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.