are dying from bleaching, overfishing, lionfish, and silting from urban runoff.
The scariest fish I have yet encountered was a 3 foot diameter Permit Fish with a very ugly jaw and face. When I swam towards it, it turned to face me and swam towards me! Oh shit! Never mind buddy, you are not like the other fish – you win!
I took a walk to the lighthouse…
… along this beautifully shaded path…
On the bigger island there were so many green iguanas that if you kept your eyes open and walked slowly you had 10-15 of them in sight at all times. They were so docile they let me get my camera lens up very close. We had a very easy downwind passage where Max was my first mate as Kyle was away in Texas and it was his first time helping me fly the big green genekkar.
Check out even more Dragons here: https://bethkania.smugmug.com/ThereBeDragons/