March 18 - Month 20, 2010: From Montserrat to St. Kitts
We left before 8 a.m., initially for Nevis but, after rounding the Kingdom of Redonda - just a rock in the middle of nowhere - and approaching Nevis, we decided that the sailing was so nice that it would be better to pass the island and go to St. Kitts directly. We tried to anchor in Major's Bay, but a Ferry Boat was complaining about us being in the channel (no markings - nothing). We tried to anchor elsewhere in the bay but it got really shallow. So we went towards the Western bays and decided on anchoring in Ballast Bay - beautiful snorkeling and swimming. I decided to stay on the dinghy while the guys were snorkeling. Dietmar found Juergen to swim like a sea cow - very funny. We all had a great laughs. They both saw fan coral and others, and Dietmar even found some sea urchin which he ate, sharing some of the eggs with the fish. Unfortunately, neither Juergen nor I could see that. So we know about it from his description only. Too bad...
The next morning, after breakfast, we motored towards Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts. It was blowing quite a bit. We anchored initially to go to shore, check in and take an island tour. In the end, Juergen suggested that we go into the marina for greater comfort - not only our own but also in terms of knowing that the boat would be safe no matter what we were doing on land and how long we were staying away. It was a wise decision. By the time we had all the fenders and lines readied, we were already in the marina and tied up at our dock. What a relief. You should see my leg - it is bruised unbelievably, just from bounching around while trying to ready the boat with fenders and dock lines.
We immediately went over to immigration, checked in, then walked around town to visit the little museum we had visited two years ago, managed and owned by "Zack" Nesbitt. He is a collector of all sorts of documents involving the island's and its population's history, including slave trade etc. Zack has met many officials, including the Queen of England. There were pictures and newspaper articles to prove his tale. The place looks a lot more organized than it did two years ago. Still, it is amazing to see that there is so much work ahead, and we are still worried whether or not all those records, old maps (some 150 - 200 years old) will survive while Zack lets people handle everything without any gloves, air conditioning and fire protection.
We had lunch at the restaurant we spent quite a lot of time at during our last visit because it had internet access. This time, we did not take advantage of it because I had purchased WIFI access directly at the marina. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to upload images etc., the connection disappeared and I did not manage to get it working again, not even on the next day.
Dietmar and I went back to custom's and immigration to check out for the next day, while Juergen arranged for another day at the marina. The procedure was painless. On our way to custom's a taxi driver had asked whether we needed his services. We arranged for an island tour for the three of us at a negotiated price for a pick up at 9:30 a.m. The driver was there but introduced us to another "Ovan" who everybody seems to call Junior (his father is Ovan, too). Ovan had good knowledge of the island's history, its sites. He took us to all the places we had seen last time. Dietmar had, however, not yet seen the fort on Brim Stone Hill and the Northern and Eastern part of the island. After we stopped at the Black Rocks (lava formations from a volcanic eruption about 400 years ago), Junior drove us to a wonderful plantation for lunch. This was a setting to our hearts' delight. Even Mary Lou (Dietmar's wife) would have loved it, very elegant with perfectly groomed gardens, a restaurant overlooking the property and the ocean. The food was quite good though expensive. But, to date, we really had not gone out for dinner or lunch much - in total four times, including the lunch. So we all felt that it was worth splurging a little.
Ovan drove us back towards Basseterre and dropped us off at the super market near the marina. In the excitement of the trip being over and getting back to the boat, I forgot Dietmar's cooling bag in the car. I promised to get it back. The two men went to the boat to drop off the food and ice we had purchased while I went on a wild goose chase for Ovan. The first few taxi drivers did not know him. I decided to get to the marina and ask for their help. Fortunately, the driver who had approached us in the morning, was parked right outside the marina. I told him about the bag in Ovan's car. He called him, asked him to get back to the marina, and within minutes I had the bag back. Boy was a glad...