Before sailing to Antiqua we stopped at the west side of Guadeloupe at the anchorage of Malendure beach. Close to the town of Bouillon. Quite a busy anchorage. From here we went snorkelling at Pigeon Island. These tiny islets were first named ” islet of Goyave ” and it’s only in the 17th century that the islands get the name “Sieur Pigeon” from its original owner and pioneer of the sugar cane industry in Guadeloupe. The savage island is situated at about 1 kilometre in front of the beach and shoreline of Malendure beach in Bouillante Guadeloupe. It has a total of 8 acres and is split into 2 islets that make up the Pigeon Islands today also know as the Cousteau Reserve.
The diverse vegetation on the islands are very dry and are dominated by the deadly tree the Manceniller. There are other trees like the local pear tree and the frangipani. Most of the biodiversity is very robust here and have very thick leaves. It is a wonderful experience walking around and snorkelling in these waters. There are so many unique things to see that it doesn’t compare to what you see on the mainland.
The Pigeon Islands form a nice environment. There is a very diversified marine a land life that is unique to this area. Volcanic rocks are home to this rugged land and with different species of corals. There is an intense diving influence in this area also due to it’s booming tourism industry. This success does come with its consequences as for the marine life and vegetation taking a steady hit. In order to preserve this precious and special area, it has been classed the “heat of the park reserve” in 2009. Which gave the islets protection rights and more action to preserve its waters and land features.
The natural beauty and marine richness make the islets one of the most visited areas on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. There are many other fun activities to do here. You can go on different discovery dives for around 40 to 50 euros and go on shipwreck dives for a bit more. You can go kayaking from the beach of Malendure to the islets and spend the day kayaking in and around these rich warm waters. You can rent your kayak for a few hours or for the day for around 20 euros to 30 euros. You can stop any point you want and go for a discovery swim or snorkel adventure if you want. There are also guided snorkel tours for around 20 euros per person and you can rent out snorkel gear from any one of these places for about the same price.
Back in 1974 when the late diver the Commandant Cousteau used this backdrop for his movie “The silent world”, he petitioned that the site should be protected for its unique marine life and biodiversity. You can find a bronze statue in about 12 meters of depth, sunk in his honour for all his efforts that he put in. Artificial harbours have been put in place in order to protect this beautiful area when diving boats approach the islands. Diving companies have signed a chart stating that nature will be preserved and protected at all times. Want to know everything about this special dive site? Follow this link!
We did not do any diving here. We snorkelled around. When it’s not too busy you can tie the dinghy to one of the mooring balls. But when the touristic boats come you have to go. It’s easy to throw out a small anchor. The water is crystal blue and the sight was good that day. But we were not really impressed by the marine flora and life. Did not see a lot of fish and lots of dark corals.