17:28.942N 62:59.463W St Eustatius
Thursday 20 December 2007 17:28.942N 62:59.463W St Eustatius
Last night I watched a film and took the washing in at 9pm in case it rained. It rained. I managed to bottle 6 litres of very good quality drinking water which I have stored in the bilges and a litre of not so good that I drank today. With the slightly late night and the interuptions for the showers and the rolling I did not get much sleep. By 3.30 I could not bear it any more and was awake just waiting for it to get light enough for me to leave.
It does not get light until after 6.30 now, so I was all ready and off at 7.00. There were two cruise liners waiting to dock – Empress of the Seas and Emerald Princess, which was huge. I bet someone on there will be unable to resist the half price pearls. As long as the tourists do not dump rubbish, there are many signs about this.
One I particulary liked was:
Absolutely, positively no dumping rubbish here; obviously you dump your rubbish somewhere that they are not so absolutely positive about it.
Another one said:
Anyone found dumping rubbish will be persecuted; but at least they were not going to take legal action.
I am never sure if the people with the antisocial rubbish habits are the ones that obey the signs.
It was only 20 miles to Statia and only 7 of those were in open sea between the islands. The wind and swell were light and mainly behind me up the coast of St Kitts, but picked up considerably and changed direction when I got to the open water. I only put out the genoa, kept the engine on and varied the sail and the motor to suit the conditions to get me to harbour in reasonable time.
There is a pipeline just past the harbour and two tankers were on that, with two more waiting. One boat seemed to be just sitting near the dock and there was another one about to arrive. I worked out where everyone was and what they were doing, my only concern was the one near the dock, I could not see any smoke, but which way should I go to get round it to the anchorage behind. It must have been environmentally friendly, or the wind was blowing hard enough to dissipate the smoke, because the boat was definitely moving towards me, so that helped me decide which way to go; he went left, so I went right.
The whole coast is a marine reserve and they have put out mooring balls and so I took one of those. I had towed the dinghy, it makes a nice change to see where I am going easily, but I will stow it tonight. There was one other yacht here, but they were French, so no socialising there. I went ashore and tied up to the travel lift dock. The waves were very strong and I got quite bashed up against the wall and a hanging tyre which put me in a bad mood. If it had not been only noon and I was so conspicuous in the bay I might have tried not going ashore. I got a weather forecast and tomorrow is not looking good, but it is not far.
I could walk up 600 metres to the top of the volcano crater, which is covered in tropical rainforest. I only had flip flops on and so made it from Lower Town to Upper Town and back again. Statia is one of the Dutch Antilles, along with Saba and St Marteen. If I had not been travelling here then I would have no idea of their existence. The island has one town, which allegedly has 1500 people, but I think they are exaggerating and there is one road to the local airport. It is beautiful and everything is being very nicely renovated and improved with great care, but it is very quiet. I do not expect there is any crime here, I tied up the dinghy, but could not lock it as the wire would not reach. With the marine reserve status the island has become a dive centre and with the volcano that makes it a hiking place if you have a spare day.
I went back to the boat and was going to go in the water, but it was too rough. The rolling is terrible and fraying my tired nerves. Not only did I have to pay $10 Clearance fees, I had to pay another $10 to the marine ranger; which seemed a bit much with the swell. This is a completely open harbour, if there is a wind direction that it gives any protection from then I am sure the wind does not often blow from that direction.
By stopping at all the islands I am finding out which places I would be happy to anchor in during darkness, but I would have to be desperate to put up with this swell. If I had not been so tired I would have carried on to Saba this afternoon, it has been very unpleasant. The only way through this is to sleep through it, roll on the night.