It’s Monday morning and we are anchored in the lee of St Kitts, one of the two islands, including Nevis that make up this island nation. As these two islands are pretty small and have no natural harbors, all you can do is to pick a spot on the coast that indents somewhat to get you out of the northerly swell.
As we sailed out of Jolly Harbor, Antigua we were greeted to a beautiful rainbow. As showers come and go most days, rainbows, sometimes double, are common and keep the decks salt free, which I appreciate.On our way here we had the wind directly behind us, not a very efficient point of sail. However, it gave me an opportunity to try out my new preventer on the headsail. It involves a line that runs to the aft end of the jib boom and out to the end of the short bowsprit. The idea is to keep the boom from slamming around when we are running off the wind. The preventer are the two red lines running to the aft end of the boom, leading back to the cockpit. It worked pretty well, but in the bouncy conditions, with 20-25kts behind us, we did jibe the jib once and the pressure of the preventer, that couldn’t quite “prevent” a jibe, pushing against the bow pulpit, bend it a little.
I guess that’s better than a constantly slamming boom. Not completely sure about that but it did help us move along faster. The other three boats we were traveling with had to run their engines much of time to keep their speed up so I guess that the trade off was worth it, to be able to sail the entire way.
The distance from Antigua to Nevis was about 40 miles and it was impressive to see the high peaks of Nevis, shrouded in clouds appear out of the haze. Our plan was to round the south end of Nevis and pick up a mooring near the main city. They have placed quite a few moorings off of the beach to encourage boats to stop and visit as anchoring isn’t recommended with the wind and swell.
These moorings are needed because it’s pretty deep and there are waves breaking on the beach just a short way off. After about an hour watching the waves crash high up on the nearby beach, and wondering how we’d ever get ashore, we decided that it was just too rolly and dropped the mooring to try our luck in St. Kitts, where the coastline promised to be a bit more settled.
The first place we tried, White House Bay, turned out to be particularly windy, with wind funneling between two nearby peaks, and there was an annoying swell coming around the point. In addition, the bottom was a mess of medium size rocks so anchoring didn’t go well. I was concerned about dragging and we decided to up-anchor and move to yet another spot. Fortunately, it turned out to be a bit calmer and had as sandy bottom. Problem solved, mostly as there still was a bit of a swell, although small one, there as well.
The four couples decided to get a taxi to head the 30 minutes into the city to clear with Customs and Immigration. We walked around town and went out to lunch. The clock tower is the centerpiece of the old section of the city. As it was Sunday, most of the businesses were closed which made the streets look fairly abandoned. However, the businesses catering to the cruise ships were open with T shirt shops and duty free jewelry shops dominated the area. Any interest in a day-glow monkey? I say that as there are green monkeys that run wild on the island so every shop has stuffed monkey toys for sale. To be clear, not real stuffed monkeys.
A technicolor riot of brightly colored “St Kitts” items, all promising a “free gift” if you stop by. It wasn’t all tacky as there were some lovely old colonial buildings in the historic area. As we headed back to where we had anchored, we stopped to take in the view. Pandora is anchored behind that little mountain on the point. Notice that there are a few massive yachts in the marina to the left of the point. I was told that the largest, over 300′ long, is owned by a guy that has three other yachts. Not sure if it’s the largest or the smallest but this one alone has a crew of 40. It’s hard to believe that any one individual can accumulate enough wealth to afford one yacht of this scale, let alone four.
Not us, that’s for sure. However, we can afford a glass of wine or a beer at the marina’s bar. This is the view from our spot in the bar, back toward the overlook where the above shot was taken. And made even more scenic with our drinks in the picture. We were comfortably seated in the “chaise lounge” benches, sort of, out of the wind. The bar was packed by the time sunset arrived. It was quite dramatic. No green flash though. All and all, a nice spot but tempered by the fact that it’s been quite windy and a bit rolly. Unfortunately, many islands down here don’t have good protection from the swells but unlike the Bahamas, where the winds clock regularly as cold fronts push south from the US, here the winds are very consistently out of the east. The only question is how hard they will blow.
It’s nice to finally head out to explore more of the islands. In a few days we will head down to Guadaloupe. For today, off for a walk on the island.