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Date: 24 Jan 2011 02:05:00
Title: Tash drops in

17:09.092N 62:37.847W Charlestown, Nevis, Sunday night

We got up pretty early this morning as we wanted to get South to Nevis and we weren't sure that the anchorage there would be tenable so we wanted to have time to get back up to White House Bay again if needs be. We had breakfast and the girls went for a morning swim then we prepared to leave. As we did so, a large blue-hulled yacht came in from the direction of Nevis and anchored behind us. I watched its anchor chain inch out and thought they had the slowest anchor windlass in the World.

We raised our anchor, narrowly avoiding the catamaran full of idiots who'd anchored almost on top of it and then headed out to sea past the new arrival. As we did so, a woman on board yelled out "Kali, where are you off to?". Sure enough, it was Tash. We replied that we were coming around in a circle to anchor back alongside them, which is what we did. I said to Kali: "You said she was on a white Oyster with davits and that's a blue Swan with the tender on the foredeck". Kali protested that they must have changed boats which is, in fact, what had happened. The owner had bought the Swan in Italy, put the Oyster up for sale and got Tash to sail the new boat across the Atlantic after a short and unsuccessful refit.

Anyway, Kali shot over to see whether we should go to Tash or vice versa. As Tash had two charter guests onboard, Kali returned to Saxon Blue with her and we had a lovely catch-up on what we'd all been up to since we last saw each other in Oban in May last year. We were also able to tell Tash all the best places on St Kitts and Statia to take her guests. We got some good news of Richard's baby Finton who apparently has enormous hands, like his dad. Tash also told us that the roadstead at Nevis was fine with plenty of mooring buoys. Then it was time to return Tash to her guests and we could carry on with our day.

As we were now sure that we could stay at Nevis, we felt safe to spend a while snorkelling in the rocks at the North end of our bay. Andrea once again had a good session. There were some beautiful fan-shaped corals on the rocks, waving as the waves came through. I saw what I thought was some kind of crab but, when I dived down to it, I could see that it was a fish completely covered in spines and travelling right next to the sand. I certainly didn't want to touch that one.

After all that excitement, we headed back to Saxon Blue for a light lunch and then raised our anchor for the second time. Waving as we passed Tash, we headed out, got the main and genoa out and started sailing within a few minutes. The wind was about 12 knots from the port beam so we just sailed along at around 8 knots, watching the coast of the arid southern bit of St Kitts slip by to port. We saw a succession of rocky bays, one with an impressive shipwreck in it before we reached the tip of the island and set out to cross the 2-mile wide channel which separates it from Nevis.

The wind picked up slightly as we lost the effect of the land but the sea didn't alter much and we carried on with our perfect sail - perfect wind speed from perfect direction in virtually no swell or waves. It's not like that very often. We could see the beach on Nevis ahead of us and a cruise ship anchored off it. From the AIS, I could see that it was the Club Med II, a modest sized ship, really, but with 5 tall masts carrying sails plonked on the top. I don't know if they contribute anything to her propulsion but they look decorative and keep the punters happy that they're on an "eco" holiday. There is no cruise ship dock on Nevis so the guests have to be shuttled ashore in a tender.

We sailed between Club Med and the shore, past a whole host of mooring buoys. The other islands could really learn something from Nevis about how to attract yachts. The Customs is at Charlestown itself, slightly to the South of the beach so we anchored off there and Kali shot in with the tender to clear us in. It turned out that we didn't need to do any documentation on our way in so we were free to go wherever we liked. We picked a mooring buoy about half way along the beach and the girls soon had it secured. It was really hot by that time so we decided to take the tender in and anchor off the beach so we could swim ashore for a cold drink.

Kali swam all the way in from Saxon Blue while Andrea and I went most of the way in the tender. Once we arrived on the beach with all our stuff in dry bags, we walked towards Charlestown to find a quiet bar where we had a drink and read our books for an hour or so. As the sun went down, the bugs came out and we decided that, if we waited for the chef to start cooking dinner, it was us who would be on the menu so we walked and swam back to the tender and back onto Saxon Blue where Kali knocked up a shrimp curry in very short order.

Nevis is still part of the same country as St Kitts but I'm not sure it'll remain so. It's very different. Sitting here now, it's pitch dark and we can see St Kitts all lit up whereas Nevis is almost completely dark. There are very few houses and the whole island looks like forest. There were a few people on the shore from the Club Med but they've all gone now and the place is almost deserted. We walked past a few guys casting purse nets out from the shore to catch tiny fish but I think the Pelicans were having more luck. The whole place has a totally laid-back air to it.

The bar on the beach is now blasting out raggae versions of every kind of song. We've had Take That and even Pink Floyd. There really is no song in the world that can't be destroyed by setting it to that distinctive reggae beat. I'm not sure if we're going to move to a quieter buoy this evening. Tomorrow, Andrea and I are heading off to stay for a couple of nights at a converted sugar plantation on the island so we're looking forward to getting a different perspective on this beautiful island from there.

Harvey

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