We have become permanent residents at a dock in Basseterre, St. Kitts.
We left St. Barts with the intention of sailing the 40 miles down to Basseterre to spend a couple of days. Then 10 miles to Nevis for a couple of days and then to Montserrat (where you gonna go when the volcano blow?) for another 2 days. According to the plan - that would leave us 25 miles to head up to Antigua - which we could no doubt do on a calm day with some south in the easterlies. That was the plan!!!
|Leaving St. Barts|
We had a terrific sail down to the tip of St. Kitts - averaged almost 7 knots. It was a little bumpier than we would have liked and so when we rounded the northwest point and had to head up into the wind, we decided that motorsailing was a better option than hard-on-the-wind. It took the better part of 2 hours to cover the 10 miles to the harbour at Basseterre. Now, we had heard that the harbour was great, easy to anchor, protected, and all kinds of other good things. So it was disconcerting to get there and find it deserted, with the exception of one lonely boat. We carried on to the Port Zante Marina to have a look. It is not a world class marina but there were a number of boats tied up so we decided to join them.
|Sailing past Statia (Saint Eustatius)|
|Approaching St. Kitts|
|Sailing past Brimstone Hill with the fortress perched on top|
The marina staff, once they finally responded on the radio, helped us tie up and we headed over to the cruise ship dock at Port Zante to clear in - a short walk. We gave our cruising plans to the very friendly Customs and Immigration people and soon we were back on the boat.
The marina is great! It's a little run down but so are we. It is close to town and the cruise ship dock so we can join all the cruisers in their flower shirts and drink cheap beer. Best of all, the daily cost to dock here is less than a mooring ball in the Virgin Islands AND it is rolly and uncomfortable looking out in the anchorage. Not many boats stay out there very long.
|The Circus - modelled after Piccadilly Circus in London|
We joined some cruise ship folks for an island tour. It was a little awkward. Most of the group struggled with mobility so they didn't want to get out of the van. They missed a walking tour of the spectacular Brimstone Hill - the site of the restored Brimstone Hill Fortress. It is breathtaking. And the history is quite compelling. The British were the first to join the native Indians here back in the 1600s. Then the French joined the British and although the French and Brits have not cooperated much historically, they did cooperate in massacering over 2000 natives in 1626 at what is now called Bloody Point.
|At Brimstone Hill - Statia in the background|
|Gun battery at Brimstone Hill|
|Looking up at the gun placements|
|Infirmary, Bakery, Jail, Dormitory, Powder Magazine and more|
The tour included a visit to the rain forest, the plantation homes of the sugar barons, the volcanoes and the popular resorts and beaches. Very informative and fun.
|400 year old Saman tree on the Romney Estate|
|Batik drying at the Romney Estate|
|Emily and John - a young, active couple from the cruise ship - enjoying the best bbq chicken ever at Black Rocks!|
And our new plan??? Well, as usual, the weather isn't cooperating and if we do go down to Montserrat we will have to head northeast into a northeaster - not good.
|South end... Nevis in the background. We will anchor here on Sunday to stage for Antigua|
|Local fisherman provided dinner... about $12|
So we are staying put… enjoying our company… with plans to go southeast with a mild northeaster on Monday. We will miss Nevis… that's OK. We will miss Montserrat but we will sail right by it when we head south so we will get a good look or maybe even stop in. Who knows?
|Going from A to B|