Gustavia, St Barths

We had another terrific overnight sail to reach the chic little French island of St Barthelemy yesterday morning.  We whizzed along over a reasonably calm and empty sea (there doesn’t seem to be much shipping traffic in this part of the Caribbean and no fishing boats to worry one), with an almost full moon for company.  Passing down the coast of Montserrat en route, we smelt the sulphur from its still smoking volcano.  The lights from the little community of around 5,000 who still live on the northern part of the island seemed somehow defiant to us.

 

We arrived in the outer harbour of the main port of St Barth’s and immediately noticed the number of superyachts drawn to this St Tropez of the Antilles.  The town is called Gustavia after a Swedish king as the island belonged to Sweden for about a century before they sold it back to France in 1878.  It has quite a few reminders of that time in its architecture and old street names.  After checking in and being told we had to vacate the mooring buoy we had picked up as it was a private one, we did a little shopping in the fancy supermarket and returned to the boat to anchor instead.  The water here is an inviting turquoise although swimming off the boat is again an energetic business as it always quite choppy in the continuous winds.

St Barth’s, home for mega-yachts:

 

In the late afternoon we wandered around the harbour front passed designer shops and found a bar with wifi to send some emails and drink a good French coffee.  People watching was entertaining as a flow of fairly large, ancient, pink and infirm cruise passengers strolled past interspersed with the slim and elegant who were obviously the French (except the one below)!  In the evening we found a lovely restaurant with an Asian fusion feel and had a great meal, albeit at the local inflated prices.  Oh well, you only visit this place once.

Swedish style & non-French chic!: