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Date: 13 Feb 2015 19:23:22
Title: St Barths

17:54:3N 062:51:4W

Gustavia, St Barths / St Barthelemy
11th February 2015

Taxi Tour - Driver Curtley
Yesterday we had an early start to clean WD before touring Nevis...we have a Dutch couple, who own Mermaid another Rival 38 coming for drinks at 1800. Ashore we found an eloquent and knowledgeable taxi driver who agreed to take us on a tour of Nevis. Driving along he said, "Here is the underground hotel, people are dying to go there, but the only go there once. Me I can wait a little." I scanned the surrounding countryside for a sign of the underground hotel, finally it dawned on me, slow that I am, it was the cemetery he was talking about.

Healing Powers
We stopped at the hot springs. We were told the waters were volcanically heated and the mineral content meant they healed a huge list of ailments and read us - I explained we were relaxed, we sail slowly and that went well with our pace of life. Not sure they had a clue what I was on about! There were three pools of varying temperatures and a relaxing pool. I was promised instant refreshment if they poured the water over my head, never one to miss a treat,  I agreed. I waded in, removing hat and sunglasses and the pretty young lady poured very hot water over my head. It really wasn't refreshing, but it did wash off the sticky sunblock I had carefully applied earlier. I do get the odd twinge of pain in my right knee, but that wasn't instantly better either. Oh well, maybe you need regularly therapy.

Admiral Nelson
Nelson married Fanny Nesbit a local sugar cane plantation owner's widow. We stopped at the church where they used to keep the marriage certificate. Could we see it? No the church was damaged by Hurricane Hugo and everything's ng has been removed. There are numerous churches on Nevis and all of them are hurricane shelters.

Plantation Owners
We were then treated to a visit to old plantation owners homes. Very grand hotels as they now are. The first Princess Diana had stayed at with children, but no Charles. Then then one with all rooms detached and in the local brightly coloured gingerbread style. Then another, where the old wind mill was the honeymoon suite. We visited the remains of the last steam driven sugar cane processing mill, with lots of industrial equipment. I was inspired to lots of arty photos, not sure if they are any good? The last Plantation we visited was the Nesbit Plantation, Prince Charles had visited with another young lady something in 1973. Then St Thomas' Church built in the 1600s and the oldest on he island. A great trip, we also saw very shy, wild green velvet monkeys..escaped and naturalised pets from the French occupation. Wild donkeys, pigs, goats and sheep.

Drinks onboard WD
We bought few snacks and a bottle of wine for our guests later that evening. I was inspired to make guacomole and mini garlic bread. Gerard and Josie from Mermaid braved the increased swell to row across to us. The wing had swung around to the South and were no longer in the Lee of the island. As Josie climbed into the cockpit she said, "It is just like coming home!" There followed a few hours of chat about the merits of Rivals. A merry time was had by all.

Gustavia, St Bart's
As the wind was from the South we decided now was a good time to sail to St Bart's. The forecast was for the wind to drop off completely over the next couple of days. So we abandoned plans for St Kitts and headed North. A lovely 12-15 knots from the South had us running down wind with Genoa poled out and goose winging. Watermaker gently pumping away in the background. A relaxing sail of 11 hours.
We arrived in a very crowded anchorage. Difficulties were further compounded as there were many boats moored amongst in the anchoring area. A strong onshore breeze was blowing. We eventually dropped anchor in a small gap. No shelter was available. To compound my anxiety there were at least two boats wrecked on the rocks just behind us. We had an extremely rocky and folly night, the wind came round through 180°. We had set the anchor alarm and I was up quick as a flash as I had visions of swinging into moored boats. As we swung and lurched from side to side it lashed it down with rain. The alarm repeatedly went off, eventually I set it for a greater distance. All was good in the end, no bangs with other boats, the anchor held, we somehow missed everything. As the sun came up the wind was back to the normal trades and had dropped to ten knots. Later that morning we saw a free mooring in a slightly less packed area, and grabbed it. No sleepless night for me tonight.

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