14/03/2017 – More from St Barth.

The original plan was to stay about a week to ten days but we have now changed our minds! We spent a week in the anchorage off Gustavia, zooming in to the harbour on a regular basis. There are a lot of dinghy mooring places provided, right in the centre of the town. One day we set off to walk to the Market U, a good sized supermarket on the other side of the island. It's only about 1.5 miles but it does entail a steep uphill section followed by a downhill section, sea level to sea level via the central ridge! Part of the route runs alongside the runway which is short and anything which overshoots would slide straight into the sea. Not only is it a short runway, the approach has to be much steeper than the standard 4 degree glide path because of the central ridge. Beyond the supermarket we reached St Jean which has a beautiful sweeping beach but it is on the windward side of the island. St Barth is expensive, two bottles of beer cost €12 at a beach bar. The supermarket appeared to be waiting for supplies as there were many empty shelves, particularly cooked meats and cheese. On another day we followed a walking route to see the historic buildings in Gustavia. We drew a blank with a couple, discovered one semi pulled down awaiting rebuilding, another which was completely rebuilt about 10 years ago. It was a good walk, though. On the rigging front we had some success. The local chandlery had a piece which was the right size but the holes for the toggle and the pin were too small. The good news was that it only cost €36, however the engineering company charged €120 to drill out three holes and weld the old one back together. The company in St Maarten e-mailed back to say they had the correct piece for €113 so we'll head back there to buy it and keep the machined one and welded ones as spares. So why have we changed our plans? This coming weekend is the St Barth's Bucket, a regatta by invitation only for yachts over 30 metres long/100 foot. There will be 6 J class yachts racing each other in a series of 5 races, there will also be a series of 3 pursuit races for a field of up to 40 other big beasties. The biggest is the Maltese Falcon which is 88 metres long, has three rotating masts and 15 sails. The anchorage is filling up with big, expensive yachts and we hope to see some of the action. We spent a long weekend in Anse Colombier which is part of a marine park. The snorkelling was O.K. though we didn't see any turtles. There were quite a few among the boats, they usually caught your eye as you watched yet another chartered catamaran making a mess of picking up a mooring buoy. It was as if the turtles surfaced to laugh as well! We went ashore to explore. The first time we followed a path which led out of the park, almost vertically. It was a cross between a scramble and some rough steps. Once we reached a roadway we found a viewpoint, scant reward for a strenuous 40 minute cardiac workout! As we returned to our starting point we met people coming around the cliff on another path. The second walk a couple of days later was longer but far less strenuous and had a destination, following the coastline around the peninsular. We reached Flamands Bay, with a lovely sweeping beach but no beach bars. At the far end of the beach there was a very smart hotel, we walked through their bar area, past Reception and on to the only road through the village. A cafe called Chez Rolande was open so we had a refreshing beer at a much more reasonable €4 each, O.K. still expensive but better than St Jean. We only got there just in time before it closed for the afternoon and the 1 person bar staff left all of the customers, us, and shut up shop. Today we came back to the Gustavia anchorage, passing Maltese Falcon on our way in. It certainly is a stunning boat. Hope to see some of the racing before we leave. We'll probably move on after the weekend or, maybe, Saturday or Sunday. It's partly a question of when we can clear out. Joyce

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *