Goodbye Antigua, Hello Nevis, St Kitts and St Barts

Imagine Of Falmouth Online Log
Jon Constantine
Wed 25 Feb 2009 14:30
Thurs 19th Feb 09 to Weds 25th Feb 09

It's time to leave English Harbour and Antigua as we've been here for 2 months now.  We've loved it but it's time to head North.  We also need to replace the stolen outboard as
the Honda is a bit small for getting around some of the larger anchorages and we've also decided to get a sun panel.  The cheapest place to get all that is Budget Marine in Sint Maarten.  We also want to be there the first week of March as it's the Heineken Regatta.

The next island is Nevis and a fair distance so we've decided to overnight in Jolly Harbour as this'll shorten the trip by a couple of hours.   With an early start the following morning we finally got to Nevis logging 46.7 miles in 7 and a half hours.  Not bad at all although we had to get rid of the headsail as the wind was directly behind us and ended up blanketing the main.  The seas was a bit too rolly to go goose wing without putting out the pole. A bit too much hassle when we were actually making such good speed under main alone. 

We like Nevis a lot.  This is our 2nd visit now.  It's so easy to clear in here and the guys are really friendly.  The only downside is that you can no longer anchor off Pinney's beach.  They are trying to conserve the seabed and you can only go on a mooring ball now. Seems a bit overkill as there is no coral to damage, the bottom being all sand and actually excellent holding for an anchor. There are loads of these white balls all lined up along the coast which does ruin the view somewhat.  Some of the more cynical yachties claim that it's just a money making scheme.  And maybe so, but a small price to pay to keep the local economy going I think.  It only cost us the equivalent of about £2.50 per day so we weren't too worried as the facilities are good with a large safe dinghy dock, facilities for dumping rubbish and free wifi accessible from the boat.  We just have to hope that the prices don't go sky high like they have in the British Virgin Islands, with mooring balls there costing $25 per night.

                                      Half way to Nevis                                                                     Pinney's beach with the yachts at the far end beyond the pier

We spent an enjoyable 4 days here exploring the town and the beach and making full use of the wifi catching up on emails.  The sea is very clean and lovely for swimming in although there's not much to see with regards to snorkelling.  Just sand and the visibility isn't the best at the moment. We've spotted a few turtles though.

                              Turtle just by the boat having a look-see                                                        Pelican drying his wings out in the hot sun

Last October hurricane Omar hit this part of the Caribbean and the coast of Nevis was quite badly damaged.  It was sad to see the main beach hotel all closed up but happily the smaller local beach bars have managed to rebuild and open up for business.  Tough times ahead for the island economy especially with the global credit crunch going on!  I was even more content to pay the mooring fees if it helps them out a little.

                   One of the Omar-damaged hotel beach bars                                                             Topless palm trees, again damaged by Omar

Moving on again and we've decided to spend a night on the southern tip of St Kitts before making the next long hop to St Barts tomorrow.  We headed for Major's bay, less than 5 miles away, an anchorage totally deserted with only a very small ferry dock and a half submerged rusty old ship wreck ashore.  The water is so clear that you can easily see the bottom.  It's very weedy but we found one sandy spot and after several attempts we dropped the anchor bang in the middle of it.  We had a great snorkel.  Lots to see.  We had a look at the wreck which was teaming with small fish and walked along the beach before snorkelling back to the boat.  We spotted a couple of old tyres on the seabed near the boat.  One housed a baby lobster and a moray eel, the other was a nursery for baby Soldierfish.  There are hundreds of sea eggs everywhere nested in the weed.  This bay really is lovely.

Jon's 1st attempt at making bread on board. It tasted as good as it looks too                                 View of St Kitts from Pinney's beach

After a very good night's sleep we were again up early for the trip to St Barts.  Sailing through The Narrows (between the top of Nevis and the bottom of St Kitts) we were hit with 30 knot winds, luckily behind us, sending Imagine flying along at just over 8 knots!  We soon turned the point and made the course to St Barts on one tack, with the wind on the beam, in a comfortable 15 to 18 knots wind speed and doing around 6.5 to 7.5 knots boat speed.  Perfect.  We decided to give Gustavia a miss as it looked very busy and we've been there before, and try out Anse du Grand Colombier, a small bay on the NE point.  Good choice. It was a little busy and full of mooring balls but it's very pretty and the water looks so enticing.  We decided to pick up a ball as not much space to anchor and as we're only going to be here the one night it won't be a huge expense.  As it was no one came to collect any fees.  We had a lovely snorkel with loads of fish and turtles to see and later spent a relaxing evening on board.  Tomorrow, St Martin