Wednesday, June 16, 2010

St. Barth's

We spent 10 days in St. Martin doing the usual.  We shopped chandleries and hardware stores for parts, had a sail repaired, stocked up on French wine and cheese, visited a few of our favorite restaurants and the beach.  The time flew by.  Then it was off to Columbier Bay, St. Barth's. 
Columbier Bay is part of the marine park, a beautiful bay with free moorings, good snorkeling and lots of sea life.  Turtles were everywhere!

Carol and Pat on S/V Songbird are traveling with us and the 4 of us hiked up to take in the view over the bay.  It's a beautiful, rocky, windswept coast.

The pristine beach in Columbier Bay.  You can only get here by boat or by hiking the trail over the ridge.

The bay is alive with sea life.  These are ramoras feeding off of our boat.  Sea turtles are abundant.  We even saw a couple of nurse sharks, one while snorkeling and one just cruising through the bay.  No worries, they're not man-eaters!

Next it was off to the capital of Gustavia, a picturesque town set in the hills overlooking the harbor.  Moorings here are Med-style, bow and stern tie.  It was  bit tricky trying to pick one up, something we had never done before.  After hooking up the bowline we backed up to catch the stern.  But the wind was slightly abeam and kept wanting to push us into the next boat.  A few anxious moments ensued before we were securely tied between the two moorings.  It was only then that we discovered a small string strung between the two moorings that we could have held on to while we tied on.  Something new learned!  We'll know how to do it next time.  By the way, that's Songbird looking good on her moorings.

St. Barth's has long been an island of the rich and famous.  There are wonderful restaurants and chic shops with designer names.  But cruisers on a budget will find they too can visit.  Clearing in, like in all the French islands is easy and free.  Moorings in Gustavia for our size boat were only 6.40 euros, about $8.00 U.S. and were free in Columbier Bay. 

We celebrated my birthday a day early with lunch at a French restaurant called Le Repaire.  I had a goat cheese salad and mushroom risotto with truffle oil. FABULOUS!  Jim was treated to duck breast and some of the best mashed potatoes I've ever tasted.  Pretty good birthday!

Carol, Pat, Wendy & Jim.

Time to get the charts out and think about heading south.  Bailey and her hot-dog toy like to get right in there and help.  Or maybe if she covers up the charts she thinks we can't move the boat!

Time to drop the lines and head to St. Kitt's.  We had a beautiful beam-reach sail on Sunday with 12-16 knots of wind and low seas reaching the northeast coast of St. Kitt's in record time.  Then it took us almost as long to tack our way along the south coast to Basseterre.  The wind always seems to be coming from the wrong direction when we are heading south along this coast.  Now we're here and spending time with friends Mike and Renee before moving south for hurricane season.

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