compass rose

 Accidental Cruiser in the West Indies

St. Kitts land tour: still weird
This journal is a log of all the messages from Susie & Lance. For pictures, please see the Gallery.

Ballast Bay, Saint Kitts 2.22.08

Susie and vegetable seller in St. Kitts
Susie finds green beans

We are on a fast island hopping tour. We sailed from St. Martin to Statia, spent two nights, and sailed down to St. Kitts. It should have been an easy sail, only about 20 miles, but the winds were gusty, the seas were bouncy and squalls just kept passing through. When we reached the anchorage at St. Kitts, it was pretty bouncy and we just wanted to anchor, check in, and move on to a more peaceful spot. We dinghied in to the marina in Gallows bay. It is a large, square concrete box with high walls and a narrow entrance looking for all the world like a prison yard. We looked for a dinghy dock but found nothing but boats in sullen knots along the walls, lifting weights and muttering threats. We chose a discrete spot for the dinghy and climbed up out of the marina. As we exited the security fence, the bored security guard informed us that we owed $5 US for landing the dinghy. We paid. As we walked over to Customs ( which is tucked into the corner of the mammoth but deserted cruise ship dock) a taxi driver ran up to us. He gave us his card, and offered an island tour. We told him we would talk to the people on the boat, and he offered up a good price. We said we wanted to start the tour from a more congenial anchorage, and he said it could be done but he'd charge extra to pick us up from there.
Atlantic and Caribbean coasts of St. Kitts
Atlantic and Caribbean coasts of St. Kitts
Nevis in background

The Customs officer gave us two sets of forms to fill out, so we each set to work. They use the same forms for any size ship apparently, so this one asked us what time the pilot boarded, whether we were bringing in mail and other similar questions. While we worked, the officer filled out yet another form, and started filling out receipts for the money she was going to collect from us. An immigration officer came in and inspected all the passports. When we were done, they sent us across the echoing hall to the Port Authority, where we handed over one of the forms and they charged us some more money. St. Kitts, and Nevis, the next island down, are technically one country, so we could check in here, visit anchorages on both islands, and then check out in Nevis. But we were required to name all the anchorages we intended to visit so they would be listed on our cruising permit. I had memorized all the names, and impressed Lance by spitting them all out.

Crew of Eaux Vives
Sarah, Quincy, Rosie and Susie: crew of Eaux Vives

After check in, we moved down to Ballast Bay, where there was only one boat and it was delightfully peaceful. This was an important night, because around 10 pm, there would be a full lunar eclipse. We called Junie taxi and negotiated a price for him to meet us at White House Bay, right next door. We had a movie night, so we would stay awake late enough to see it, and then we let down the bimini to enjoy the overhead view. We all managed to stay up until the moon was completely shadowed, feeling the earth turn as its shadow moved across the moon. At full eclipse, the moon looked almost copper colored, like an old penny.

In the morning, we picked up anchor and moved over to White House bay and went ashore to meet Junie Taxi at 9 am. The taxi showed up promptly, with a driver named Delvin, who showed us that he had Junie's cards, and showed us his social security card so we wouldn't think he was kidnapping us or something. Delvin said he would show us everything. Which he did.

First he drove us to a spot on the hill where we could see both the Atlantic and the Caribbean sides. He helpfully explained that the towers on the hill were cell phone towers. Would we like to take a picture? As we continued on, he said Junie told him to tell us that if we had lunch at the plantation, it would cost $45 each, but there was another place that would be only $10, so he was going to drive by it. As he drove by, we said that would be fine, and that we preferred to have local West Indian food. He lit up and said, he would take us to his favorite place, Cathy's Restaurant on the beach.

click for next column>>

Delvin picks Papaya
Delvin of Junie Tours pleases his guests by picking papaya

We drove on by the main town. We saw: a gas station, the garbage dump (smelly), the place where Delvin used to make brick (dusty), the place where they print the money. Would we like to take a picture? I saw some women selling fruits and vegetables by the side of the road. I saw green beans. Delvin somewhat missed his market because they were not even worthy of a mention. "Hey, Delvin", I says. "Will we see any more markets, because I need some green beans?" Delvin stopped the van in the road, waved all the traffic past him (only one lane each way although it is the major road) until there was a break in traffic and he could back up to the market. I jumped out and got green beans and plantains and a few other things amidst a major traffic jam. Delvin was pretty pleased that we wanted local food. As we drove on, he stopped next to the Ross University medical school. Do you want to take a picture? We had all stopped politely taking pictures, so he drove on the Ross University veterinary school to give us another chance. He pointed out hotels, schools, hospitals and more cell phone towers. He wanted to make sure we didn't miss anything.

Artist at Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor
Artist at Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor

We went up to visit an old plantation with a sugar mill and lovely gardens that also has a batik shop. We spent quite a while selecting items, because they were particularly nice.

He asked if we wanted to go to the fort on Brimstone Hill. It costs $8, but he told us it would be worth it. We agreed because we'd sailed by that fort on the way down and it looked really neat. It was a great fort, although probably not that successful, as after the British built it, the French came and defeated them, so it didn't really work. We had some snacks there because it was clear that lunch would be a long time away.

Fort at Brimstone Hill, St. Kitts
Susie on the fort at Brimstone Hill, St. Kitts

After the fort, he drove us around the top of the island where we stopped at a black sand beach and a place called Black Rocks and in the village where he lives. We actually did want to take pictures there as it was quite spectacular. Then we came back to the middle of the island and returned to the restaurants on the beach. The beach was crowded because a cruise ship was in, and lots of people had come to the beach. There were people offering massages, and bringing their pet monkeys by so you could take a picture with the monkey for a small fee. We had a fine lunch, somewhat sullied by Delvin's enthusiastic waving at flies the whole time. However, he was equally enthusiastic about eating all the leftovers, so his presence was not at all superfluous.

Monkeys in St. Kitts
Monkeys in St. Kitts

He drove us back to the boat and, as we left the paved road to go down to the beach, a troupe of monkeys passed along both sides of the path. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. It was a very lovely day but very St. Kitts: slightly cracked but charming. We still find ourselves pointing out random things to each other. Look! there's a cell phone tower. That's a house, and that's a car, and that's a grocery store...

Do you want to take a picture?

Back to top of entry Next jounal entry
©2002-6 Accidental Cruiser Home Islands Photo Journal • Cruising LogSailing Info Viewer's Comments Comment