If leeward and windward always seem unnecessarily complicated to landlubbers, then pity the poor visitor to Guadeloupe.
As it turns out Basse-Terre is the French equivalent of windward because it is the ‘lower ground’ with regard to the wind. Leeward is generally ‘capesterre’, so why Grande-Terre is called so is another mystery - until it becomes apparent that it is ‘grande’ by comparison to the two tiny Petit-Terre islands just offshore.
But in all of this linguistic confusion there is one shining light of oddity. One of Guadeloupe’s offshore islands is called la Désirade. Why? Because it was the first land that sailors would see on the old Atlantic crossing. After anything up to three months at sea they would be scouring the horizon, longing for any sight of land. La Désirade was literally ‘the desired one’.