March 21 - March 24, 2010: From St. Kitts to Sint Maarten
We all had agreed to leave the marina in Basseterre early for our roughly 45 nm trip to St. Bart's. After breakfast, we readied the boat, got rid of our garbage and casted off. It all worked smoothly. Once Dietmar steered the boat out of the harbor and the very shallow area right in front of the marina, I took the helm while Juergen and Dietmar took all the lines back in, the fenders.
We had some wind, so we got the genoa sail up and, after a while, also the main. We sailed between 3 and 6.3 knots for a while, knowing (expecting) that the wind would be much stronger once we got out of the shadow of the St. Kitts mountain range. We passed by Brim Stone Hill which was basked in early morning sunshine - beautiful. Eustatia ("Statia"), the Dutch island right across from St. Kitt's had been visible for a while. Now we entered the passage between the two islands, the wind started picking up as did the sea - but not too badly. We reefed the main and the genoa a little and sailed comfortable at around 8.5 knots, occasionally, we even saw 9.2 knots - amazing for us as Impromptu does not sail this fast. Here the longer water line, the deeper keep and the taller mast clearly showed their advantage. We had a ball. This was one of the best sailing days we have had to date.
We arrived so early that we had lunch anchored in front of Gustavia before checking in with custom's. Unfortunately, it was Sunday - all the stores and restaurants closed, even the ice cream place. After checking in, we went back to the boat, lifted anchor and motored the next few miles to the Bay of Colombier where we had anchored on our first day out of Sint Maarten a few weeks ago.
It is an incredibly beautiful bay - too crowded this time. Still, we enjoyed the view, the weather, the wind, had our usual cocktail around 5 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., Dietmar went to work to prepare his famous Spaetzle again. Since, in his mind, they had not come out right the last time he made them, he wanted to redeem himself. I had prepared goulasch and red cabbage the day before. We had done two loads of laundry while Dietmar was making water with his water maker. Part of it had dried already, the remainder needed to be hung outside the next morning. The two guys sturred the Spaetzle dough until it finally created the air bubbles it needed - see the pictures in our gallery. Dinner was delicious though my red cabbage was missing some spice - we could not tell what. It had all the ingredients normally used. We froze the leftovers for Dietmar and Juergen's passage to St. Thomas, sat and talked, finished the red wine we had enjoyed with the meal and then, Dietmar prepared his famous Espresso. He had done so on a number of occasions on this trip - it always was a great treat.
We had planned breakfast for 8 a.m. - croissants, jam, coffee, but we all were ready by 7:30 a.m. Before, I had already put out our laundry - with Dietmar's help, because the wind was blowing so hard, we did not hang it on the lifelines like we mostly do but, instead, like in St. Pierre, on the shrouds. Within two hours, everything was dry except for the thick towels.
We sat and talked. Dietmar fixed some broken cable at his stove - Juergen played assistant. I worked on my photos for the website before we took the dinghy to shore. The beach is gorgeous, like the entire bay, with super fine light sand. Behind it are high lava rocks and a fairly steep hill. We took a little walk to see the other side of the island, including the town of Colombier. We swam in the turquois water. One really did not need to do anything except float.
After lunch (tuna salad) and a little rest Dietmar and Juergen went snorkeling while I cleaned up the galley and worked on my logbook. They just returned, I am sure, soon ready for their usual rum drink (Dietmar rum and diet Coke, Juergen rum and fruit juice). We will have wine with dinner (curried chicken and rice and some peppers), and, for dessert, Orio cookies.
Unfortunately, tomorrow, it is supposed to blow even harder than today. It is the day we will have to take the boat back to Sint Maarten so I can get ready for my flight out to New York on Wednesday. The guys will have to reprovision and then take the boat to St. Thomas, get her cleaned up and ready for the next visitors, Dietmar's sisters and a brother-in-law. Both gentlemen will fly home on April 1st, Dietmar to return to "Romany Life" around the 10th of April to take his sisters sailing. For us, the trip will thus be over. It was an amazing time, we forged a great friendship, missed Mary Lou who stayed home as she does not enjoy sailing. We will remember this trip for ever - the beautiful boat, the beautiful places, our discussions (serious and fun) with Dietmar.
The night was houling (spelling?) - we had unbelievable wind and even higher gusts. I don't know how much wind we had but it sure must have been way over 20 knots. Still, we were anchored in our protected spot. Occasionally I checked whether we were still anchored where we were supposed to be - the usual thing for us boaters. All was well. We had breakfast in the bay and departed for Sint Maarten at 8:15 a.m. We had fairly large rollers occasionally, still we could sail under genoa alone and made between 6.2 and 7.2 knots. Just before Simpson Bay, we tacked out as we had arrived about an hour before bridge opening for inbound traffic. Fun. A fishing boat was not watching, and Dietmar had to turn Romany Life hard to starboard to avoid a collision - not our fault. Shortly before 11:30 a.m., we moved into position to enter Simpson Bay. Now, we are anchored, will have lunch shortly, then check in with custom's at 3 p.m., their opening for the afternoon. We are trying to have a drink, upload the website with all its pictures, go shopping to reprovision the boat. If we can find the wonderful frozen shrimp the super market had last time we were here, I will cook dinner tonight so we can sit comfortably on the boat one last time - at least for me. Tomorrow around 10 a.m., we will go ashore so I can find a taxi for the airport.
It is sad to know that these unbelievably three weeks will be over for me. What an experience. What a terrific time.