Sailing trips onboard Delphys catamarans

Martinique.Delphis.mangrove @Hervé Bré-EnezGreen
Martinique.Delphis.mangrove @Hervé Bré-EnezGreen
Martinique.Delphis.mangrove @Hervé Bré-EnezGreen

Relaxing and discovery sailing day between the islets of Robert and Le Francois ; passengers enjoy landscapes between Chancel islet, white depths, coral reef and Josephine's Bathtub.

Your adventure starts with a sailing trip to an enchanting sandy islet

You can join the excursion either at Spoutourne on the Caravelle Peninsula or at the small fishing port of Le François. Once on board, you will immediately set sail to the day’s first destination, the Ilet du Loup-Garou (Werewolf Island). The crew handles the sail boat with great skill and all you are left to do is admire the landscape and the emerald-blue sea, comfortably installed in the large outer cockpit covered by a rigid awning or in the spacious inside the lounge opening on the deck.

The cruise is clearly and accurately presented. After the usual safety recommendations, you will be sensitised to the protection of the environment: shell collection and overboard littering are forbidden! This is an obvious priority to continue enjoying these dream landscapes but it is worth continuously reminding people of this fact.

Within an hour, you will have reached the surroundings of the Ilet du Loup-Garou, a stretch of sand with two coconut trees and some vegetation, the penultimate dream of every city dweller living far away from the tropics! It is actually a deposit of madrepore coral sand on a rocky bed and doesn’t form part of a reef area. The seabed is amazing and it is unfortunate that there is no fixed mooring in the surroundings to avoid the use of anchors that are damaging to the underwater flora and fauna. However, it is worth noting that the municipality of Robert is gradually equipping the numerous islets within its precinct with proper moorings.

Every year, sea turtles visit the shores of the islet to lay their eggs.

Step back in time for a journey to Chancel Island

The owners, the Bally family, allow visitors to explore part of Chancel Island. You will drop anchor at a spot facing the islet, which has no fixed mooring to date. You may swim to the dry land or use a dinghy, which will enable you to bring along your photo camera and equipment.

The islet is the largest in Martinique with an 80 ha surface area. It is fascinating in many ways and you will find there the vestiges of dwellings and buildings that are evocative of life in the 19th century. You will also discover many plant and animal species, many of which are rare and protected. A number of visitors cross the sea in kayaks to reach the islet. It is also an easy way to access Chancel Island and at the same time discover the surroundings.

This 2 km long and 800m wide islet was sold by the Caribbean Indians in the early 17th century. A sugar factory was set up some time later and a large part of forest was cut down to be used as a source of fuel. A brickyard was also established, the clay soil being very suitable.

One can thus see in the undergrowth the ruins of various buildings as well as the cells where the former slaves were confined at night. Some ancient graffiti including a sail boat has been carved in the interior masonry walls at the time, according to the guide.

The entire Chancel Island is a biotope protection area

Besides the vestiges of the past, which form part of the historic heritage of Martinique, the local authorities have decided years ago to protect the animal and plant species living on the islet. More than 30 species are subject to protection on this small patch of land.

Chancel Island has thus turned into a peaceful place for the animals to reproduce and they find enough to feed on the spot.

The plant species on the islet include soldierwood (Colubrina elliptica). There is also the iguana of the Lesser Antilles (Iguana delicatissima). The sooty tern (Onychoprion fuscatus), the great blue heron (Ardea herodias), the Antillean crested hummingbird (Orthorhynchus cristatus), the bare-eyed thrush (Turdus nudigenis) and the bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) are among the 21 bird species present on the islet and there are at least five species of bats. The Martinique robber frog (Eleutherodactylus martinicensis) is classified as endangered by the UICN. You will easily identify this small frog species endemic to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe by the croaking of the males at night. It is also to be noted that bats are officially protected and it is not advised to take part in visits of the caves offered by some tourist operators as they are a resting place for these animals during the day.

You will most certainly come across some of the hundreds of iguanas of the Lesser Antilles that live on the islet. They can be spotted in the trees as well as on the ground. An egg-laying zone has been established in the centre of the area open to visitors. It makes it easier for the iguanas to dig tunnels of around a metre long to lay up to 24 eggs. The setting up of the egg-laying zone has been financed by the European Community, the Regional Directorate for the Environment (DIREN) and the National Forestry Office (ONF). It has required digging 40 cm deep into the substratum to remove the roots, rocks and pottery remains and a grid has been placed around the boundaries to keep predators away.

A precious and protected biodiversity

This small iguana has found there a place sheltered from pollution and especially from the common iguana (Iguana iguana), the female of which is green and the male grey. The two species do not get along well and their presence on the same territory causes the extinction or hybridisation of the iguana of the Lesser Antilles.

The iguana feeds on leaves or fruit of different local trees such as the manchineel tree (Hippomane Mancinella), the pink trumpet tree (Tabebuia heterophylla), the rain tree (Samanea saman) or the logwood tree (Haematoxylon campechianum).

To ensure the preservation of the species, the Coastline Conservatory has chosen a second site, Ramiers Island, located on the other side of Martinique.

You will be shown the manchineel tree, whose sap may be toxic. It is highly advised not to seek shelter from the rain under its foliage. Coming into contact with the sap can cause dermatitis and ulceration. The tree’s fruits, which are scattered on the ground, look like small apples and must neither be touched nor eaten. The wild olive tree (Bontia daphnoides) – specimens of which can be found by the sea – is considered as the antidote to the dermatitis and ulceration caused by the sap of the manchineel tree. Anyway, the trunks of manchineel trees are marked in red by the administrators of the reserve, which considerably reduces the risk of being mistaken.

Things to remember

A carefully chosen navigation programme ★★

The company offers cruises by the day to one of the strategic places in Martinique. Fans of picture-postcard sea landscapes, passionate visitors about discovering the cultural heritage of the island or advocates of the biodiversity will all find something to their liking during the halts along the way. There are also two snorkelling stops before lunch and towards the end of the day. Visitors are sure to get a good dose of idyllic and unforgettable subaquatic views.

Cruises environmentally friendly and stopover in protected sites ★★

Outside the choice for sailing – sustainable approach by excellence – , the crew is vigilant on the respect of the marine environment and educates passengers on the prohibition of littering and collect shellfish, crustaceans, seeds, etc. The sites chosen for stopovers contain treasures at both the cultural and natural heritage are also officially protected by local authorities. The day is rich in discoveries and open fields on unknown history and biodiversity of Martinique.

Quality sailing boats ★★

Delphis owns two excellent catamaran-type sail boats. These 50 ft long boats are in very good condition and are well equipped in terms of comfort and safety. These ocean-going vessels have been built by a local shipyard which specialises in epoxy wood. It is to be noted that this material is less harmful to the environment compared to bodies made of carbon, aluminium or polyester. The deck plan offers ample space for some 15 people to enjoy the cruise in all comfort. A three-person qualified crew comprising a skipper, a sailor and a foredeck hand ensure safe manoeuvring and navigation.

Our assessment

Landscape / Environment
2
Quality service
2
Sustainable policy
2

Useful Informations

Price « from »: 80.00
* For Adult: € 80 Per child (2 years - 12 years): 50 € All inclusive for the day Masks and snorkels are available reservations required 06 96 90 90 36
Opening period:
All year round