Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Islands That Brush the Clouds

May 26th—St. Kitts
0700hrs. I awoke to Randy starting the motor. Time to leave the fuel dock. We actually managed to walk the boat down the dock and tied her stern too. This marina is in fact not that large. It is a 25 acre site that they reclaimed from the sea. There is a lot of construction going on, but most of the buildings are empty and not too many tourists. To us it looks really over built. A cruise ship does come in once a week.

"Historical Society" Building

We were up all last night, Randy chasing mosquitoes. We’ve put the mosquito netting on all the hatches.

0900hrs. We went to check in at Customs and Immigration. No one was there and we were asked to come back in about an hour. So we went exploring and had a bit of breakfast at “Ballahoo’s” which is a restaurant overlooking the “Circus”.

01030hrs. Back at Customs and Immigration; everything very easy and straight forward. I think we were keeping the Customs official up. He couldn’t stop yawning.

Back at the boat Randy hooked up power so we can treat ourselves to air conditioning. The power will be 30 cents a unit and the water 10 cents a gallon.

May 27th. We’ve gone on long walks today and probably will rent a car tomorrow.
Getting back to the boat around 1800hours, we look out into the Baie and who do we see but La Bete…We hailed them and they’ll come by tomorrow for a visit.

One of the many narrow streets in Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts.

May 28th. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEAN. We love you and miss you and hope you have a wonderful day...We bet you are having Dairy Queen Cake???

La Bete decided to come into the Marina as they had such a rolly night. We met for lunch and on our way back to the boats ran into a tour guide. We will probably go with him tomorrow instead of renting a car. We found out where to do the laundry so that is our main task for today.

1800hrs. We’re ready to move on. What has been a good experience is starting to deteriorate. We can’t sit in the cockpit without locals “hanging” off the rails. It is surprising really because there are always two security guards on at all times and you would think they would ask the people to move on....Oh; one of the guys is a security guard.

May 29th. We’ve had a great island tour with our guide “Junie”. Manon and Gervais (La Bete); along with Steve, Odelkis and Isabela (Seven Bridges) joined us.

St. Kitts is known to the Caribs as Liamuiga; the fertile land.

Junie started our tour in the capital city of Basseterre showing us the highlights which included the prison right down town. We went around the “Circus” which is in the center of town. (Like our old round about that we had at Douglas, Government, Gorge and Hillside intersection) Basseterre has a tall Victorian Clock in the center.

Our first stop was Romney Manor which is a historic 17th Century sugar plantation. We saw the largest tree on the island; a 350year old Saman Tree. The tree covered half an acre. The five acres of garden were gorgeous. We had to watch our step when we got out of the van as it was “raining” Mangoes. The Manor is occupied by Caribelle Batik.

What a great idea for an old wagon wheel.

We watched a demonstration on how the Batik is done. It was not only amazing but truly beautiful.

And then of coarse we had to shop!! The prices were incredibly reasonable.

And for those of you who know me best and my love for gardening I continue to gather ideas.

We could of spent at least another hour in these beautiful gardens.

Our next stop was the Brimstone Hill Fortress; “The Gibraltor of the Caribbean”. It was incredible. We could see Statia to the North but with all the cloud cover it was difficult to see south of Nevis. The fort is now a National Park and is in the process of being restored. It encompasses 37 acres and is the second largest fort (to Haiti’s Citadel) and the most complete in the Caribbean. Junie said we may see the shy green velvet monkeys that had been imported by the French and then released. Junie said there are more monkeys on the island than residents, and there are 33,000 residents.
Unfortunately we did not see any monkeys.

But we can see Statia off in the distance.

St. Kitts is 18 miles long by 6 miles wide. Some say it is shaped like a chicken leg. St. Kitts also has a volcano Mt. Liamuiga which is 3792 feet high and the last stop of our tour was at the “Black Rocks” which are huge lava formations in the sea from Mt. Liamuiga’s eruption.

With me here is Manon, Steve and his family, Odelkis and their daughter Isabela (Seven Bridges) and Gervais.

Friday May 30th.

0800hrs. Went to the Marine Office to check out. No one there. (Yes we checked yesterday to see what time they opened.)
0810hrs. Next on to Customs, no one there. “Try coming back at 0845” we're told. OKAY
Off to the Royal Bank where yesterday when I thought we were getting US dollars we had in fact got EC’s (Eastern Caribbean). Then back to the Marina office and Customs. By 0910hrs we’re leaving the dock and on our way to Nevis.
We’re traveling 7 plus knots (port tack) with La Bete on our starboard beam.

By 01130 we’re on a mooring buoy in 18.7 feet of water
Sorry George lately I have been forgetting to put the lat and longs in for you, so here they are: 17degrees 08910N 62degrees 37895W
There must be 70 mooring buoys here and only five boats. We have taken down the St. Kitts flag and put up the Q.

Nevis looks like a spot we should come back to if we head north next year. We’ve read the island can easily be seen by bicycle. Christopher Columbus named the island Las Nieves because the clouds clinging to the volcano he claimed looked like snow. Nevis’ volcano is named Nevis Peak and stands 1049 meters high. Nevis is almost 15 miles square. The sea island cotton is grown on Nevis and is used in the Caribelle batiks on St. Kitts. Nevis also exports ginger and they still grow sugar cane. It looks beautiful and lush from our mooring.

Sat. May 31st.

0520hrs and we’re up and the coffee is on.
0600hrs. Leaving the buoy under sail for Montserrat.
0610hrs. Rats---not enough wind---motor on
0630 Main and foresail out, motor off and doing 5.8knots. We’ve got gentle rolling 1 to 2 foot seas and the winds have picked up
0700 Seas are rising; winds are dying---go figure. We are down to 1.7 knots. Yes, time for the motor.
0945 We went around one squall… Not exactly great out here today. After such a great day sailing yesterday today is reminding us it was not the norm.

Tacking to Redonda

1500hrs. We are in Little Bay in Montserrat. Port Authority have advised La Bete and ourselves we must move; we are in the ferry channel….No markers, but we will move.
We actually are a little disappointed we will not have enough time to do some sight-seeing here. If we go to shore it will be at least $100US for maybe 3hours of sightseeing. So instead we will fly our Q flag and leave around 0500hrs tomorrow for Guadeloupe.

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