St Kitts

Chiscos - Atlantic Cruise
John Simpson
Sun 1 Apr 2012 16:13
17:17.583n 062:43.460w
There's a description of these islands that goes 'the islands that brush the clouds' and sure enough, as we headed for St Kitts we could see the island's central mountain range shrouded in cloud, just like Nevis behind us. 
It was only a short hop to St Kitts so we arrived off Basseterre, the capital, at about midday.  We called up the marina to see whether we could get a berth for the night as the anchorage had an unpleasant swell.  We were asked to wait half an hour so anchored off the marina breakwater and had some lunch.  Nearly 3 hours later we were still waiting so Joe and Clair zipped into the marina in the dinghy to see what was happening.  It turned out that the guy who had answered our call in the morning had gone off somewhere without passing on the message, so we could well have waited out there all night!  Anyway, we finally ended up with a nice still berth in the marina and prepared to go ashore. 
We had a quick stroll around the town to start with, which had been described as one of the most attractive capitals in the Caribbean.  It's central square is called the Circus, and is reputedly based on Piccadilly Circus in London.  We struggled to see the resemblance! 
The town was certainly bigger than many we've visited, but we didn't find it particularly pleasant.  The area around the marina, Port Zante, had been purpose built as a cruise ship dock and consisted of an American style shopping mall leading to a gate from the sea that wouldn't have looked out of place at Disneyland.  The shops were an odd mixture of duty free diamonds and cheap plastic tat.  The idea being that the cruise ship passengers disembark through the tacky looking gate and are wowed by the shopping opportunity before they even get to the town.  However, much of the shopping mall was unoccupied and it had a half-finished air.  The town itself was bustling and we looked forward to returning for an evening out.
When we returned to the town at 7.30 pm, we were amazed to find that it was almost entirely deserted!  We visited the Ballahoo restaurant, which is on the upper storey of the left-hand building in the picture above, and sat looking out over a very quiet Piccadilly Circus.  There was no need to reserve a table as we were the only guests.  We enjoyed a very pleasant meal and were enjoying the atmosphere of the evening when the restaurant owner came over and said 'you're leaving now'.  'Are we?' we asked, being only half way through our bottle of wine!  'Yes, we close at 9.00 pm' and we were promptly given the bill.  No matter, we thought, we'll visit some of the bars around the marina as those had been pumping out a good reggae bass all afternoon.  When we got there all but one had closed, and the one remaining bar was completely empty.  The bartender initially told us we were too early for the action - the bar was open unti 1.00 am and would be busy later.  Hmmmm ...... we were a bit dubious after our previous night's experience on Nevis.  However, the bar had Rugby showing on the big screen so we watched that whilst waiting for the crowds to appear.  By 11.30 pm we had been joined by a solitary guest who sat quietly on her own tucking into her dinner.  Finally, the bartender conceded that it was unlikely to be a busy night tonight, and we were inclined to agree!!