Easter Sunday Mar. 23rd: Position: 17:17.576N 062:43.493W
Bill and Judy Stellin
Sun 23 Mar 2008 21:24
We celebrated Easter Sunday here in St Kitts in a proper marina where we have 120V AC and plenty of inexpensive water.
As a result, I changed over our system from 240V European power to American 120V. It took me about one hour and now we don't have to use the inverter for all our AC needs.
We motor sailed from English Harbor, Antigua in quite calm conditions. However, our stay here has been extended due to weather. An intense low pressure system in the Atlantic has created a terrific swell that was over 27 feet straight out of the north, which of course, is the direction we want to go.
News reports have told of at least two people dying in St Lucia and Barbados from being swept off beaches due to the high waves.
This is the windward side of St Kitts where the waves were at least 15 feet tall coming onto the beach.
This is the leeward side of St Kitts with Nevis in the distance. Calm as a mill pond. Our marina is in the town and port of Basseterre which is just a mile or so north of this bay.
St Kitts depended on sugar cane for centuries until world prices fell so low they could no longer afford the subsidies. This has happened all over the West Indies and it has devastated the agricultural economies. So far nothing has replaced sugar cane except tourism.
At least two cruise ships are here every day. The island lives and dies by the cruise ships and their idea of tourism is based solely on the these monster floating hotels. They arrive at 7AM and leave at about 6PM. In between arrival and departure, there is a frenzy of selling everything from absolute junk to real Rolex watches and expensive diamonds. There are very few restaurants because nobody eats except on their ships.
Besides trying to sell you something, the only other activity is touring the island. There is basically only one road that circumnavigates the island, so everything to see is on that one road and frankly there isn't much.
Ten of us yachties hired a taxi for the day, ($15 US per person) with the idea of going around the island and stopping to snorkel. The water was so stirred up from the waves, you couldn't see 5 inches in front of you. Still, we had a lot of laughs and it was interesting to see the extent of sugar cane fields. The sugar cane still grows wild and it looks like one could start production at any moment.
We also toured the really only worthwhile spot on the island which is Fort Brimstone. The English took decades to build this huge fort and lost it in 30 days when the French sent 8000 men to storm it.
This view is but a small fraction of the immense fortification that turned out to be worthless for the English, although in the end they got the island back in a treaty with the French. There is a preservation society which has done a wonderful job of restoring and maintaining the site.
Tomorrow we head for St Barts and then to St Maarten. We will be back in Euro land which means very costly living because the Euro is now over $1.55 US to the Euro. We have lots of beans and rice to eat up so there will probably be few expensive meals out.
As we head north, things get more and more expensive and always seemed to be priced in US dollars, at least in the non French and Dutch islands.
We have been using Eastern Caribbean dollars which are pegged at 2.70 to the US dollar. Judy has informed me we will probably not be able to use them again as we head north, so tonight we will spend our last $83.36 EC dollars on a Chinese dinner. Not very Eastery, but at least it is open. Mass on the other hand, was wonderful with hours of singing. (two) Except for church, there is not one single vestige of Easter showing anywhere on this island. It is as though it doesn't exist. No special clothes sales for Easter finery, no candy or baskets, nothing. Frankly very depressing. Only junk for the cruise ship passengers. I think I can safely say, no one ever does a St Kitts cruise ship vacation twice.