On the Leeward Coast (Côte-Sous-le-Vent, or the Golden Corniche), is the Underwater Reserve developed by Jacques Cousteau. Nautilus, from Malendure beach, S of Mahaut, black sand, T 988908, F 988566, is a glass-bottom boat which takes you round the marine park, departs 1030, 1200, 1430 and 1600, 80F adults, 40F children 5-12 years. The boat anchors for about 15 mins off Ilet Pigeon for snorkelling, but it is rather deep to see much. In wet weather the water becomes too murky to see anything. The boat is often booked solid by cruise ship visitors.
There is a créole restaurant on the beach where you can eat while waiting for the boat. Diving trips can be arranged at Les Heures Saines (T 988663) at Rocher de Malendure, or Chez Guy (T 988172, friendly, recommended for beginners' confidence, 140F for one dive, everything included), at Pigeon, Bouillante. Both also offer fishing trips as do Fishing Club Antilles, T 841500, Le Rocher de Malendure, T 987325, and Nautilus Club near Bouillante, all around 4,000-4,500 F per boat for a full day. Caraïbes Peche at Marina Bas du Fort, offers deep sea fishing or day trips with barbecues and fishing along the way, T 909751, 956726.
Papyrus, Marina Bas-du-Fort, Pointe-à-Pitre, T 909298, is a glass-bottom boat which runs excursions through the Rivière Salée and the mangroves of Grand Cul de Sac Marin, to l'let Caret and coral reef off the NE coast of Basse-Terre. The Paoka also does this trip through the mangroves from Lamentin at the Ginature centre at La Boucan, T 25-74-78. Alternatively, contact the National Forests Office who have an information centre behind Le Raizet airport at Abymes. Most of the hotels on the seaboard offer windsurfing for guests and visitors, and some arrange water skiing and diving courses.
Sailing boats can be chartered for any length of time from Captain Lemaire, Carénage A, Route du Gosier, 97110 Pointe-à-Pitre. With a crew of 3 the cost works out at about US$75-100 pp per day, excluding food, or US$250-300 per boat. There are two marinas between Pointe-à-Pitre and Gosier, and good, shallow- draught anchorage at Gosier. Windsurfers gather at the UCPA Hotel Club in Saint François.