Monday, 1 October 2012 3:47 PM
The Caribbean destination of St Martin is the ideal holiday location for everyone, whether you're a culture vulture or beach bum, or if you love trying your hand at different water sports. Book a yacht charter here, and you can enjoy a little bit of everything.
St Martin is home to 37 white-sand beaches, so there is certainly plenty of coastline for you to tackle an activity or two. Of course, if there is anyone in your party who would prefer to stay on dry land and work on their tan from the comfort of their towel, there is lots of space to stretch out in.
Booking a yachting holiday is an activity in itself, as the sailing can certainly be challenging at times. The summer offers gentler sailing conditions, while things step up a gear or two in winter. Between November and May, wind speeds range from 15 to 20 knots, while they stand between 10 and 15 knots from June through to October.
If you want to charter your own boat around St Martin, you need to have a reasonable level of experience and be confident, especially as the tidal range stands at around 45 cm. You won't need to deal with adrenaline-pumping conditions all of the time, though, as there are also spots of sheltered island cruising.
Away from your yacht, there is an array of water sports you can get stuck into. Scuba diving is obviously one of the most popular thanks to St Martin's crystal-clear waters and stunning aquatic life, not to mention dive sites to suit different abilities.
Indeed, there are more than 45 listed diving sites here, so you will have plenty of opportunity to see the likes of rays, turtles, colourful fish, marine plants and coral. Visibility is an impressive 100 m, so you won't need to go too far under the waves in order to discover exciting creatures.
One dive site you might like to explore is the anchor and cannon of HMS Proselyte. This was a navy frigate that sunk in 1801, but diving below the waves to explore this is only suitable for the more experienced among you. Of course, snorkelling is also a fantastic activity to try, especially due to the water's visibility and abundance of aquatic life that swim closer to the surface.
Some of the best places to swim armed with a mask and snorkel include the coral reefs at Pinal Island, Pelican Kay, Friars Bay and Dawn Beach, so make sure these destinations are on your sailing itinerary.
Another water sport you might like to try when sunning yourself in the Caribbean is windsurfing. While it is a fairly demanding sport, it can quickly get addictive as you learn to make the most of the wind's power. The eastern coast of St Martin is where you need to be, as the average wind speeds here are between force 3 and 4. Nettle Bay, Le Galion and Orient Bay are all fantastic spots, with the latter over 3 km in length.
Deep-sea fishing is another activity to get stuck into on your yachting holiday around St Martin. The destination is surrounded by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, so there is plenty of fish for you to try and catch. The country is home to the world's biggest blue marlin, and if you manage to catch one of these creatures, you will no doubt be encouraged to keep on going for another hour or two. June and July are when you are more likely to catch a marlin, while October is when the wahoo and mahi mahi season starts.
Finally, for a water sport that most holidaymakers can do, regardless of age, hire a kayak and paddle along the stunning coast. St Martin boasts the inland Simpson Bay Lagoon, mangroves and islands, so there is a lot to look at from your kayak. A lovely 20-minute paddle can be enjoyed from the beach at Orient Bay to Green Cay and Pinel Island. If you would like to learn more about the area you are exploring by kayak, book a tour through an organised operator, and you will be led by an experienced guide.