17 55 300N 62 52 100W
After a rather rolly anchorage on the NW coast of St Kitts after checking out, we crossed to St Barths in glorious sunshine, passing the islands of Saba and Statia. After checking in at Gustavia, packed with boats at anchor and huge superyachts, one with a helicopter on the top deck, we moved around to the anchorage at Colombier. This has mooring buoys on the outer edges to allow the seagrass to re-grow, we are over the 25 tonne mooring limit so anchored over sand in the centre of the bay, close to the shore.
Snorkelling in Colombier was magic, and brought many firsts for not only Jez and I, but also Jane who had by now become queen of snorkelling, having never snorkelled before this holiday, now there was no stopping her! The rocks on the outer edges are covered in coral, and it was like swimming in a tropical fish tank. Many different species, all shapes and colours, and on our first snorkel here we saw a group of squid swimming in formation, like aliens suspended in outerspace. Then came the nurse shark, rather scary at first to see it swimming along the bottom and then hide under a rock when it spotted us gawping at it. Foureye Butterflyfish, Squirrelfish, Blue Tang and Spotlight Parrotfish to name but a few that we had identified were in abundance here. We then decided to explore the rocks on the other side of the bay, a little cloudier than the first side, but we saw a Hawksbill Turtle and a huge magnificent Spotted Eagle Ray, not at all shy like the others. My goggles had fogged up at this point with all the excitement, so we headed back to Joy only to discover the anchor had dragged 30 metres – the first time ever this has happened to us. With the fluky winds in the bay, we had gone around and around over our chain and anchor, eventually the chain had wrapped around the anchor and one strong gust ripped the anchor out of the sand and it couldn’t reset with the chain wrapped around it. Luckily we were not too close to anyone else, and quickly took up the anchor and reset it, using both anchors this time in a Bahamian mooring to make sure we were secure. The only downside of this type of mooring is when the winds are fluky and the boat swings around and around, both anchor chains get knotted up together, and when we left the bay a few days later it took rather a long time with the stern thruster, moving the boat in 7 full circles against strong winds to unwind the chain before we could lift the anchors up.
We therefore left a little later than planned, and the sail back to St Kitts was rather slow at times when the wind dropped below 15 knots, so we decided to head down the windward east coast of St Kitts and come through The Narrows and up to South Friars Bay. Whilst this was more mileage, we were guaranteed wind the whole way and sailed into our anchorage in the dark about 8pm. With a quick change and dinghy ashore, Terry picked us up and took us for our last evening meal with Jane and Geoff to The Fishermen’s Wharf in Basse Terre. The freshly caught fish on the menu were fantastic, Mahi Mahi and Sword Fish were our choices and they were delicious.
We explored the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park on Jane and Geoff’s last day on St Kitts, lots of history to take in and some magnificent views across the north coast to Statia. The first cannon were placed here in 1690 by the British in an effort to recapture Fort Charles from the French. The Fortress was designed by the British Army and built by African Slaves and occupied by British troops (apart from a brief spell in the hands of the French) until abandoned in 1852. The restoration project started in the 1960’s and is still ongoing today. We were lucky to sight an extraordinary caterpillar in the grounds of the fort, it had a black waggy tail (honest!)..
Then a late lunch at the Shipwreck Bar on the beach at South Friars Bay opposite Joy, with wild monkeys showing off their climbing skills, chasing each other across the tin roof and flinging themselves on the parasols over the tables, great entertainment! We also had our first sighting of Mongoose, feeding on scraps left out by the bar. These strange looking creatures were first introduced onto the island to get rid of the snake population during the sugar cane trade, and apparently did a good job!
Jane and Geoff caught their flight later that evening and we started to get ready for our sail to St Martin, both the guys from Catamaran Amaris are there and so are Pannikin so we look forward to catching up with them. I think I want a monkey…….