Goodbye St Kitts
Joy went back in the water without any hitches or bad weather, much to everyone’s relief. For the first time in a very long time, we motored south heading into the wind instead of getting sails out and tacking. We just didn’t have the energy to sail, and that really isn’t like us! So we burnt a little bit of diesel for just a few miles to the south of St Kitts. This part of the island is vastly different from the lush volcanic mountainous north. The land is lower and much drier looking, lots of cactus and parched ground, but it has an appeal all of its own. With the view of its neighbouring island Nevis in the background, we found a quiet spot in White House Bay and dropped anchor.
This bay has changed since we last visited in February 2014, the small dock in the centre of the bay has been rebuilt with a trendy bar called Salt Plage. There are also three mooring buoys in the entrance, two other unoccupied English boats had taken up residency on them. We wondered why the bar owners had spent so much on restoring the dock (now laid out with tables and chairs) and left the rusty tin on the exterior of the bar and surrounding buildings. An eye sore we decided. Our peace was gently overtaken the following day when the bar opened late afternoon, very chilled tunes wafted our way along with smells of fried calamari and conch fritters. We continued with Joy’s happy hour and dominoes, enjoying the invasion of some ‘current’ music. As nosey neighbours with very good binoculars, we noticed that only a handful of patrons occupied the bar that evening, and the next, as the fires were lit on their terrace and the funky lighting took over. We looked across the glassy water longingly at the rather cool atmosphere created by sound and light, wondering whether we had enough change knocking about for a Pina Colada..with two straws.
We took the dinghy ashore the next morning wondering if the security guard would allow us to leave our dinghy on their dock whilst we explored, we were turned away of course, but with the promise that the newly opened Christophe Harbour just in the next bay would allow us use of their dinghy dock. We had thought the marina was not open, lots of busy machinery grinding away had led us to believe that they had not got a lot further than when we last visited. Christophe Harbour is being ‘built’ in a natural salt lake that has been opened up to the sea. As we entered the harbour the vast empty superyacht berths lay on one side, and a smaller dock on the other with Coastguard boats and ribs tied up. There were lots of people busying themselves to and fro the boats with dive gear. The dockmaster welcomed us and tied up the dinghy, it was no problem for us to use their facilities and, after explaining that they were hosting the training of Coastguard members with boats from Canada, America and several Caribbean Islands, we were given a map and some advice on where to explore.
Christophe Harbour owns most of the south of the island, and has permission for up to 2000 residencies as well as the development of the vast salt lake. Stage one, the superyacht berthing, is complete and they have now started dredging for the second phase which will include berthing for ‘smaller’ yachts from 50 to 100 feet. I have to say that we were really quite ‘anti’ the development of this beautiful part of the island, but we found nothing but beautiful tasteful properties with lush landscaping attracting lots of wildlife. Many of the roadsides have been planted with shrubs and trees too, and although far from complete this project already looks as though it has had a positive influence. Very little litter scattered about, unlike the north!
We had a two hour walk to the south coast, on the way visiting a lovely sandy beach on the east side of the narrow peninsular. Not a sole on this stretch of pristine beach, just a handful of beautiful houses poking up behind the sand dunes.
We ended up on a dirt track which led us to Reggae Beach which has a bar and restaurant and we thought we had earned a cold beer. Unfortunately there was a cruise ship in that day and despite the south appearing deserted we found that half the tourists had been ferried to Reggae Beach. It was packed, the beach was full and there were lots of watersports going on in the protected bay. I have never seen so many miserable looking people, tables full of families waiting for their burger and fries and every single one with their heads down and eyes fixated on their phones making use of free wifi. No conversations and no smiles, very sad.
After lunch we headed back, spotting plenty of monkey on the way.
We never did get to go to the trendy bar, we had decided to go Friday night hoping that it would be busier. The music was more upbeat that night but we had to put the dinghy up on deck ready for our sail early the following morning and we had run out of cash so decided not to go. Next time maybe. We are heading north back to St Martin to get some supplies for our next round of maintenance jobs during this hurricane season.