18:21.3N 64:35.0W Great Harbour, Peter Island

Madeleine and Martin
Mon 14 Jan 2013 12:43
Our arrival in Nevis (pronounced Neevis) must have been foretold because we were met at the dinghy dock by Samuel who took our lines and then proceeded to shepherd us through the tortuous process of “checking in” which involves the man at customs, the lady at the port authority, the man at immigration and a further visit to customs, or was it the port authority, to prove that we had seen the man at immigration (which was at least six blocks away). Every visit was accompanied by pleasantries, reams of carbon paper and many hand written forms most of which contained exactly the same information as the details we had given to customs or was it the man at immigration..............Samuel remained indefatigable! It turned out that Samuel was our guide, taxi driver and friend for the day. His taxi was called Cinderella III which says it all. A conducted tour of the island was followed by a sumptuous luncheon at the Golden Rock, a converted sugar cane plantation high in the hills with amazing gardens designed by the most aptly named American landscape architect ever; Mr Jungles.
Our departure from Nevis was both spontaneous and unexpected – the mooring line parted. Good job it was at breakfast time rather than in the middle of the night! As Nevis had obviously finished with us we moved on to the island of St Kitts – the other half of the same country – and anchored in Whitehouse Bay. St Kitts had heard about the mooring line and proceeded to deliver judgement in the form of repeated wind squalls and driving rain. We dinghied ashore – cue tropical downpour – to see the massive new, much advertised, mega yacht development. Apparently we were a bit early as the site contained two beaten up old yachts and a dredger. The shower block was a single portaloo blown over by one or more of the said squalls, leaning precariously against a telegraph pole. Never daunted we set off to walk to the equally well advertised restaurant. It turned out to have been closed over a year ago -  but our efforts were rewarded. On the edge of a stunning Atlantic sandy bay “the developer” had created a piece of magic in the form of the Pavilion Restaurant complete with infinity pool and a world class chef – the first bit of truth in the entire brochure! According to the drawings almost every plot had been sold – there was just one left – ours for a cool $2m US.
Back to earth in Basseterre,  capital of St Kitts and another Samuel; a younger version with the only ex New York yellow cab on the Island; ours for a much cooler $40 for what was left of the day. Leaving Basseterre the following morning was a moment to reflect on the cruise ships, their very own tourist mall, the blaring horns, the brilliant Brimstone fort (scene of much British valour), the revivalist meetings (or were they political), the immigration lady who said not a word as she conducted our paper departure accompanied by a prayer meeting on her radio. And if that was not enough, we weighed anchor to the amplified sounds of an early morning (0700) religious meeting broadcast across the harbour. I know we lose track of these things but we checked; it was a Saturday.
A 24 hour passage to the BVI had better go without full honours. Suffice to say we arrived “without”; without sleep; without human fuel and without day light. Stooging around waiting for the sun to get up, “without” as aforesaid, was a trifle trying. So, with the benefit of daylight we navigated the Salt Island passage, around the infamous Deadman’s Island ( no takers for Yo Ho Ho or a bottle of rum) and finally into harbour. Never mind, here we are, at anchor, in the British Virgin Islands, 3781 miles from Southampton, sitting in the shade, watching the pelicans dive. Tomorrow, Monday, over to Road Town, Tortola, to check in with customs, immigration, Uncle Tom Cobbley and All. Wonder what will be on the radio there.........