Port Zante, Basseterre, St Kitts
Date: Sunday 12th January 2014
Position: 17:17.00N 062:43.00W
On Tuesday we upped anchor and sailed the short distance to St Kitts. The plan was to anchor outside the capital town, Basseterre, and then take a look at the town. However when we arrived the conditions were quite unpleasant. Somehow the topography had contrived to convert the easterly winds and swell into something from the south, which left the entrance completely open to the weather. We were being bounced around like being on a fairground ride. There was a small and protected marina just inside the port, so we called them on the radio, established that they had a place for us and went in.
The berth that they had allocated for us was very tricky to enter. It was beam on to wind blowing at 25 knots with just one wooden pole either side of the boat to attach mooring lines to. Just to make matters more taxing about a boat length in front of ‘our’ berth was a large motor cruiser moored at 90 degrees to our berth with a bowsprit that protruded a few meters into our line of approach. I’m not sure how we did it but we got in without hitting anything and tied up as securely as we could. It was only then that it struck me that until the wind died down it would be almost impossible to leave.
The next day we took a look around Basseterre, the capital city of St Kitts. The area next to the water front, and in which the marina was based, was actually part of a recent new development built primarily to handle cruise ship traffic. Whilst we were there two different cruise ships arrived each day (apart from Sunday), and disgorged their passengers ashore for the day. Rather perplexingly it was called Port Zante. It was, as may be expected, a rather dismal development. It had all of the charm of a low budget, pedestrianized, small town shopping centre. Unimaginative architecture, poured concrete, solid right angles, vivid pastel colours, jewellery shops, burger bars and other tourist tat were in profusion. In fact it was stocked full of just about everything you would struggle to find a use for on a boat.
But this was in marked contrast to the main town beyond, which was a real joy to wander around. Just like in Charlestown most of the down town building had been built many years ago using quarried stone blocks. They had real character. The streets were full of life with street vendors, and
Some views of Basseterre:
The 18th century fort at Brimstone Hill
Looking north from the fort you can see Statia, and beyond Saba is just visible.
The rugged east coast of St Kitts