We decided to head to another beach, Anse De Colombier. It was only a short sail of 2.5 miles from Gustavia.
We slowly sailed out of Gustavia under Genoa and before we could get settled we turned East into a spectacular un-spoilt bay with crystal clear water, white sand and beautiful woodland surrounding us. It could not get better than this and approximately 10 minutes after anchoring we were swimming to the beach.
Anse De Colombier is very secluded. Yes, there are a fair share of anchored boats but no catamaran tours, jet skis and water skiers making it fairly quiet most of the time.
There are free moorings within the bay but if they are all taken you can anchor in the middle and move on to one when they become available. Again, we saw turtles and plenty of Star Fish.
The next day we decided to a bit of a hike. We would walk from Anse De Colombier to Anse De Flamandes, which is situated on the northern side of the island. The walk was great with stunning scenery and parts of it sheltered be trees so you could cool down during the walk. After about 30 minutes we reached a more developed area with posh houses and hotels. We found Anse De Flamandes a great location . At one end of the beach is a luxury hotel, which we decided to visit for an iced coffee before swimming in the enormous rolling waves that was were brought in by the northerly swell. It was a great day out and good to be finally off the boat for a day.
Please click on the below video kindly produced by Tim:
We arrived at St Bart’s on the 21st at 16:30 after a great sail. We had departed Baseterre at 07:20 but with light winds due to being in lee of the island we did not make much progress for the first couple of hours. Once we had cleared St Kitts with St Eustatius showing itself to our starboard side the wind picked up to a nice 20-25 knots. We needed to put two reefs in the main and flew only very little genoa. Troskala was happy and we were steaming through the waves at 6-7 knots.
The approach to St Barts (Gustavia) is easy enough, there is a large channel and as long as you avoid the numerous rocks situated outside the harbour and the large amount of Super Yachts you will have no problem. We found a great anchorage on the port side of the channel just before the commercial dock. We settled in for an early night as we were all tired and planned to investigate the town of Gustavia in the morning.
A Day in Gustavia – 22nd February 2012
We awoke early the next day. Our primary job firstly was to clear customs, another load of paperwork and expense. We took the dinghy into town, which was quite away from where we had anchored but the scenery makes it very pleasant. Seeing as we had lost our oars we had come up with the idea of using badminton rackets with plastic bags over them just incase the engine packed up, which it did not.
I love St Bart’s, I love the town, the food, the French, the architecture and the feel of the place. Gustavia is basically a mini France with a better climate. In 1784 the French gave St Barts to the Swedes and then the French reclaimed the island around 100 years later.. The result of this shows up in the architecture and feel of the place. Gustavia is clean, chic, friendly and very French. It was quite a change from Nevis and St Kitts but a pleasant one at that. We walked over to customs and immigrations to check in and check out as our stay here is only a short one.
We headed back to Troskala for a swim before coming back into town to go on a walk and investigate this beautiful place further. Whilst swimming in the clear waters of Gustavia I came across my first close encounter with the following beasts; a turtle, stingray and star fish; an unbelievable experience. On our way back to the dinghy I spotted a couple of oars left on the side of the road. Not one to leave litter over the streets I confiscated them to our dinghy. The loss of oars is no longer a problem and we are now sporting two rather battered and bent oars, but they do the job nicely and saved us some money.
We went back into town and walked up to the lighthouse to absorb the wonderful views, then back down for an iced coffee. We then walked over to Shell Beach which is on the other side of the town, it was a spectacular spot. While we were there a wedding was taking place, the scene could not be more perfect, and yes, Carlotta and I came up with a great idea for the future; but enough said for the time being. We will anchor off Shell Beach on our way back up in a few weeks it is a must see for all visiting this island.
Reggae Beach (St Kitts) to Baseterre – 18th February
We left Reggae Beach after 3 nights at anchor. We were heading to Baseterre and the marina at Port Zante. Basseterre would be the largest city we have experienced since leaving Las Palmas and if the lights at night were anything to judge by it looked a fantastic stop over.
We reached Port Zante a little after midday. We were warned from the pilot book that it would be rolly if anchored outside the harbour. A quick inspection of the other yachts anchored off the harbour clarified that a night in the marina would be the best idea so we entered only to be informed that they were fully booked. Carlotta managed to smile at the boss and reiterate that we were only 10 meters in length and after this we were granted a mooring inside. We were faced with another challenging entrance to our pontoon. They expect you to have two lines on the stern that need to be tied off to two posts with the bow secured to a wall ahead. As Troskala does not like cross winds let alone going astern it was another circus show much to the interest of other boats, but we managed it in the end without any damage.
The photos of Port Zante in the pilot book make it look like a great destination to have a coffee and people watch. Once you get out of the marina you are faced with a concrete car park. Either they have stopped building here due to money issues or they are still trying to complete the place. It was neglected on the outskirts and tired looking. For the none British readers I will explain a similarity with another place in England. Near Oxford is a place called Bicester Village, which is an outlet village for foreign and domestic tourists a like. Port Zate is basically the same, cheap, dull, fake and full of tourists rushing around to spend their 30 minutes consuming before being ushered into another cruise ship. The place lacked any soul, service and any convenience to a cruiser. I still find it hard to believe how people can get on a cruise ship with 6,000 other people come to a place and see no culture except westernized shops and a fake town.
Ranting over. If you are brave enough or heathly enough (not like the majority of cruise ship passengers) to walk another 5 minutes out of the Port Zante and into Basseterre you will find a great capital. It is as the book says a delightful capital with both British and French architecture. The local people are friendly. There is a main square called Independence Square, it could have been any park in London being manicured to perfection, cool under the trees and quite. There is also a circus that was based on Piccadilly circus in London and although it does not match the same scene as the one in London it is central and grand by Caribbean standards.
We spent three days in Baseterre, maybe one day too many, We managed to get all boat jobs completed and one evening we walked the seafront to Fisherman’s Wharf, which took about 20 minutes. The restaurant is located right on the sea front with water lapping at the edge. The food was great as was the atmosphere and price. I would certainly recommend anyone to dine there if you have the chance. You can also dinghy over and tie up at the marina if you don’t want to walk but the place felt safe to walk at night.
If you took Port Zante out of the equation and you don’t mind colf showers in the marina Baseterre would be a great town to spend even longer. A bonus is that the marina is cheap and we were only charged $16 a night with water and electricity on top, but still the cheapest marina we have been to so far.
Oualie Bay (Nevis) to Reggae Beach (St Kitts) – 16th February 2012
After we had fixed Oscar (Outboard) we were ready to hop over to St Kitts, which is only a 3 miles sail. We were heading to Reggae beach, which sounded like the place to be, plus they had a bar, ice and a shower. We completed our small voyage under motor and within an hour after navigating the narrows we found ourselves in a very secluded and beautiful little anchorage. The wind was still blowing but we were able to position ourselves nicely behind a mountain and only a few yards from the beach, which was already filling up with tourists.
Reggae Beach is a great spot. The popularity of Reggae Beach comes mainly from cruise ship tourists that excrete their tourists from the city of Baseterre, only a few miles north. Even though it is mentioned in the guide book as a busy place we found it quiet. There is a lovely bar and beach. We were the only yacht at anchor for the two nights we spent there, which is a first and a unique experience. We spent two days at Reggae, swimming and relaxing, I think that Nita and my Dad are finally seeing what we see in this life style, no rushing, no stress and sun every day.
What is different about St Kitts is the landscape. Yes, it has a mountain but it is a lot more arid than previous islands we have visited. You could say that St Kitts looks more like the Canaries than the Caribbean due to its lake of rain. There are plenty of beaches around the South coast but most are stony instead of sandy.