Well, here we are in St Barths and seeing, for the first time, where the really big dollars go when they visit the Caribbean. The staggering display of wealth here is unrivaled, and I find myself wondering just how somoene can accumulate so much in a single lifetime.
There is a remarkable amount of “hardware” moored in the tiny harbor or, if they are over 200′ long, outside as that’s the limit on size if you want to tie up to a dock.. And tie up they do as they are lined up like cord wood. It’s an impressive display of wealth.This is the harbor that the boat I crewed on from Long Island to Ft Lauderdale last fall was coming to for Christmas. As you can’t reserve a slip here, you just have to show up and hope that there’s room. And, as the owner wanted to be there during Christmas, the highest of high season, the crew was going to bring the boat down a full month early just to hold their spot for the four days she planned to be aboard.
As we neared the harbor, we passed this lovely sailboat complete with umbrellas on the aft deck. You know, it’s imperative to keep Buffy out of the sun. That’s of course, unless you plan turn in your sun wrinkled Buffy for a new one down the road. Go ahead Buffy, you look terrific with a tan. Outside of the harbor is where anyone who is unlucky enough to have a boat that’s over 200′. Perhaps the Queen of the fleet in this regard is Eclipse, the second largest yacht in the world at 533′ long, owned by Roman Abramovitch, the Russian Oligarch. This yacht cost something like $500,000,000 to build back in 2010. I guess that the recession didn’t hurt him much. I am sure that it pays really, really well to be on Putin’s good side. Believe it or not, Abramovitch also has a home on St Barths. It must be a pretty amazing home if staying aboard Eclipse with the 70 crew isn’t pampering enough. Want to learn more? Check out this description of the boat. And, if you are one of the 10 or so people in the world that could afford to charter such a boat, it’s available if you have the coin. Sorry the photo is from so far away, but it was the only way I could fit it all in a single photo. Ashore, you can see why the “well coined” want to spend time here. It’s very beautiful with tree/palm lined shady streets, all with charming sounding French names. Well, perhaps not all that shady. We walked by this lovely little church as a service was underway with sounds of the congregation wafting out of the open doors and windows. I’ll bet that the parishioners give generously to the church with the hope that they will be absolved of any number of possible sins that they may have committed in the name of capitalism. Sin or not, I’ll bet these visitors to such a high end and rarefied paradise are having a great time. My mother used to tell me that “the wealthy are miserable”. Based on this place, I am not completely confident that she was correct in this statement. Sorry Mom, I am fairly confident that was the only time you weren’t correct, so don’t worry.
The area surrounding the tiny harbor is lined with lovely restored historic buildings.
Even the ones that are in various states of disrepair look positively lovely. There’s me too although, I hope, not in a similar state of disrepair. Don’t you just love my fashionable hat? I am old enough to want to stay out of the sun and subscribe to the belief that “there is simply no such thing as a good tan”. Are you listening Buffy?And, speaking of the “little people”, from a financial perspective only, of course, I love these little trucks. It would be great fun to “deliver stuff” around town back home with one of these. “Brenda, I’m off to the dump again. Isn’t my new truck the cutest?” Bummer that these aren’t offered in the U.S. My driving one of these things would positively horrify my older son Rob who favors multi-ton behemoths.And, when I wasn’t busy ogling the massive mega-stuff in the harbor, the St Barth’s Yellow Submarine caught my eye. I have no idea what this is all about but it’s yellow, for sure. Earlier in the day yesterday we cleared out of St Martin to make the short run over to St Barths. As we were leaving the lagoon it was really impressive to see the long line of huge yachts lined up to squeeze their way through the narrow lift bridge. P2, all 140′ of her, was ahead of us. We know the owner of this yacht. He also owns Marie, the 200′ ketch that Brenda and I were guests on two years ago in Newport. P2 is carbon fiber and a very fast boat. She’s now anchored out near St Barths too. This ketch, complete with plumb bow and bowsprit is beautiful Love the light grey hull. Very tasteful. Everything on these yachts is massive. Consider the size of the boom on this huge sloop. The crew member on deck looks tiny under the mainsail traveler. Imagine the loads on this when she is heeled over in a stiff breeze. All and all, this part of the Caribbean is the place to see and be seen if you are fortunate to have the “coin” to play the game. And, it would seem, with about two dozen mega,mega yachts in this harbor or nearby suggest, the ability to accumulate massive amounts of wealth is alive and well and if you have it St Barths is the perfect place to flaunt it.
The good news is that although just about everything here is hugely expensive, Brenda and I can still go ashore confident that when I say “yes, I think I’ll have another baguette” it won’t set us back more than a buck. Well, that’s the one thing we have in common with the rest of the residents.
So what about dinner for the little people here in St Barths? For dinner tonight Brenda’s cooking duck with a fig preserve sauce. The only sad part is that our dishwasher seems to have left us so cleanup will be left to me.
Such is life here in St Barths,even for us “little kids” but don’t feel too sorry for me as I’ll will be drinking French wine while cleaning up and it’s less expensive than in the U.S. Thank goodness or we’d be reduced to a diet of bread and water.
But we aren’t.
Editor: For those of you, you know who you are, who are interested in seeing where we are, Pandora’s AIS is back in business after being off for about a week or so and, of course, we continue to update our position every day. You can learn more about this on the home page button “Where in the world is Pandora”.
And yes, for the moment, all the moles have been soundly “whacked” into their holes and everything aboard Pandora is in working order. Hopefully, it will be more than a few days from now until another mole rears it’s ugly head again.