Saba and North
Easter Monday 13th April 2009 .
We left St Eustatius (Statia) this morning under a cloudy sky with a strong easterly trade wind blowing up to 25 knots. The winds are fluky at the best of times but, being on the leeward side of these very high mountainous islands, you have wind shifts that run from south to north and the anabat effects joining in the maelstrom to make sailing very interesting.
After short open water crossing of ten miles we approached the southern point of Saba. Fort bay is the only port of entry to clear but, was untenable due to the rough conditions. I decided to seek shelter in Wells Bay to the north west, We found a free mooring and decide that a trip ashore was possible although the beach had breaking waves, Emily was driving, Doris (the dinghy) and with some difficulty managed to get a wet skipper ashore to begin the climb up a near vertical road to the small village known as Bottom. After climbing for more than an hour I still had no sight of Bottom at the top, I had taken the mobile VHF and radioed back to say that the hill and the midday sun had beaten me, The immigration and customs at Saba would have to come and find us if they wanted us to clear. Emily and Ewan came in the boat to pluck me from the beach and back to Libertad.
We had a very nice Bacon Carbonara cooked by Emily with fresh fruit for dessert for dinner.
An early night took us to our very rolly bunks to seek a few fitful hours of sleep.
Dawn found us setting the mainsail with a very large reef in 25kts of gusting easterly. We let go the mooring and headed out past Diamond rock, to set a course to St Maarten (St Martin) for Easter alongside a marina berth rather than a mooring in St Barts (St Barthelemy).
After a twenty five mile run to the north in to a two metre swell, Emily and Corrie had had enough, never again! I heard them cry! feeling the effects of sea sickness. We dropped the anchor in Simson Bay and it held on the second attempt, waiting for the Dutch bridge to open allowing entry to the lagoon and the numerous marinas. We ended up at Simson Bay Yacht Club Marina surrounded by the largest super yachts you could imagine, The longest of them all owned by Victoria Secret, named "Limitless" was valued in excess of $200,000,000 dollars, living up to its name. A permanent crew were employed to keep it looking smart and a sixty seat jet sitting on the runway at St Maarten in case any one needed to leave in a hurry. Although a Dutch /French Island, the common currency is the mighty U.S. $ and the locals have developed the art of relieving you of them to a fine art.
Our final bill for just two nights was over $200:00 U.S. including a modest $30:00 charge for water and electricity. The parts of the island we saw beyond the opulence of the marina reflect the poverty common in the Caribbean. The American owned marina, although providing much needed employment retained the vast profits for their shareholders back home.
Easter Sunday found us letting go the mooring lines and clearing the 09:00am Bridge to sea and a fantastic sail with a warm 15 knots of breeze on the beam giving Libertad a speed of 7:5 Kits to the North West and the wonderful island of Anguilla.
Rounding up and furling sail just three hours later we dropped the anchor in 6ft of crystal clear water in Road Bay. Going ashore to clear customs was done without problems and a warm greeting from the Customs man wishing us a pleasant stay in Anguilla and a happy Easter. Returning to the boat the crew were swimming in this irresistible bay, checking the anchor for set and finding star fish on the sandy sea bed.
After a magical afternoon ashore listening to wonderful live music in Johno's Bar with several impromptu artist singing and playing for us ,one lady was truly fantastic, giving us a couple of great songs, she was I think American, called Christine Gordon, has any one heard of her?
We returned to Libertad for a dinner of Bar B Q steak with all the trimmings, it’s a tough life!
We had an invitation from a couple in a neighbouring yacht, Graham and Lorraine and their two year old son Luca from Jersey in the Channel Islands. They had purchased an ex Sunsail charter cat in Las Palmas and sailed to the Caribbean via the Cape Verde Islands last December. Graham had given up his job as a Jersey Coast Guard and Lorraine had sold her business selling French horse to Jersey residents. We hope to sail in company with them to Tortola.
Today Easter Monday we will stay in Road bay and enjoy the swimming before departing in the early hours of Tuesday morning for the B.V.I.s an eighty mile run arriving in plenty of time before dark I hope.
Well that's all for now folks, hope you are all keeping well and we wish you all a very happy Easter from the entire crew of Libertad in Road Bay Anguilla.
Best Wishes Paul.