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Grenada to the Virgin Islands, A Cruising Guide to the Lesser Antilles: Book Review

By doina — last modified May 23, 2008 02:20 PM

Published: 2008-05-23 14:20:09
Topics: Books,Charts and DVDs
Countries: Anguilla , Antigua & Barbuda , Aruba , Barbados , Bonaire , British Virgin Islands , Cayman Islands , Cuba , Curacao , Dominica , Dominican Republic , Grenada , Haiti , Jamaica , Martinique , Montserrat , Saba , Sint Maarten , St Barts , St Kitts & Nevis , St Lucia , St Martin , St Vincent & the Grenadines , Statia , Trinidad & Tobago , Turks & Caicos , US Virgin Islands

Grenada to the Virgin Islands
A Cruising Guide to the Lesser Antilles
Jacques Patuelli
Second Edition 2007
Imray Publishers
ISBN 978-184623011-0
Rec. price £30

For many years the age old division between French and British seafarers was also reflected in the cruising guides they used. Nowhere was this more obvious than in the Caribbean where English speaking sailors would be guided by the books of Chris Doyle while the French sailors preferred their own Jacques Patuelli. But change is on its way and the success of the English version of Patuelli’s cruising guide is shown by the publication of a second, much improved edition. One advantage of this guide is that it covers in one volume three areas dealt with separately by other publications: the Leeward, Windward and Virgin Islands. One strange omission in Patuelli’s book is that of Trinidad and Tobago which geographically also belong to the Lesser Antilles.

As with all Imray publications, the charts and harbour diagrams are of the highest quality and so are the many photographs, the aerial photographs of islands, bays, anchorages and their approaches being extremely useful. Equally helpful are the author’s detailed pilotage directions. At the end of the description of each main island is a box with practical information, the omission of Vigie airport next to St Lucia’s capital Castries, so very useful for short-haul flights, being one small criticism. This reviewer would also take exception to the description of that most Caribbean phenomenon of a steel band “… some restaurants… sullied with the polyphonic and metallic percussion of a steel band” (page 133). Steel bands are indeed a feature of the English speaking Caribbean and may not appeal to the French taste but is their unmistakable lively sound that most people associate with those sun-kissed islands.