Tuesday, 11 February 2014

5/2014 St Barts

Hi from Clare, Friday 7th February 2014

When last I wrote we were on the island of St Maarten anchored in Simpson Lagoon. Andrew had successfully installed the new digital Radar and the amount of detail we can now see is amazing. We even tracked Tony and Jill (Nychea) approaching Eye Candy in their dinghy; pretty impressive.

Lagoonies Bar & another squall

The weather although lovely and sunny has been very unpredictable and we spent a lot of time in St Maarten ducking between rain squalls. Jill and I had a girl's day out and enjoyed shopping in the French Boutiques. Most shops had sales on but the French being the French don't call them 'sales' they call them 'promotions'. They would explain "everything on these racks is on promotion, 50 % off the marked price. So now we own French promotion dressers - ooolala. Jill did the driving and on the way to shopping she explained that she didn't drive the dinghy very fast. However on the way back we were chased by a black cloud. It's funny how things change when faced with getting wet. Jill opened the throttle and we speed across the lagoon coming in for a crash landing at the back of Eye Candy and we scrambled aboard with our shopping bags just as the rain squall hit, accompanied by a 27.7knot wind. Late that afternoon we joined our cruising friends at Lagoonies bar for drinks and dinner. Andrew and I left our boat in perfect sunshine and only just made the short distance to the bar before the next rain squall hit; see photo.

On our last night in St Maarten we went to the yacht club for farewell drinks and in time to watch the bridge opening for yachts entering the lagoon. About half an hour later there was a private bridge opening, at the cost of $1000, for a very large and expensive yacht to come through. I asked "why not come through with everybody else, why would they pay $1000 for a private opening" the consensus was, because they can.


Gustavia Port and Township, St Barts

On Sunday we sailed sixteen miles into the wind to the French island of Saint-Barth. In the Caribbean this island is unique in that it doesn't have slavery in its history; it was settled by the French and Swedes. The island's capital Gustavia is situated in a large port and is a modern tourist town with duty free shops and waterfront restaurants. However Gustavia still has many examples of Swedish architecture dating back to the early 1800s. The town has grown up around these earlier buildings and it is lovely to see the old and new sitting comfortably together; if only I was artistic and could paint. We walked all around town and then up to the ruins of Fort Carl (named for Duke Carl, the brother of Swedish King Gustaf 111). We had a great view of the township of Gustavia, the port and the surrounding waterways.

The New and the old & the walk to Flamands

Upon our arrival to Saint-Barth we took a mooring ball in Anse de Colombier which is a well protected bay on the North West corner of Saint-Barth and away from the water traffic of Gustavia. We are with Tony and Jill on Nychea and a few boats we know from the Salty Dawg Rally or the Ocean Cruising Club. On our first day here Andrew and Tony took the dinghy around to Gustavia to check in. Tony needed some petrol for his outboard but they discovered, believe it or not, that the only fuel was at the airport. As this is quite some distance they decided to hitch hike. A local chap picked them up and much to their surprise he was drinking a can of beer and smoking a joint while driving the car. However, being a nice chap, he offered Andrew a puff.  He then waited and gave them a lift back to Gustavia via the scenic route. 
We had dinner on Nychea earlier in the week and we reciprocated on Eye Candy a few nights later. Yesterday Andrew and I went for a walk along the cliff face to the village a few kilometres away at Flamands beach. Today the four of us climbed to the lookout above Anse de Colombier. On both occasions the view was truly beautiful and the exercise didn't do us any harm. Each day we swim and snorkel or walk along the beach. Last night we played Dominoes with Tony and Jill and tonight we had drinks on Nychea and met fellow OCC members Mervin and Penny on Tamarind.

Tony, Jill and Clare at the lookout & our anchorage at Anse de Colombier

We have enjoyed Saint-Barth and as you can see by the photo Anse de Colombier is a lovely spot. We anticipate leaving here on Monday for Antigua.
Love Candy xx

At 12:50 PM7/02/2014 (utc) our position was 17°55.52'N 062°52.16'W

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