Sunday, April 26, 2009

St. Kitts & Nevis in May 2006

May 14, 2006 Sunday night Ballast Bay, St. Kitts (St. Christopher)
17.14.391N 62.39.549W
As we sailed past Statia enroute from St. Barths today, I mentioned to Bill that there had been a total absence of any visible marine life this entire trip. At that exact moment, 6 dolphins visited our boat; but they didn’t hang around to play like dolphin sometimes do. We also saw literally hundreds of flying fish. We took a photo of the dormant volcano on Statia that we climbed 20 years ago when we visited the island on a Windjammer cruise. We were both in better physical condition back then. No way in hell that either of us would consider climbing that mountain today.

We arrived at Ballast Bay, St. Kitts, and anchored for the night. Bill wanted to buy more fuel before we got into an area where it might not be so readily available. But the fuel dock was closed Sunday so we decided to stay the night and try to get fuel in the morning.

We did accomplish one thing that made us both happy. We put the dinghy up onto the stern of the boat, where it can ride under the mizzen boom instead of having it swinging on the davits. The dinghy is normally carried on davits off the stern of the boat. In coastal sailing, we can also just tow the dinghy. But on open water it is customary to put the dinghy upside down on the bow; because it could be swamped by a following wave if mounted on the davits. I absolutely hate having the dinghy on the bow because it obstructs the view too much. Bill thought that the dinghy would not fit on the stern under the mizzen boom, but just to please me and prove that it wouldn’t work; he tried it anyway. And to his surprise, it works just fine. So we have found a new home for the dinghy when underway on long distance passages.

May 15, 2006 Monday Pinney’s Beach, Nevis
17.08.991N 62.37.920W
We left Ballast Bay at 7:00 a.m., hoping to be the first boat at the fuel dock at Fort Zante Marina in Basseterre when they opened at 8:00. We weren’t. There were 2 small fishing boats there ahead of us. It was a tight space, but with the assistance of extra-powerful bow thruser we managed to “parallel park” the boat on the fuel dock ahead of the other boats. Then we were able to just walk the boat back using the dock lines when it was our turn for fuel.

I cleared customs while Bill handled fueling the boat. Bill found an ATM machine so that we could get EC (Eastern Caribbean currency) to pay for the fuel. I also made a quick trip to the nearby grocery store for bread and yogurt. Would have bought more snack-type items but only had $20EC and that doesn’t go very far. Yogurt is a must-have on the boat because when I feel seasick it is the only thing I can get down and keep down. While at the fuel dock Bill met Scott and Heather on S/V Scott Free. We later ran into them in Bonaire and again in Cartagena in 2007. S/V Scott Free was the first cruising boat that we met and with whom we became friends.

We actually sailed for fun for the first time this trip. Decided there wasn’t sufficient time to get to Montserrat that day because refueling took too long, so we decided to stop in Nevis for the night. We anchored directly in front of Pinney’s Beach, where Bill and I spent a very relaxing day sitting under the palm trees about 20 years ago.

We hoped to sail to Montserrat in the morning. We had not been able to obtain a volcano activity report, so we are just went and hoped that we would be able to stop there. We knew that we needed to sail down the eastern side of Montserrat because of all the volcanic ash that blows to the western side. Bill had spoken with another cruiser this morning at the fuel dock who said he did not abide by the advice of passing Montserrat on the eastern side and it took days to clean all the ash off his boat. We still had enough boat yard dust from the haul-out; we certainly did not want to add volcanic ash.

During our next trip south through the Eastern Caribbean islands in 2007 we skipped St. Kitts and Nevis and went to Antigua instead.

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