Final on the BVI’s: Pros: great sailing, easy navigation, lots of places that are still worthwhile. I’d still come back for Peter, Cooper, Virgin Gorda, the Dove and Anagada. Cons: Very tough to anchor at Jost van Dyke, Norman, West End, due to the excessive mooring balls. Most of the “cool” places have become merchandisers with pricy food of dubious quality. Vendors preying on charter boaters and cruise ships.
On to St. Martin. The Wind Machine Director (WMD) in the nose of the boat was working overtime on our way to St. Barts to catch the New Year’s Celebration. We were hoping we could find a spot under the bow of some Sheik’s moving island to catch the fireworks and toast 2012 with fine Italian Prosecco. Alas, it was not to be. We fought a stiff current and breeze that only got stronger as we approached and decided to cut our losses and make Marigot Bay, St. Martin. We found great little Creole restaurants, bakeries, cheese and wine shops, and kicked back. At least we won’t starve or go thirsty. Broke perhaps. We immediately formed a habit consisting of croissants and espressos.
|The Dingy Dock at Marigot, St. Martin|
We set out on New Year’s Eve with great expectations, foreign port, no Dick Clark mumbling into the mike. Turns out Marigot does not have a night life. We found two places doing a US style dinner-buffet all included gig which were already in motion. We then happened upon an open air bar with a very short but highly enthusiastic Karaoke wrangler, cajoling patrons to pick songs and sing. It’s good to know that most French can’t carry a tune either. The crowd and restaurant owner appeared to have been celebrating for most of the day and we had a blast watching the show. The owner turned out to be from Sicily and was not shy about his feelings for the French or showing me his semi-automatic hand gun or describing his indiscretions in detail. Luckily, he spoke with his hands. The juice pretty much ran out about 10 and we drifted to one of the all-inclusive places that had a trumpet and piano accompanied by a sound machine. Most of the patrons had left and we were met with empty tables brimming with New Year’s Eve “equipment”: Pointy hats, sounding devices and adult size spit ball cannons. Hopefully they will find an age appropriate place to go, perhaps kindergarten class. The music was quite good but the whole affair ended at 11:45 PM. I checked my ZULU offset 3 times. We closed the year out at our floating home with our own bottle of bubbly.
While coming in from the BVIs we were plagued once again by leaking water from the cap rail even after re-epoxying some of the seams and made the decision to varnish. Also took some time to correct some issues with the reefing system. Nice work done at FKG on the Dutch side. Delivering the boom on the dink:
|No job too big for "Lil Peppa"|
After 19 days
it was well past the time to move on and we made our way to St. Barts. There
was a great nature walk at our first anchorage from St. Anse de Columbier
to Anse des Flamandes .
Good place to off gas,
swim, clean the bottom and regroup. The main town of St Barts is Gustavia,
filled with a flotilla of Saudi Sheiks love palaces and over upscale clothing
boutiques. There were some local joints
filled with foul smelling, chain smoking, unkempt Frenchmen drinking absinthe
and hoping they looked like a cross between Marlon Brando and Gerard-Depardieu
but they generally kept to themselves and urinated in private.
Anse des Flamandes, St Barts.
We made our way to Statia or St. Eustatius depending on which chart you are using. Nice place, mediocre Chinese food, with a very rolly harbor which ended up shorting our stay. Then Nevis, where the first person we met was an Ossie Davis look alike winner. Charming guy, followed by the not so charming rasta man who tried to sell us everything from homemade reggae sounds to Island tours. The guy was everywhere on the Island and relentless, perhaps there was more than one. We also got introduced to the EC, a currency that no one out of the Caribbean has heard about, including your bank. Pegged at 2.67 per US dollar, it is how business gets done. It is colorful with lots of pictures of English monarchy, but any currency with a 1 and a 2 cent coin can’t be taken seriously. Once out of the main city of Charlestown the Island was strewn with old plantations converted into hotels and resorts and the shoreline was dotted with upscale homes and restaurants. Very nice.
We tried to sail to Guadeloupe but the WMD was working and we took shelter for the night in Montserrat, sleeping next to an active volcano. Notice we are upwind…
|Steamy at Montserrat|