Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gustavia, St. Barths A cruise ship, a small catamaran, a big sailing yacht and a motor yacht, all just outside of Gustavia in St. Barths with St. Martin in the distance.

[17°54'9.05"N 62°51'33.77"W (facing NW)]
Gustavia, St. Barths
St. Barths sunset The sun setting as seen from Gustavia. One can see a bit of a swell, but in reality it was quite a bit more than that and made sleeping rather uncomfortable.

[17°53'57.62"N 62°51'27.24"W (facing SW)]
St. Barths sunset
I got up early and left for St. Barths at 7:30 in the morning, deciding to cut between the two islands of St. Kitts and Nevis this time instead of sailing in the lee of St. Kitts and adding at least an hour to the total sail time. The wind was quite strong, as was the wave action and I'm glad that I had the chart plotter turned on and that it was accurate, there are parts of that passage where the water is only 10 feet deep. Since my draft is a bit over 7 that shouldn't be a problem - particularly as there isn't much of a tide in the Caribbean; but with waves of 6 feet that means that those shallow areas can be downright dangerous! After navigating between the shoal areas the trip was a straight run with wind from the beam; even with 3 reefs in both sails I averaged over 8 knots, any more sail might have pushed me up to 9 knots and shaved an hour off the trip, but it would have been very uncomfortable with that strong heel angle.
Clearing in was more work than before, since they have adopted the same computer systems as St. Martin and use French keyboards as well as French drop-down menus. Nevertheless, it was just as informal as ever and I checked in for 3 days, paid €13.50 and was out of the building within 5 minutes. I had a small dinner of carpaccio of tomato and mozzarella (that was interesting and very tasty). The anchorage outside of Gustavia is pretty uncomfortable due to rolling around at night, so I am going to head out in a bit and visit the empty one at Colombier for a night; I'll have to see what sort of dinner I am going to whip up all alone out there.
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