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Date: 29 Jan 2011 02:41:00
Title: Back on Statia for a Chinese

17:28.793N 62:59.257W Gallows Bay, Statia, Friday night

We got up early this morning so we could get cleared out of Nevis and head back towards St Martin. In the end, it took Kali about an hour to get the forms filled so it was past 9am before we were ready to depart. All the Customs and Immigration stuff out here is a bit ridiculous. They ask a load of questions and fill in a bunch of forms which are then just filed away in a drawer and never seen again. Nobody checks that the answers we give are true and nobody compares notes between jurisdictions so the whole thing is really just jobs for the boys. Still, it's easier to fill in forms for yachtsmen than it is to go out and catch smugglers.

Andrea did some Janeway filming while we motored past the Four Seasons Resort on Nevis. It's notable for a wealth of swaying palm trees - the only ones on the island not snapped off half way up by the last hurricane. I'm sure they've been imported and planted there. Still, the resort provides loads of employment for Nevis so it's very popular with the locals. We set our genoa and headed for Statia with the wind blowing about 20 knots on our starboard quarter. That was about it as far as the sailing went. The wind stayed pretty constant and we just barrelled along at about 8 knots chatting to each other and eating. I spent a while trying to track down a noise from the rig and I think I know what it is but I couldn't reach it while we were moving so I'll have a go tomorrow.

As we crossed the sound between St Kitts and Statia, I saw the biggest shoal/flock of flying fish I've seen so far. I thought they were birds and even said the same to Kali who agreed that they couldn't be fish as there were too many. Just then, they all disappeared into a wave. There must have been a couple of hundred of them and they were airborne for what seemed like ages. They really are extraordinary creatures.

As we approached Statia, we could see a small tanker moored off the harbour. It had floating hose to the shore so I suppose it was filling the diesel tanks which power the generator for the island. We came in around it and anchored almost exactly where we were last time. Kali took our documents ashore to clear in again while I went snorkelling with Andrea. She did really well and we swam from Saxon Blue over to the sunken wharf wall and along it. It's the best place we've found for fish and she was amazed at how many we saw. We found some lovely flatfish with excellent camouflage (although not quite good enough) and all the usual neon blue ones. The water here is gin-clear. We could see the anchor below us in the sand and I watched a trigger fish following the chain along the bottom looking for food.

We were tired after that so I had a bit of a snooze before we went ashore to the same Chinese restaurant that we visited before when we were here. The food was great and it was good to see all the tiny houses and buildings again. They're a real constrast to the architecture on the other islands and, in fact, the whole place has a real character of its own. We've just been sitting in a deserted bar on the seafront using their internet and discussing our plans for the next little while, especially what we're going to do for Andrea's birthday.

Luckily, it's now past 9pm so we can officially go to bed - this is according to Andrea's rule book. That was until Andrea and Kali decided to watch the concluding part of last night's Battlestar Galactica so it looks like I'll be up for a while yet. Still, at least I'll get a chance to digest my dinner before bed.

Harvey

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