Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The less said about the night the better. The swell curled around the island and without the shelter of the breakwater it was an uncomfortable one indeed - I am going to have to dig into the depths of my lazarette locker later today and get out my kedge anchor in order to set that and make the next night better (the kedge is set off the stern of the boat and is used to make the boat lie at a certain angle to the wind, in this case I'll set it so that the stern is facing the swell; thus reducing or eliminating the side-to-side rocking of the boat.

Arita had fared just the same so all of us weren't quite at our best the next morning. I'd forgotten to close the main hatch and it had rained at some time in the night so I had a bit of drying up to do before we could depart for the climb. We left just after 07:30 so that we could do the climb in the relative cool of the morning rather than the midday heat, we were cooled and delayed a bit by a passing shower but that was to our advantage, further cooling the air. After a short drive up the hill we found a place to keep our mopeds and started the walk up the well-defined trail. The vegetation changed as we climbed up the hill, the path taking a long and swooping route to make it easier. We were soon under the canopy and the forest was strangely devoid of all noise and the undergrowth was minimal - even the typical insect abundance was missing.

I did tell myself that it was time to hit the stair-master and other torture machines at the gym when I returned as it was more arduous than I'd expected. I did have a lot of water for us in my backpack but 4 litres is a weight that really doesn't make a difference. But, after a couple of a stops to catch our breath and cool down, we made it to the lower rim of the caldera and looked down into it. The view was impressive but won't make a great photo as there was just a lot of green verdant vegetation to be seen. We noted the steep path going down into the crater and opted to skip that part of the planned hike and made our way up to the very top. This was another steep path (also labelled as “difficult, use with guide” in the literature) and about a third of the way up the final ascent Lauren and Rob decided that they had had enough opted to wait for me to climb to the top and share the pictures. I gave them my backpack and, armed with my camera, tripod and pocket knife, I clambered my way to the top and was rewarded with a wonderful vista of the island and of Oranjested. The view into the caldera was even more impressive, but because of all the greenery and lack of reference objects I am certain that the pictures that I did take won't do it justice.

After the descent we rode the scooters around the whole island, from the botanical gardens then the oil facility and NW end of the road and then back through town for lunch and then to the cannon battery at the White cliffs. By the time we'd filled our stomachs and camera memory sticks it was almost 4pm and we went to the docks to return the scooters and get back to our boats for the evening.

Just after 7pm the Dutch Coast Guard came by in the dark and wanted to board the boat in order to inspect my papers. I warned them about my kedge anchor (kindly loaned to me by Rob as mine was buried very deep in the locker) and they told me that they'd seen it so I opened the side gate but something went wrong as they drifted behind me in order to line up their approach and I knew that they'd run over and fell foul of the little mooring ball behind me. They turned off the engines and drifted slowly while the attempted to free themselves to no avail. Rob navigated the dinghy out to them to assist and I realized that they only way to get this done was to go in the water, so I donned flippers and mask and went over to see if there was anything I could do. Rob and I managed to cut away the mooring ball and most of the line (they had 2 neat dual directional props on their huge Zodiac RIB) and I swam back and quickly showered on deck, by which time they came alongside. They checked my passport and papers and just asked if I had current flares and fire extinguishers aboard and didn't bother going below. It took about 10 minutes, but mainly because their “new guy” had to fill out forms from my paperwork.

Precarious footholds These goats looked perfectly at home in the bluffs over the anchorage on Statia. The would spend the nights there, safe from predators, then leave to forage during the day.
[17°28'39.76"N 62°59'10.69"W (facing SE)]
Precarious footholds
Quill path signpost Signpost partway up the path to the Quill dormant volcano on Statia.
[17°28'39.57"N 62°57'52.4"W ]
Quill path signpost
Statia Bromeliads Statia Bromeliads
[17°28'41.34"N 62°57'50.08"W ]
Statia Bromeliads
Steep path on Statia The picture doesn't quite tell the story on how steep this path was - one needed both hands to climb up and getting back down was even tougher. This is the final climb to the very top, and Rob and Lauren had (wisely) opted to remain below and wait.
[17°28'43.26"N 62°57'47.84"W ]
Steep path on Statia
Statia from the Quill This was the reward for the long climb up the Quill on Statia. The view into the volcano caldera was a bit disappointing as there was a lot of cloud, but this was impressive and one can see the island of Saba in the far distance.
[17°28'47.6"N 62°57'43.44"W (facing NW)]
Statia from the Quill
Looking down on Statia This was the reward for the long climb up the Quill on Statia. The view into the volcano caldera was a bit disappointing as there was a lot of cloud, but this was impressive and one can see the island of Saba in the far distance.
[17°28'54.6"N 62°57'47.07"W (facing NW)]
Looking down on Statia
The Quill caldera If only there had been less moisture in the air, then the view into the old caldera of the Quill on Statia would have been impressive and made for a better picture.
The Quill caldera
Misty volcano rim The cloud / mist at the top of the climb up The Quill on Statia doesn't let the photograph show the size of the caldera, nor how deep it really is.
Misty volcano rim
Rob feeding the rooster At this spot almost at the top of The Quill on Statia, Rob and Lauren waited while I climbed the steep path to the summit. They had found this tame rooster who ended up eating all of the trail mix that we'd carried up the hill on our trek.
[17°28'43.55"N 62°57'45.99"W ]
Rob feeding the rooster
St. Kitts seen from Statia St. Kitts seen from Statia
[17°28'27.75"N 62°57'3.78"W (facing SE)]
St. Kitts seen from Statia
Young Silk Cotton tree These trees have thorny trunks to protect them when small, but once they mature and get a thicker bark they lose their thorns.
[17°28'27.39"N 62°57'4.97"W ]
Young Silk Cotton tree
Statia Botanical Gardens Statia Botanical Gardens
Statia Botanical Gardens
Secret Recipe I'm not sure why this recipe was part of the botanical garden exhibits on Statia, but I took a picture so that I could have my own copy of the recipe.
[17°28'28.47"N 62°57'4.45"W ]
Secret Recipe
Sugar Mill ruins on Statia Sugar Mill ruins on Statia
[17°29'31.75"N 62°57'49.3"W (facing NW)]
Sugar Mill ruins on Statia
Rob, the easy rider Lauren, Rob and I had rented mopeds so that we could tour the island of Statia on our own and this was Rob's trusty steed.
[17°30'22.4"N 62°58'51.8"W ]
Rob, the easy rider
Limestone upheaval on Statia Limestone upheaval on Statia
[17°27'57.33"N 62°57'50.68"W (facing NE)]
Limestone upheaval on Statia
De Windt Battery The de Windt Battery on Statia has been partially restored and was given up in 1815. It controlled the passage between Statia and St. Kitts
[17°28'2.07"N 62°57'56.66"W (facing SE)]
De Windt Battery
Rain over Statia The rainshowers hit the island just a couple of hours after departure and Zanshin I managed to stay dry.
Rain over Statia
De Windt Battery Looking up at The Quill from the old de Windt battery on Statia.
[17°27'56.55"N 62°57'50.52"W (facing NE)]
De Windt Battery
Cannon just lying about At the back end of the parking lot at the de Windt Battery on Statia these loose cannon were just laying about and waiting to be pressed into service to shoot at ships in the passage between Statia and St. Kitts.
[17°27'57.08"N 62°57'50.22"W ]
Cannon just lying about

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