Having spent the last few weeks in the true cruising mode with Charlie, we are now switched over to traveling mode to head east and south for hurricane season. We have to wait a few days for a good forecast to cross the Anegada Passage to St Martin. We use this time to celebrate our wedding anniversary at Bitter End and do some hiking and snorkeling. We took a walk to a new resort being built on the east side of Virgin Gorda called Oil Nut Bay. It was a hot hike from Bitter End past Biras Creek and then we get to Oil Nut Bay. It is reached by boat through the cut beside Saba Island and the channel inside reefs. A gorgeous spot with lots of expensive development. Worth the hike to check it out.
The forecast came for light easterly winds set us off for St Martin and we arrived to the Dutch side of St Martin at 1AM or 14 hours later. We decided we could come in to the bay off of Simpson Lagoon in the dark and anchor until morning . We were just inside the bay when we spotted a fast motor boat up behind us without any lights on. Before we could react they were beside us. Turns out they were the Coast Guard patrolling their shores. There were maybe 10 guys on board all dressed in dark clothes and no lights. They wanted to know who we were, where were we from and where we were going. We were able to soon proceed to anchor without incident.
St Martin was a destination for us to look to buy a new hard bottom dinghy. We wanted to replace the type of dinghy that had gotten stolen from behind Maraki years ago on the Hudson River on our return to Michigan. Success was had with a Flexboat from Brazil, used for a few months and then traded in. We also bought a little Honda generator for emergency purposes or just batttery charging in place of the motor. We anchored inside the lagoon which would be a decent hurricane spot if need be. We did wander by dinghy over to French side of St Marten. We did only a little sight seeing around the lagoon and spent time on boat projects and the boat shopping. Did find the Vandorp stationary store though i think they are not relations.
We then head south and had a lovely 8 hour sail to St Eustatia, a Dutch island. Statia as it is commonly known is a oil transhipment depot for huge tankers to offload and smaller freighters to load. Lots of activity around the depot all day and night long. There is not a harbor but only what is called an open roadstead. We took a mooring ball for the night and had intended to explore Statia in the morning. We had done a wonderful hike into the old crater from the volcano years ago and wondered if we would do it again. But we spent such a rotten night there rolling all n.ght long and the tug boats passed by every hour through out the night. They are the ferry to the tankers and work goes on.
Nevis was our next destination. All of these islands have a volcano(about 3200 ft above sea level) that defines their look. We anchored right under the highest point and off a miles long beach. Nevis was a favorite stop of ours in the past but has grown up tremendously. It has become a place for the rich to buy land and buy citizenship. We wandered the hillsides and found a hot spring/bath area where the water is so hot all i could put in was my toes. People come to bathe here daily for health. we met an old man who rides his bike 2 miles here every day to bathe. He was in his 90s and said it helped his joints.
Alexander Hamilton was born in Charlestown Nevis, son of a Scotsman and a Nevian. Later he immigrated to St Croix and eventually made his wa y to the colonies to become the first Secretary of US Treasury. There is a musuem in town to visit. Our stay was cut short when a tropical disturbance developed so we headed for Antigua.
Antigua has a good harbor named English Harbor for hurricane protection. Our friends on Krow were anchored there so we made a long day of beating to windward. Not a fun day though we passed close by Isle of Redondo and north coast of Montserrat. Hiking up to shirley Heights above the harbor had beautiful vistas and tall gorgeous century plants. We used this tree in the VI for our Christmas tree. Lots of sheep and goats wandering around up here too.
After a week of sight seeing we headed on to Guadeloupe and Ile de Saintes. But another tropical disturbance was predicted for later that week so we stayed only one night and pushed off again for the south. We sailed past Dominica not stopping but sailing in close so we could enjoy the views. This island is so dramatic and beautiful but has no harbor to provide any protection so we need to keep going.
We made it to Marigot Bay St Lucia and picked up a mooring ball here. It was not long before Jah Man came out to the boat to sell us some fruits and veg.
Next morning we sailed past the Pitons.
Each day we are sailing about 60 miles southward in order to be in Martinique by weeks end as they have a good hurricane harbor in Le Marin. We hated sailing past all these beautiful spots but it is hurricane season. We have been to all these places before and remind ourselves of all the great hikes and explores we have done. At least we are not sailing past them in the dark but get to enjoy the beauty.
Next day we sail to St Pierre Martinique at the base of Mt Pelee. The mountain stands 4600 ft above and back in 1902 the 30,000 inhabitants were killed when the volcano exploded. Only survivor was a guy in jail!! St Pierre at that time was called the Little Paris of West Indies. Today it is a little village. Pelee here is clear and not in the clouds. Sailing along the leeward side of these massive mountain islands results in calm sailing with little wave action and it stays deep right up to the shore. We did have lots of rain showers washing off all the salt and collecting rain water for showers.
I will stop here now and will make the next post on the Round Martinique Race by the native boats called Yole. We head for Trinidad tonight and i will catch up to real time then. We will be in Trinidad for a month or more to do some needed repairs and haul out. Love to all!