We woke up early yesterday in Anse du Columbier and left heading south back to Gustavia for clearing out of Saint Barts and hitting the post office for some business that needed attending to. We anchored quickly amidst the throngs of boats our size from around the world and I set off in the dinghy to town with our boat papers ready to clear out. Customs is quick in Saint Barts and digitized so despite what one might think by such an upscale island with a French twist they are extraordinarily polite and attentive. Hats off to them! I was back from the post office in an hour having stopped at the Anglican Church circa 1855 to light a candle for Aunt TC who’s feeling sub par in Michigan (can’t hurt, might help!) Kelly retrieved our anchor and off we went heading south in a brisk and building southeasterly tradewind. Full sail close reaching it was spectacular, to say the least. The kids were excited and no one complained of feeling green or bored through the waves as the breeze built and ebbed and built again. Saba then Statia to our starboard with Saint Kitts and Nevis on the bow some 30 miles ahead.
I took the opportunity to sketch various islands from distances well offshore to remember our perspective and was very glad to have done it as one island faded and the next came into focus growing brighter Green.
Upon reaching the north end of Saint Kitts the wind built substantially to the point where we decided it was time to reef the mainsail. Literally minutes after the main reef was tied in smartly the breeze died almost completely and we rounded the point. The wind then switched to our nose and the waves steepened. Sails down, engine on.
Our offshore passage complete, albeit a short one, Kelly and I enjoyed a cold beer as we motored tightly along the western coast of Saint Kitts. Certainly a product of the sugarcane plantation culture in the past we winked and smiled at the names of towns we passed such as Halfway Tree, Sandy Point Town, Middle Island (interestingly located in the middle of the island), Old Road Town, Bloody Point, and Lymekiln Town (guess what they had there?).
We Pulled into Basse Terre, the main port on the St Kitts, and anchored directly in front of town. We shared the anchorage with no more than a dozen sailboats all of which are from other parts of the world with stories I know I’d love to hear. Once we were snuggly anchored I dinghied into customs and cleared into yet another country. This one is independent known as Saint Kitts and Nevis (2 islands, 1 country). Customs paperwork filled out, immigration will have to wait until the morning so we enjoied an evening rolling 30° back-and-forth, dinner literally flying off the table and everyone sleeping hard after a long salty offshore day.
When we awoke no one was feeling off despite the extreme role of the seas in what most of us would not call an anchorage. Quoting Che “I felt like we were sleeping offshore!”
After breakfast I needed to clear immigration and queued up with five of the other captains from our harbor each with their own story of a long sloppy rolly night. English, French, Canadian and American all of us with similar experiences and lives and very diverse backgrounds. All reasons that continue to remind me how lucky we are to be part of such a small club of people exploring the explored world deciding each morning where we want to go because it simply interests us or because it’s just another step on the way to a place we’re wanting to go.
The following day we went on an arduous treacherous 10 mile motor in flat water down the coast to White House bay where we found the only beach bar. Full of the captains and crew (families) of no more than a dozen sailboats anchored in light breeze with big smiles all around. Several families with children, one from New Zealand one from Massachusetts, all swapping stories and experiences, all living aboard on similar adventures, all sharing something that I find hard to explain but always know when I see it. Quinn had his soccer ball and thus a game of sorts -like tag with a soccer ball – in a dusty seaside field was struck up with the children sharing secrets and big smiles and squeals and quite a long period of just adults which was unusual and welcome.
We will be seeing some of these folks again in Guadalupe and then Antigua but for tonight it is Nevis after a long day playing with monkeys and mongoose on St Kitts which Kelly will much more eloquently blog about as will the children. As we say- stay tuned.
We are nearly to Charlestown, Nevis as I am writing this so I’ll sign off and get us anchored for another bout of exploring. I’m looking forward to buying some sort of trinket with “Charlestown” written on it that I can bring back to Charleston because, well why not? I simply cannot conceive of anywhere I’d rather be with my family today.
Stay tuned. Much love!