I noticed that the windward side of Martinique has a lot of bays inside the barrier reef. Looks a lot like the S. Pacific Islands. our SV is aluminum centerboard and we draw 1 meter. Have any of you spent time on the windward side of Martinique? I read it can be done if you know what you are getting into.
Never been there and don't know anyone who has -- and as I said in an earlier post I've spent 4 seasons in the Eastern Carib. From my overland trips to the windward side of several islands my guess is that most of these bays probably aren't suitable for cruising boats and are accessible only by exposing yourself to a bash to windward in getting there. Bear in mind that in Carib sailing the windward side of islands routinely experience trades of 20-25 kts. It's one thing to sail in the trades with the wind on or abaft the beam, but bashing into them to get to the windward side of an island and then finding your way through a reef to shelter in a spot that probably has the look and feel of a similar bay on the leeward side of the same island......well, it's probably not worth the effort. In short, there are lots of places on the leeward side of islands or in areas that don't require a big beat to windward. In my experience most cruisers in the Carib stick to the leeward side of islands.
One of the issues you'll deal with moving up or down the island chain in the Caribbean is the acceleration of wind velocity when moving between islands. This is especially true with islands with big mountains near their N and S coasts. The islands create a Venturi effect between the headlands on the north and south coasts of two islands. To get to the windward side of an island you often need to beat into 25 or more knots of wind in seas created over a 2000+ mile fetch. Not a lot of fun, believe me.
If you want to see the windward side of Martinique, rent a car.