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Date: 28 Apr 2007 14:22:00
Title: Heading South

Dear Friends
 
23 April
 
We had a few days in French St Martin and completed our purchases, including the Fortress anchor which duly turned up on time from Florida. At $600 it's not so much an anchor as a lifestyle statement in anchoring technology, but promises more holding power than .... er.... A. Blair hanging on far too long ?
 
As I write this bit, we're back in the simply lovely Anse de Colombiers in St Barths. We actually arrived yesterday afternoon, then checked into the island today, accompanied by a good lunch and shopping. This really is a great anchorage: after swimming with the turtles this morning, we rock in the hammock, watching the sun gently set and listen to odd wheezy gasps from the subsequent darkness - which is the turtles coming up to breathe. Just magical and we wish you were here to enjoy it with us.
 
George has a night off as Marco has decided to cook tonight, so no surprises for guessing something pasta based. Smells good.
 
Here's a pic of the main harbour in St Barths - Gustavia
 
 

 
26 April - St Kitts
 
(and the pasta was good!)
 
Since the weird southerly winds have been replaced by pukka easterly trades, we had a great sail south from St Barths to St Kitts. With glorious clear skies and averaging a relaxed seven knots, Michael observed that sailing didn't get much better than this, to which George responded quite accurately that this was the sixth time I'd said that this year. But it's true, the sailing really is fantastic here.
 
 
Back in Basseterre, St Kitts (marina above) we had an entertaining visit to Immigration this morning, since the office was closed when we checked in with Customs yesterday. The conversation went a bit like this...
 
"Have you checked in with Customs ?"
 
"Yes, I did that yesterday and they asked me to check in with you this morning."
 
"So you didn't check in with Immigration yesterday ?"
 
"No: the office was closed, so I'm here this morning"
 
"Oh dear."
 
where follows a five minute telephone call including the discovery that I did do Customs yesterday (I had the paperwork anyway...) and that it was OK for her to check our passports in today. The phone call also included a discussion about the cricket progress and asking how the baby was and general chitchat for several minutes - all in Patois so I guess I wasn't supposed to understand
 
"Can I have the passports ?"
 
"Yes of course, here you are."
 
"Republic of Italy ! Oh dear ! You'll need a Caricom visa for that. do you have one?"
 
(nationals of countries other than the USA, Canada, Europe and a few others need visas for Caricom countries during the ICC World Cup)
 
"No. I thought that it wasn't necessary for Italians to have a visa as the European Union countries don't need one."
 
"But it says 'Republic of Italy'."
 
"Yes, it's part of Europe."
 
"So it's part of Britain?"
 
"No. it's part of the European Union, just like France and Germany and so on. If you want I'll show it to you on that (world wall chart) over there."
 
"I'm sure you need a visa for Republic of Italy."
 
there follows another phone call on the lines of 'you do need a visa for Italy, don't you' and several minutes of general discussion and 'so you don't need one then? are you sure?' etc....
 
and then she finds the visa manual, carefully hidden on the desk right in front of her, which confirms that Italy is amazingly part of Europe and is indeed on the list of countries not needing a visa. Despite this cast iron confirmation, we take the opportunity to review the rest of the manual as we have nothing else to do....
 
And then for all of 60 seconds, she stamps the 3 passports, notes 'date of entry' and 'admitted until' and still manages to note date of entry as 25/05/07 in my passport, but I can't afford another half hour to point out the slip.
 
 
So you may complain about inefficiency in the UK (Greenwich Council please stand up) but you really don't know how lucky you are.
 
 
Thereagain, maybe it's just poor Geography lessons, the boy who helpfully wheeled the trolley of groceries back to the marina got into conversation.
 
"So where are you from?"
 
"I'm from England."
 
"I've been there - Manhattan, England."
 
You don't want to hear the rest do you?
 
so you probably need a visual joke after that - here's a rasta 'fishing boat' in the marina at Basseterre....
 
 
hopefully you can just see the name 'zero tolerance' !
 
Best Wishes
 
George & Michael
 

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