|St Kitts and Nevis|
Date(s): April 2006. Album by Gerard Coulson. Photos by Gerard Coulson. 1 - 53 of 53 Total. 3454 Visits.
|We enjoyed Nevis; it is a quiet, civilised island that looks after its visitors well. We had a slowish sail over from the west coast of Antigua; Clarabella has been in the water for a year now and although I dive to remove barnacles, weed and other things that seem to like International’s antifouling paint I’m losing the battle. With a good breeze we can still notch up 6 knots – I suppose the barnacles pull themselves in or something – but in lighter winds we slow right down. Anyway, we reached Charlestown, dropped the hook and went ashore the following morning to clear customs. Normally this is a fairly painless affair but here I had to fill in a form with boat details, crew list (passport number, full names, dates of birth etc for all 5 of us) at customs, do the same at Immigration (at the local police station, where they write up the names of banned drivers on a black board under a heading that says ‘Jesus saves’) and then similar at the port authority. I often give spoof addresses on these forms in the certain knowledge that they are never read!|
The Golden Rock plantation was a genteel place where we walked in the morning, swam in the pool, saw lots of the local monkeys, had a good lunch, swam again and made our way back to the boat. On St Kitts a bus driver – don’t forget that the buses here are all minivans packed to the gunwhales with people, reggae music at full volume driven at high speed – took us all the way up the hill (with a little financial persuasion for the driver to deviate from his route) to Brimstone fort, a lovely place to spend a few hours in the presence of a little history.
From St Kitt’s – where we languished for a week whilst waiting for a battery charger to arrive to replace the failed one – we sailed back to Nevis, disposing of Rebecca’s now-defunct pushchair en-route, much to the delight of the kids! Back at Nevis we stayed at the very beautiful and peaceful Pinney’s beach, home only to pelican’s that dive for fish from a great height, not worrying at all about how close we might be swimming to their fishy meal.
St Kitt’s was our turning point; the hurricane season gets going in the summer and our insurance company insists that we are below 12 degrees North (St Kitts is at 17.3 deg N) by the beginning of June, and we still have a lot to see and do!
We left Nevis at dawn, aiming for Guadeloupe, 70 miles of up-wind slog away, but passing the tiny rock of Redonda, which is in fact a kingdom, and then sailing down the lee of Montserrat. You’ll recall that this island hit the headline in the 90’s when its volcano erupted, forcing the evacuation of the island. As we passed the volcano was pumping out dust almost to the edge of the mandatory exclusion zone and we could clearly see the ruined town of Plymouth, with many houses up to the eaves in ash. As I write – in late May – the volcano has again erupted a few days ago, sending lava flows 2 miles out to sea; exactly where we were a few weeks ago!