A visit to Isle a Vache, Haiti: Nov 2017

An informative report on Isle a Vache.

Published 5 years ago, updated 4 years ago

A slow 3 1/2 day downwind run from Bonaire brought Scratch, my Sundeer 56, to Isle Vache off the Southwest tip of Haiti, on route to Jamaica and Cuba.

We entered Morgan Harbour at sunset using the net published ‘Free cruising Guide to Haiti’ by Frank Virgintino and Navionics charts on my iPad, as we were off my Camp charts on the plotter.

The sharp transition from ocean depth to shore shelf appeared on time and the run around the south, west, and NW corner of the island was in 6-8 m (while shown on the chart to be 8-10 m). The bay itself was shown on Navionics to be very shallow, but in fact, entry to the port of center is a steady 8m to the center of the bay and other yachts go right into 3m near the shore.

Be prepared for the overwhelming reception of canoes, mostly boys and young men wanting to just see, or to work for $15-20 a day, at anything. Everyone has a sob story meriting a few free dollars !?….. They are difficult to get rid of and my partner was sufficiently scared of boarding that we slept in the cockpit that night.

By the next day we realized and were assured that the entire village is honest, there is no thievery and they will only come aboard if clearly invited. The first morning was hectic with the offers of fruit, coconuts, souvenirs, and crayfish. If you can hold out to the second day or so until you get to know a few of the locals, the novelty wears off, and prices not so obviously tourist demands.

There is a local official, William (Jean Villeme Lucius) who will make himself known, take a receipted $10 mooring charge and offer to take your passports for a one-stop entry and exit visit to Immigration in the main island town. He goes by ferry and returns the papers to you the same day. That is the end of bureaucracy and your stay is flexible.

The reported hotels are not very active, just you and the village. Other local information, markets, and towns are in the guides.


  • lots of $1 bills
  • Primary school supplies
  • Basic medical bits, plasters, antiseptic cream, iodine, maybe vitamin pills.
  • Old clothes appreciated.
  • And by far the most demanded item… OLD SAILS…..of any sort and size for the local fishing fleet to adapt and use. Beg them off sailmakers before you come.
  • A real-valued luxury as at many places is old dive masks.

Brian Simm

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  1. March 15, 2019 at 6:14 AM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Wow, that photo is amazing and really captures the essence of sailing, from the masts made of crooked branches to the recycled sails with someone’s old sail numbers on them. Well done and thanks for the report!