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Approaching Nevis - Tell Tale Clouds

Currently anchored in Ballast Bay, St Kitts, we had a slow and frustrating sail from Jolly Harbour to Nevis on Thursday and resorted to motoring the last few hours as the wind was right behind us and too light to keep the genoa full.

It is 3 years since we last visited Nevis and we were glad to see the moorings have been maintained and had long pick up ropes with an easy to thread eye attached.  It was very rolly though, with a southerly wind and northerly swell but we managed to put up with a couple of nights so we could clear in and do a tour of the island.

Old Buildings In Charlestown, Nevis

Customs, Immigration and the Port Authority are all in one building now, near the dinghy dock but only Customs turned up at 0800, the others dawdled in a good half an hour later to a big queue of restless cruisers.  As we were keen to get going, I was first in line but it still took 45 minutes and over 30 pounds to clear.  Immigration stamped us in and out, so when we leave I only need to visit Customs.

Cruisers Who Lunch - Golden Rocks

Samuel took us around Nevis, the same guy who we went with in 2012, just a co-incidence though.  We visited the hot baths, the Nelson Museum, Montpelier Estate, had a delicious lunch in the Golden Rocks, went to a couple of churches, one being the oldest Anglican Church in the Caribbean and went to Nisbet, where Nelson’s wife, Frances Nisbet lived when he met her.

View From The Verandah To The Sea At The Nisbet Estate

We had seen many of these sights previously but Steve enjoyed the tour, so it was worth the 100 US$ we gave Sam.  Nevis isn’t very big, so a few hours is all you really need.

Charlestown is a lovely town, full of well preserved old buildings, a new waterfront walk and a great bakery up the hill.  The old plantation houses have been restored and most are now luxury hotels sited in stunning gardens.

Later in the afternoon we saw our neighbours beach their dinghy and planned to follow them to Sunshine’s Bar ourselves.  Before we got there we saw their dinghy in the surf, apparently adrift and quickly went ashore, pulling ours well up the beach.  We ran over to theirs which was completely full of water with their fuel tank floating nearby just held by the fuel pipe.  It was a close thing but we managed to get it back on the beach, helped by a local barman and one of the owners.  They bought us a beer but the outboard didn’t start later on, so we towed them back to their boat and were glad to hear it running after some TLC.

More Lovely Nevisian Architecture

So after that bit of excitement we headed north to St Kitts, some 5 miles away and anchored in Ballast Bay, in the south of the island.  A huge new super yacht marina, Cristophe Harbour, is under construction there with the salt pond behind the beach being dredged and a cut made through the shoreline to it.  Big concrete docks have been built and 2 big yachts were moored there today.  A coffee shop is open but there is a lot more development to come, with houses, shops etc. and hopefully a Customs office.  It will become the yachting centre of St Kitts in due course.

New Marina Entrance With Breakwater Under Construction

We had read it could be choppy in the Basseterre anchorage in any southerly wind and they weren’t wrong but we needed to clear out there.  We managed to anchor but getting in and out of the dinghy was pretty hazardous although neither Steve nor I went swimming.

Port Zante Marina, Basseterre, St Kitts

The small marina, Port Zante, is very calm inside but there weren’t many spaces available for yachts of our size so we just left the dinghy there and had a quick look around the town before clearing out.  Customs is now in the office next to the Marina office, which is convenient.  Even on a Sunday, I wasn’t charged any overtime fee, so it was free to clear out and gave us 24 hours to leave St Kitts.

The National Museum

The town has lots of pretty buildings, a ‘Circus’ modelled on the one in London and a National Museum but everything was shut on a Sunday, so it would be best to visit on a weekday.  We read about a scenic railway trip combined with bus journeys that takes you right around the island and would try to do that if we come back here.

Historic Basseterre

As soon as we got back on the boat we motored back to Ballast Bay and tried to sleep before our night passage, as we will be leaving at 2300 for Ile Fourchue, St Martin or Anguilla, depending on the wind direction.  Steve’s holiday has seen strange conditions, with the usually calm western coasts being hit with southerly winds and northerly swell.  None of us has slept very well, so we are looking forward to getting to a more protected bay for some rest.  It also means we often have the wind directly behind us and ‘Beyzano’ doesn’t sail well like that.  At least it hasn’t rained though!

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