St Barts

Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Thu 16 Apr 2015 19:10
17:57.39N 62:54.25W

The sailing regatta we discovered is Les Voiles de St Barth hosting some very large yachts (80ft plus) and some big names and certainly the place was buzzing with boats and sailors. In a way arriving when we did has been a bonus as we knew we had missed Antigua Week which would have been interesting to watch.

On our first day here we decided to hire a car to explore the island. This seemed relatively easy to do and not too expensive and we also had a booster seat and child seat for Sam though he was not that impressed in going in it to start off with but his objections seemed to disappear after we set off. We basically just went round the island stopping at various beaches having a walk and a swim. They are all quite different some with posh restaurants on them others less so and quite remote with few people. The island is not that big and it was easy to drive round in the day. Certainly very hilly and the interior quite green. The last beach we ended at was close to town and called Shell Beach and it was literally just shells. Being a French Island very little was open on a Sunday but we finally managed to get ice creams and supper ( very upmarket burger bar which served the children's portions on Frisbies which they got to keep) back in town after what had turned out to be a very good day exploring.

On Monday morning we moved the boat just a short way up the coast to a much quieter spot - La Columbier a bay which we had seen from a view point on our drive. The shoreline was rocky with a beautiful beach and scrubby vegetation with the odd Palm tree but it reminded us of a Cornish Cove. There was a house on the cliff which apparently had been built by The Rockafeller family. Lovely turquoise clear water with more turtles and Merryn spotted a ray on one of her swims back to the boat. There was also a nice coastal path walk over the headland and along to the next two bays which we did, spotting several spotty lizards on the way and it was good walk to stretch the legs. We decided it was the right spot for sundowners so once the children had had their supper we all got back in the dinghy and went ashore and they played with their Frisbies but using them like trays to slide down the sandy rocky slope inside the cave we had ensconced ourselves in (see picture) . They also had great fun rock climbing too whilst we enjoyed our wine. There have certainly been some magical moments on this trip and this was another one.

On Tuesday after more swimming, playing on the beach and snorkelling and lunch we moved the boat back to the main harbour this time picking up a buoy and away from the flight path and closer to town. We needed to be back here to sign out and also to collect some washing we had left and for further provisioning as we are not sure how easy it will be to get food on the next island Anguilla. The place was definitely buzzing and racing had started.

Wednesday morning saw David, Merryn and I go ashore early ( Dan had already gone ashore at 7.00am to go to The Chandlers in search of a birthday present for Alex ( April 20th ) and to buy a slab of beer) in order to sign out, do some last minute shopping and breakfast. The latter much enjoyed by all three of us but chocolate croissant really are the best ( see picture). Once back at the boat we set off to Ile Fourchou an island about 4 miles from the harbour. However we went via the start of the day's racing and spent an hour hovering watching the various starts and at one point we had one of the go right past us heeled and it was just amazing to see the 20 plus crew all hanging in there. To see all these boats at the start was quite something. Sadly for Dan we have to move on so it was not possible for him to sail although they were advertising for crew.

Ile Fourchou is different again dry and rocky with steep hills and craggy peaks. The mooring buoys are in a bay on the south west corner so pretty calm and more beautiful clear turquoise blue water and as the previous stop part of the St Barts Marine Reserve. Apparently for many years the only occupants of the island were goats and they ate themselves out of house and home. Eventually the last few were removed and slowly some vegetation is growing back so there is some green but mostly bare volcanic rock (green and red and brown and even slaty blue) We all went ashore after lunch, David and I walked up the hill ( one lizard and a few cacti spotted) and on to the top of one of the crags so a good view of St Barts, St Martins and Anguilla in the far distance and also the racing boats were still out at sea. The others had a good play on the beach (pebbly), some rock climbing and a swim and snorkel.

I'm writing this as the sun goes down and the children are having their supper, once they've eaten we shall head for the beach again for a sundowner. We are one of seven yachts here so not busy and at present still quite calm.

Tomorrow morning will see us set sail for Anguilla missing out St Martins.