14/03/13 – Journeying to Plantation and Pirate Country…

We were lucky to arrive at Nevis in very calm weather and moor off the capital, Charlestown…. there are no marina’s or shelter here but it’s a very beautiful place. We spent an interesting day exploring the town, having lunch at a old plantation house in the hills, then a few hours walking up into the rain forest.

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Sunsets off St Kitts and Nevis were amazing….the anchorage is a bit exposed, wouldn’t want to be here in rough weather!

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Nature is slowly taking over the old plantation buildings…..walking high up in the rain forest.

Sailing across to St Kitts didn’t take very long. The southern end of the island was very reminiscent of Croatia, low hills and quite barren but lovely deserted bays to anchor in. Unlike other Caribbean islands, the sugar industry continued here long after slavery, so the plantations are amazingly well preserved and are fascinating to visit. The turbulent history of co-existence and wars with the French also means that there is an incredible fort on Brimstone Hill, a huge and forbidding structure.

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The short sail from Nevis to St Kitts….definitely eyeball navigation…….anchored in a bay in the south.

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A very complete example of a sugar plantation estate……..the boiling kettles used for refining the sugar….

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Brimstone Fort is so big, it’s difficult to do it justice by photograph…..one of the many cannons commanding the approaches

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Looking south towards Nevis from the ‘Shipwreck’ bar………St Kitts is quite unspoilt and ‘authentic’ in places….

On a windless day we motored the 45 miles to the smartest of the French Islands, St Barts. We had arranged to meet Pat & Stuart on Brizo there and had a very happy evening. Stuart also helped me test the water being produced by our watermaker and we finally had to admit that we have a problem….with 10 times the amount of salt still being left in the water than there should be! The next day we sailed on to the French side of St Martin, where we spent 2 days provisioning and preparing the boat. You can get pretty much anything here, with its huge chandleries and shopping malls…all those things that you struggle to find elsewhere.

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Gustavia, the glamorous main harbour in St Barts………it was great to catch up with Pat & Stuart on ‘Brizo’.

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Taking the dinghy through the cut into Simpson Bay lagoon…….where there are dozens of superyachts parked!

Again we ¬†were lucky with the weather for our night crossing to the British Virgin Islands, calm seas before the forecast 5 metre swells were due to come down from the north (we later heard stories of others having a very uncomfortable time on the same route leaving a day later). I had not been to the BVI for about 15 years and was a little nervous as to what we would find. However, Virgin Gorda, our first stop provided a charming introduction and Amanda fell in love with it…..phew!

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Relaxing at the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda….the charming Saba Rock close by (Necker Island in the background)

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Moored off the picturesque Marina Cay (phone box?!)…….Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke, another great spot

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We arranged to meet up with Tim & Lucy from Chilli Chilli……at the famous Foxy’s Bar…

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Main Street Jost Van Dyke….yup, the road really is sand……..a reminder that this is pirate country….RRrrrrrrr.

There are still so many places to visit and time seems to be passing very quickly. The next challenge is to find somewhere that is showing the match on Saturday……..come on England!!

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