Saint Barthélemy (French Caribbean) 1 -4 April 2017
Saint Barthelemy (St Barts) is apparently where all the cool kids hang out and by cool kids we mean the rich and famous and those who aspire to be rich and famous. Its not shy of a super yacht or 2 and that’s probably why it is bloody expensive. The main port and capital Gustavia has well built streets lined with designer shops such as Louis Vuitton, Dolce and Gabbana, Hermes, Dior. Needing wifi we figured we’d go ashore and grab an inexpensive drink in a budget café and let family know we’d arrived safety from our sail, well if you call a €5 can of coke and €5 coffee served in a thimble cheap ….. well then it was a bargain. Needless to say we didn’t stay on this island very long.
Being a Sunday it also seemed very quiet and I’m guessing that most of the Island’s Clientele were nursing huge hangovers after a Saturday night out that would have me re-mortgaging my house. In the morning Simon and I had grabbed a mooring ball which we’re not really meant to do as they are all privately owned, but sod it lets live life of the edge. We just figured we’d move as soon as some angry French sailor pitched up and started kicking off (St Barts belongs to the French). Luckily no one turned up and we managed to stay on it all day and night but every time a boat starting approaching from sundown onwards we kept darting out petrified that we’d have to untie ourselves and find somewhere to anchor in this dark, busy, deep & rolly anchorage.
With not much to do here on a tight budget the following day we headed up to a very small, rocky and deserted island called Ile Fourche. Banned from anchoring here we took up one of the free mooring buoys and even managed a 10min snorkel with the local turtles while Bean Bag had an afternoon nap. It was like old days before we had to responsible for a baby.
Deciding it would be nice to go for an early evening walk with the dog as a family we all hooped into the dinghy. Unfortunately it didn’t start well as we had huge argument over the fudge icing being left out of the fridge whilst on route to the beach, so all the other boats in the anchorage got to witness a full blown episode of Eastenders cruisers style I guess you could call it ‘EastCaribbeanEnders’ or “Cruisers Street’. Reaching a climax by having to land on a rocky beach over some breaking waves. Breaking waves and dinghys don’t mix but we survived and even managed to make up during the walk. Scrumpy loved it chasing lizards the whole hike, we nearly lost him in the long grass repeatedly so continuing the soap opera theme the anchorage also got to hear us screaming his name the entire time. Spoiling the ambiance for all the posh Hurrah Henry’s on expensive charter holidays but hey we’re not called Boat Hobos for nothing.
After a decent nights sleep and giving Scrump Dog Millionaire his morning run ashore it was off to St Maarten a 20 mile sail. The first few miles of unprotected ocean weren’t very comfortable due to the Atlantic swell, making poor Daisy Bean sick again but once in the lee of St Maarten (the Dutch side) conditions improved making some pleasant sailing. However we wanted to check in on the French side (St Martin) as it would be free so had to venture into open waters again. The passage only took 3 and half hours and I was so glad to finally get here after weeks and weeks of anticipation now we could get onto getting a new dinghy to replace the god awful deflating excuse of a tender we were currently dragging around. St Martin/St Maarten is tax free and therefore a lot cheaper than the rest of the East Caribbean. Here’s to cheap baguettes and lots of yummy patisseries! Nom nom nom