Statia to St Barts - Saturday 11th April

Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Sun 12 Apr 2015 10:13
17:54.29N 62:51.47W

We were in two minds as to whether to leave Statia today or tomorrow - we just all really liked the place and its history and it would have been good to do another dive or just chill - snorkelling from the boat or playing on the beach however it was a very rolly anchorage even with a stern anchor so we opted to come across here. An excellent sail 7-8 knots under 2 reefs in the main and Genoa - bit bumpy which was to be expected but we got here across open water in just over 4 hours.

St Barts is very busy - remember we were the only yacht to start off with in St Eustatius. though several others did join us after a couple of days. Here is not only a very busy harbour but we have also arrived here at the start if the St. Barts sailing regatta so some big yachts here and lots of sailors. We are also anchored under the flight path! Sam thinks this is great but it has rather brought us down to earth with a bump re. the activity - the real world - lots of people around and it is impressive how many small aircraft are flying in here.

St Eustatius was a lovely town with well restored wooden buildings and fort. The museum and its history were fascinating as were all the old warehouse foundations on the shore and also off shore. We were able to snorkel from the boat along the old harbour wall which was teeming with fish some coral, turtles and sting ray plus an old cannon, anchor and cog wheel. Several Sand Dollars have been found and Dan had been keeping a look out for the blue glass beads which apparently can still be found on the sea bed. These were manufactured from the 1600's by The Dutch East India Company in Amsterdam and used for Global Trading. The legend goes that after emancipation in 1863 the slaves threw them into the sea as a sign of release from slavery and divers are still finding them today.

On our first day we all did the walk up the volcano (Quill) - easy walk up to the crater rim ( 1500 ft) through woodland and after that a scramble up to the high point (1800ft) which then gave us a good view over the island. Again Merryn led the way chatting the whole time. - Sam is also getting pretty good at walking distances too though Alex carried him for some of it and he did fall asleep in the sling. We were on the look out for a variety of animals and especially snakes and Iguanas but didn't see anything other than two feral cockerels who were more than happy to have the crumbs from the sandwiches.

Our second day in the island saw Alex do an introductory dive course so she set off with the men first thing to do some theory and they went for a dive and I looked after the children. The men had an excellent dive over an old wreck site though nothing left of the wreck other than the anchor and saw turtles resting in the coral, seahorses, conch jumping ( that's how David described their movement - not like a snail ) across the sea bed, sting rays as well as many fish. I then joined Alex on her dive though we all had separate dive masters. We went to an area known as The Humps ( large boulders which had come out of the volcano many many years ago) . Very sandy bottom not that deep but very pretty with sponges and corals ( felt like swimming around a garden) and we also saw a sea horse plus much else. Alex who has had two aborted attempts at diving in the past and has been very resistant to learning to dive is now keen to do her Padi ( maybe in the BVI and certainly in warm water). It turns out that Statia is a very good place for diving and it's just a shame we didn't have the time to stay longer.

So after an early morning snorkel today for all but Sam with more turtles and sting rays under the boat ( the water was so clear ) we finally set off - a little delayed as no one turned up at immigration for David to sign us out - several phone calls had to be made to get the guy there - a Caribbean Saturday. Not many more islands to go now! We shall stay here for a few days and explore the island and Dan is quite keen to watch or even partake in some of the racing before we head to Anguilla.