St Eustatius & St Martin
Note that I have added a number of pictures into the Nevis & St Kitts Blog of 13th Jan.
We left St Kitts as planned on Wednesday to go up to St Eustatius which was about 20 miles. We had pretty good sailing again, but it was fairly rolly as we got to the island. We were amazed at the number of large boats anchored off St Eustatius, they turned out to be a mixture of Tankers and Cargo vessels. It appears that St Eustatius is the Gibraltar of the Caribbean, where boats gather to fuel up with Duty Free fuel.
There were moorings as promised above the small harbour, however even with an Easterly wind the swell came round the bottom of the Island and around the breakwater coming from the SW.
The rather exposed mooring buoys and rugged coastline of St Eustatius.
It was a secure but very rolly night and we left early on Thursday morning to go to St Martin (St Maarten on the South, Dutch side of the island). We had a great sail, making the 40+ miles in just over 6 hours and hand steering most of the way, because it was fun!
We followed the advice of an American skipper in St Kitts, who had considerable experience of the Caribbean and much of the rest of the world, and went to Marigot Bay on the French side of the island. He said it was quieter (not so manic) and the Fort Louis Marina was a good place to have the boat if needed. We anchored in the Bay, which had quite a lot of boats, but there was plenty space and it seemed reasonably sheltered from Easterly winds and swell. We will be staying in St Martin for a couple of weeks to make some repairs after the Atlantic crossing and get some other work done on the boat.
We had a restful night and went into Marigot town on Friday. The town has strong French roots and customs and has a really good and atmosphere. It has lots of Bistros and a really good French supermarket. On Saturday we had a long dinghy ride through into the very large Simpsons Bay Lagoon and right down to the South Dutch side. We talked to some companies about our work list and went to the large chandleries and bought new sheets for both our Genoas and some other items. The lagoon is very large and has several marinas and lots of boats anchored, but we were convinced that the advice we got to base the boat on the French side was sound.
We have started the work we need to do to repair/improve the boat and will progress the other work on Monday/Tuesday. The weather is in the high 20’s, but there has been some cloud and rain - note this is just a comment and not a complaint!
The entrance from the French side into the lagoon – the centre span of the bridge lifts/swings a few times per day, if you are taking the Yacht into the Bay.
The large new causeway joining the 2 Dutch sides of the Bay.
The Dutch airport is right at the side of the lagoon.
We think this boat was probably sunk in the November Gonzales hurricane.