After our disappointing visit to St Kitts, we weren't expecting much from
the island of Statia (pronounced staysha), the local name for St Eustatius in
the Netherlands Antilles. We were to spend the night on
a visitors' mooring buoy in a bay without a beach next to the oil
terminal, which didn't sound great but provided a good stopping point on our way
to St Barts. We arrived to find plenty of space, and a rolling swell
running through the bay.
However, we tied up and sorted out our various methods of keeping the boat
as still as possible, setting a stern anchor and suspending the sea anchor off
the end of the boom to provide a bit of stability. At this point Joe
decided he'd found the perfect diving platform and shinned out along the
boom. It was probably a bit late at this point to be asking whether the
boom would take his weight - luckily it did!
We were pleasantly surprised by Statia. It had been an important port
in the 1700s, when the island was one of the few free trade ports. The
ruins of the original town on the sea shore were still visible but had long
since been destroyed by hurricanes. As John checked out with Customs in
the morning, Joe, Clair and I walked up into the replacement town of Oranjestad,
now at the top of the hill to see whether we could find a bakery. It was a
beautiful place and spotlessly clean, unlike many of the islands we have
visited. The historic buildings had all been restored and it had the feel
of a model village.
We found the bakery, but the baker only makes white bread on Monday
mornings, so no pastries for breakfast!