Montserrat Nevis & St Kitts

Graham Shaw
Fri 10 Apr 2009 21:21
Montserrat - the Island must of been a lovely place before the volcano
erupting. The Island has lost 2/3 to the volcano. We were allowed into a
certain area of the no go zone, which was incredible. The sad thing is what
little tourism trade they have these days are to see the devastation of what
the volcano has done to the island. We took a tour with another boating
couple Phil and Melanie, our Driver George Christian who was born in
Montserrat showed us all the good and the very bad of the island. It was
very strange to go to a place where the houses, some very beautiful have
just been left empty because they are in the no go zone. We ended up going
up to a hill which was in the no go zone and looked down on the previous
capital of Montserrat which was deep under ash. We also crossed a onetime
river and there was a bridge there at one time, clearly no evidence of it
being there now to go into to no go zone. The valley was about 500 meters
wide completely filled with ash rocks, and houses which you could see the
second floor and roof of. The volcano is still smoking all the time, and is
still very unpredictable. There is a helicopter that surveys the volcano on
a daily basis, and a web site which is updated every day. Some houses have
been allowed to be restated in the no go zone but soon as the volcano
changes they have to leave there house as they have to cross the huge river
where the larva comes down through. It must be incredibly difficult to
live on a day to day basis on what the volcano is doing. Once she because active
the ash fumes and dust are too dangerous to be in the no go zone at all.
The day we were touring the dust on the river hit the back of your throat.
Because of the volcano the island has expanded quite consirabley, you have
to be care full when sailing close to the island because of shoaling. Before the
volcano there were about 12,000 people living there, after the eruption the
population went down to 2,000. The UK government were going to close the
island if it dropped any more. Now there are about 4,000 people, they are
creating a new capital in Little Bay, not sure it what the people want it's
sort of out of the way - clearly this area picked as it is the furthest from
the volcano. The people are very nice and there was no begging which apart
from Mustique almost every island we have been too has been some form
or other of it. Most of the people how live in Montserrat have moved to the
UK as this is part of a colony of the UK Empire. A lot of the new
infrastructure has been funded by the UK. I found this one of the most
interesting tour we have done throughout the Caribbean considering there
are such sad circumstances attached to this island. 19 people died when
the volcano erupted, mainly they would not leave there homes. None of the
insurance companies would pay out - nature disaster clause - so these people
have rebuilt their lives from nothing.

Follow day we went to Nevis. Had a super day sailing there. We ended up
picking up a mooring after parking in the wrong spot. The water here is
extremely Chrystal clear. We saw a large ray which is my first from the
boat, and then when in the water another ray passed us. Also the odd turtle
popping there head up. Did not think much of the place though. Very much
set up for cruise ship tourism, not yacht friendly at all. The mooring
bouys were about 2/3 mile from the dinghy dock. The highlight of the island
was touring the Jewish cemetery - uhmm not high on my list. Anyway so off
to St Kitts which is only a short hop. We were hopeful about this one.
There is a scenic railway, which I thought would be fun - until I saw the
price, so that was knocked on the head. Again set up for cruise ship - even
more so. I afraid there is only so many diamond rings one can have. I
was going to go diving but the guy who runs the diving was a little on the
weird side - in fact barking so decided to give it a miss so we have decided
to go on up to St Barts today.

On our way to St Barts we passed the famous yacht Velsheda picture of the
flash yacht on blog. Apparently this yacht use to go to Jersey many years
ago to be anti foud on st Aubins fort.

St Barts is very different it has a feel which I would expect in Monaco,
very large super yacht lots of very plush shops but very tactfully done.
Apparently this is a place where the rich and famous French people go. We
liked the place it had a very good feel to it. Graham ended up being a hero
as well. We arrived back to our boat just unloading stuff when a Falmouth
packet had dragged was on top of a catamaran next us, it then dragged
down the side of the boat and was heading for the rocks. Another boat went
to help but refused to get on boat, (the world of suing people makes people
very dubious to help) so Gray and a Dutch man went to the rescue of the
boat, tried to let out more chain, but she kept dragging another boat was
between her and the rock. Sheer luck would have it the Falmouth packet had
keys in and batteries on (no one leaves there keys in their boat - because
people steal them), so the boat was rescued in the nick of time, then she
was put on mooring, awaiting the return of her owners who were out shopping.
The French who owned the cat was none too happy, but when realising the boat
who hit him was English he was happy as he said if it was a French boat they
would have disappeared, but the English are very honourable!!!! He only
popped out to pick a new outboard which he had stolen in Martinique. Both
boats had some damaged not enough for them not too need hauling out, the
only thing was the Falmouth packet was for sale.

Off to St Martin now more later.

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