Tuesday 20th December

Thu 22 Dec 2005 13:55
Title: Message
Gustavia - Saint Barts
Up at 7.00am to get an early start towards St Barts. We left our ancourage in Ballast Bay and crossed to the main town of Basseterre, Saint Kitts. The intention was to pull in, drop Andy off to clear customs, then be on our way as quickly as possible. Well once again the officials were not going to let us have such an easy ride. In fact this time they wanted to arrest Andy and impound the boat for pulling into Ballast Bay for the night without permission instead of coming into the Marina at Basseterre! The charade with the officials lasted 3 hours as Andy was shunted from customs office to immigration to police station! When he was eventually allowed to go, we were all a little despondent and decided Saint Kitts was not going to stay on our list of places to go back to.
We set sail again around the island and passed between the Dutch islands of Saba and St Eustatius (Statia) before we hit the open sea's on our way to Saint Barts. The girls were egging the boat on as they had all heard that Saint Barts had wonderful shopping and were keen for some retail therapy after our frustrating morning.
Pulling into Gustavia was like going into the playground of the rich and I mean RICH! The boats lined up on the quay side were all worth $20 million+ and there was no way we were getting into the marina. We anchored in the bay outside and dropped the dingy to ferry people ashore. The first load consisted of the female shoppers and Nico was due to come back for a second load. However Andy spotted a boat Taxi when he jumped ashore so he sent this back for the rest of the crew instead. A sign of the affluence on this island was that the taxi waned €160 for a return journey!! Don't worry we knocked down to a sensible price eventually.
The key side was lined with branded shops such as Dior, Armani and Luis Vitton. After a quick drink the kids dragged mum's and dad's into Billabong for T-shirts and shorts. This was a very well kept island and the buildings meandered back from the main drag through level after level of more and more shops. They were mainly wooden buildings all painted in rustic colours, it was just like the South of France relocated.
Once we had all explored for an hour we started to search out a reasonable restaurant that would take all 12 of us and cater for the kids while Ian & Andy searched for a bank machine. When they had located one there just happened to be a Blac Bleu store opposite (a favourite back home!) so they popped on and ended up spoiling the girls with new outfits. The restaurant the crew had found was at the bottom end of the marina off the main drag. It was a typically French establishment, the service and attention to the kids impeccable, and the food wonderful. We called it the ice cream bar but the name escapes us!
The taxi boat was booked for 9.00 and we all headed back to Now3 for an early night as we intended to leave at 4.00am the next morning for the BVI's.
Nowcrew out.