It’s a beautiful morning here in St Barts, home to the landed, glitterati, i.e.: Rich and beautiful or at least doing their best to act and look that way.
This afternoon we will leave to make the 120 mile overnight run to St John where we will be meeting up with the 20 or so boats that will be making their way home as part of the Salty Dawg Homeward Bound rally. The plan is for us to leave on or about May 10th for points north. You should check out the fleet tracking page at this link. Better yet, follow the link to Pandora’s Predict Wind tracking page to see where we are and the weather that’s in the area. You can see the entire season of our movement way back from when Pandora headed south last November. nd click on “Pandora SV”, the link to Pandora alone.
If you don’t like that one, try my Garmin Pandora only tracking page to see where we are at any time. However, the fleet page is more interesting and shows the current weather that we are experiencing, along with my speed.
Brenda and I visited St Barts on our way south our first time cruising the Caribbean in 2018 and we have not been back. The major reason, beyond the fact that we have been cruising the southern islands, is that it is very roily out in the anchorage so being here can be uncomfortable.
Craig and I did a run from Antigua to St Barts a few days ago, leaving at dawn to make the 80 mile run. The view of the sunrise to our stern was really breathtaking. On this trip I decided to ask what it would cost to tie up on the dock in the inner harbor. I was shocked to learn that it was surprisingly cheap, something like $30/day. Perhaps it’s because it is late in the season as I know that it’s impossible to get in here during the holidays.
The two negatives are that they don’t have electric on the docks, and I guess that they assume that all those mega yachts have their own generators. And, the harbor itself has a bit of surge so Pandora is pulling on it’s dock lines most of the time as the water goes up and down a few inches. It took me more than a day to finally work out a way to calm the motion, but I finally did.
This is the view of the lighthouse up on the hill overlooking town from our cockpit. We walked up there yesterday but that story is a bit later in this post. Anyway, she’s riding well now. To say that we are close to “town” doesn’t begin to describe it. Just behind the dock is main street Gustavia, lined with every imaginable high end boutiques. French cheeses and wines are abundant and fairly reasonably priced. The fresh produce in the market, literally 20 steps from our transom, is amazing. And an endless number of high end restaurants, along with a few for those of us that “have to ask what it costs”, like me.
We hiked up, actually walked, up the road to the lighthouse that is visible from the town. The view of the harbor was really impressive. Pandora is on the dock to the left portion of the photo. Here’s a closeup of where she is, the last boat on the string, near all the dinks. We also spied the St Barts Yellow Submarine, a glass bottom boat that you can go out on to view the local reefs. I wonder where it was made. It looks like fun. Check out their webpage. Once we were up at the lighthouse, we could look down toward the island airport and watch the crazy approach that planes have to make to land on what appears to be a remarkably short runway. They zip overhead, so close you feel like you could reach up and touch them. After clearing the ridge, or mountain, at the western end of the runway, they dive down the other side to land. The planes fly at treetop level over the ridge and then go into a steep dive. Yes, it’s that steep. Actually worse than this photo suggests. And then, in seconds, are on the ground.From up on the hill you can peek into the amazing homes that ring the harbor. How about this spot, with “his and hers” pools. I looked in a real-estate office and, as expected, homes were listed for tens of millions. As you can imagine, the Russian Oligarchs are well represented here, or were before they had to flee due to sanctions.
This place is just dripping with money and in spite of the fact that the island is only 5 miles long, is packed with luxury cars of every description. The car rental agencies feature tricked out Mini Cooper convertibles, no economy cars for this crowd. I am particularly taken by the Moks, a sort of cross of a jeep and golf cart. They are everywhere. Being here for a few days, tied up on the dock, so close to town and all the sights, has been a real treat. Hope that Brenda and I will be able to visit here sometime in the future.
I guess I’d better break now as it’s time for a croissant and to get ready to head out on our overnight this afternoon. The winds appear to be favorable and I hope we will have a good run.
We should arrive in St John around mid day tomorrow.
Wish us luck.