A “salty sail” is one that features strong winds and significant seas. The passage from St. Barth’s to Saba definitely qualified as a salty sail. The wind was on our aft quarter, so we rocketed across the sea in record time. Brian and Tracy were ensconced in a safe spot near the stern and kept close eye on our progress. We caught a Mahi on the way, so dinner that night was covered.
Saba, a Dutch protectorate, is a large, round rock with no beaches. It is renowned for its scuba diving, but the seas were so rough we were reluctant to get in the water. We spent the night on a mooring ball on the leeward side of the island, but being small and circular, the wind whipped around both ends and the leeward seemed a lot like the windward. We were moored near a very nice-looking trawler that was “anchored” extremely close to the beach. After watching it for a while, we saw the waves crash into its side and come back out its portholes – the vessel was aground and abandoned, but from a distance looked nearly new. The locals told us the at the mooring balls at the main harbour were sketchy in high winds, so after our one-night-stand on Saba we headed to Statia (short for Sint Eustatius). It’s another Dutch Island with only a few thousand inhabitants and not a whole lot going on. So another one-night-stand and we headed south to St. Kitts.
St. Kitts (short for St. Christopher) is a British island and a frequent stop for cruise ships. After clearing in at Basseterre, we moved to an anchorage at the south end of the island where we met the most adorable young Kittitian couple. See the photo we took of them sitting on the dock. We also visited Salt Plage. It’s a marina and land-based development that has a beautiful bar on the beach. The buildings are new but are made from rusty corrugated tin, so they look old and well worn – very trendy.
St. Kitts to Nevis is a short hop. We anchored at Oualie Bay at the north end of the island and Brian and Tracy headed off for a week-long stay at Montpelier Plantation. It wasn’t goodbye just yet, as the next day we got together again for another four-wheel adventure. This time we went in a six-seat, off-road “Ranger” that was driven by a fun and informative local who had emigrated with his family from Guyana. On the tour he introduced us to “Ting”, a Caribbean grapefruit soft drink and “El Dorado”, a Guyanese rum. When you put the two of them together you get “Ting with a Sting”. It’s apparently just the thing to keep you hydrated when four-wheeling! The tour was excellent, the island’s history was really interesting and the off-road parts were a real highlight – way better than renting a car and driving around by yourself.
After our tour, we said our goodbyes to B&T. It was great having them on board and they are both excellent cooks which was a real treat for us.
Background: St. Kitts & Nevis
In 1493, Christopher Columbus landed on St Kitts and named it after his patron saint, Christopher. The British established their first Caribbean colony on St Kitts in 1623 and shortly thereafter massacred 2,000 indigenous Caribs. Nevis was subsequently added in 1628. Finally, in 1983, after 360 years as a colony, St Kitts and Nevis jointly attained independence within the British Commonwealth. Interestingly, the British Admiral, Lord Nelson, who was the maritime commander of the British Fleet, based in Antigua, married Franny Nisbet, the daughter of a sugar cane plantation owner on Nevis. The island’s most famous son, Alexander Hamilton, who was one of the founding fathers of the United States, was born and raised on his family’s Nevitian plantation.