St Martin Again

We came back to St Martin again after leaving the Virgin Islands after a rather boring night sailing and motoring. It is always nice to be in Marigot Bay in St Martin, now there were more boats on the anchorage than last time as the season now got going. There is always interesting boats to be seen, such as the one below

St Martin Old boat

Some bots need more TLC than other, on the other part of the scale we found this

St Martin New Boat

Nothing special for a large yacht in St Martin, but I found the helicopter worth an extra picture

dav

As it was well taken care of.

More fun to see this Fisksatra S 30, not a very suitable live aboard or blue water cruiser

S 30 1

How do I know that?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Well this is the one we had before we bought Kerpa, a wonderful boat to sail in the archipelago, but very inconvenient already out on the opened waters of the Baltic Sea.

Bellow follow some pictures illustrating how we had it when cruising the archipelago on the east coast of Sweden, might be of interest for some who have not been there, I can recommend to go there, it is very beautiful given that the weather cooperate.

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We have previously missed to visit Fort Louise in Marigot, strange it is well worth a visit and not very far at all from the dingy dock in Marigot Bay. One get a great view  from up there.Fort Louis St Martin 1

One can see the Lagoon all the way over to the Dutch side

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Fort Louis St Martin 6

St Kitts

From St Martin we set course south, we had hope to visit Saba, but there was to much swell to even try it, so we aimed for St Eustatius, but when passing by it was way to much swell, so we continued to St Kitts. Very much swell there as well, but it was already dark and one have to anchor at Basseterre to clear in. Else White House Bay about 5 nM from Basseterre is a very good option, but the coast guard do not like that, and one can be fined up to 300 USD for breaching that rule. As we did not want to risk that we spend a very rolly night at Basseterre.

Basseterre is a very lively place with some charm if one avoids the area where the cruise ships are.

Bassettere Imigration.jpg

But you have to clear in were the cruise ships are moored

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The Marina Dingy Dock and view

 

 

The water front area where the buss station is, are rather vibrant and interesting, with fishermen cleaning their catch, across the street there is a fruit and vegetable market, many small bars so it is a very lively area.

Basseterre 2Basseterre 1Basseterre 3

The town itself is color full and interesting to visit with both small and large buildings in many colors and in different stage of need for TLC.

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To our surprise we found rather good tomatoes at the local street market at a reasonable price

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This probably a remain from the British era

Basseterre 8

From the Basseterre anchorage, one has this nice view over the mountain and rain forest

Basseterre Anchorage

Next time we visit we will try to rent a car or attending a guided tour to see the rain forest.

On our trip down from St Martin we tried our new lure a “Cedar” plug, well not a traditional cedar plug but a more colorful one.

Fsihing luck 1

On St Martin, Island Water World had a fishing seminar that we attended and we were inspired by them to try a new Lure and to shorten our line to just a boat length. They also said when you see birds there are fish, but they also go for your lure so be careful.  We put out our new lure and one of our squids which we usually get some fish on. After just a short while Kerstin said to me look birds, I saw them, and they were definitely going for our lure so I quickly went aft to real them in as we do not want a bird on the hook. Guess what we got, a fish on the new lure so I quickly reeled in the other lure and then we landed a very nice Mahi Mahi. We also learned at the seminar, when you land a fish one should cover the eyes on the fish and they will become calm. We tried by putting a rag over the eyes on our Mahi Mahi and it worked, the fish became very calm and easy to kill.

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We enjoyed a very nice dinner, Mahi Mahi with stewed spinach and potatoes it tasted great.

White House Bay

White House Bay is a nice anchorage that is very protected ca 5 nM from Basseterre, we rode out some very bad weather on this anchorage two years ago, and now we were back again, nice to have a flat sea after the rolly night in Basseterre.

There is a posh bar in the bay, where people enjoy expensive food and drinks while admiring the sunset.

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So did we one day

White House Bay 3

32 USD for two rather watery Marguerites, not worth the money, so next day

White House Bay 9

We enjoyed the sunset from our own after deck drinking a homemade Rum punch, much better.

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Around the “corner” is a marina for Super Yachts

Perseus 3 1

We saw this very tall mast from anchorage, so we took the dingy around the “corner” to have a look

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Definitely a rather big boat, the name is Perseus 3, 61 meter long

Perseus 3 3

Can you see the man working on the radar at the first spreader?

oznor

That is not a toy teddy bear or a mascot, but a real person working on the radar!!!!!

Boating gears tip

We bought wheels for our dingy this spring and when we were on the Virgin Islands I mounted them on the dingy.

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Dingy Wheele 3

They are actually very good, work well, role rather well if the sand is not to soft, but it also lift the dingy so the swell will not fill up your dingy but go below, given they are not massive swell, but then I suggest an other beach for landing your dingy. Yes we do recommend this they are in stainless steel but only A2 quality so they rust a bit. We bought them from Defender.com, which is a very good US supplier of boating gears at competitive cost and good service, recommended

Dingy Wheele 4

This is after ca 6 weeks on the dingy

Dingy Wheele 5

But no problem to get them shiny again, I guess one has to polish them rather frequent, we polished with a product containing Phosphoric acid, works very well and do passivate the steel, it should corrode slower after the treatment.

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Virgin Island Part 2

 

Culebra

Culebra or Spanish Virgin Island is a part of Puerto Rico. Columbus as first European visited Culebra 1493. The island was a refuge for Pirates during more than 300 years. Now Culebra is a beautiful and sleepy place with less than 2000 inhabitants. Culebra really differ from USVI as the mood is very Latin American (at least for a Swede), not only the music that was played loudly, but also the way we saw the people, a great experience.

The main village is Dewey in a deep bay with a reasonable protected and large anchorageculebra anchorage

culebra dingy dock

Very convenient bar for cruisers just dingy over and have a sun-downer.

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carterpillar

We found this very large caterpillar on a fence, will probably turn into a large and amazing butterfly

alternative anchorage culebra

If one do not want to anchor in the bay near the village this nice anchorage (Ensenada Dakity) behind a reef is a good option just at the entrance of the bay.

Culebrita

One of the most beautiful anchorage we been to is on Culebrita a small island belonging to Culebra.

culebrita anchorage

Kerpa at anchor in Bahia de Tortuga, Culebrita

culebrita beachculebrita beach 3

So beautiful we just had to take a selfie

selfie

During day time rather many local boats but around 4 o’clock we were alone or just one other sailing boat who stayed over night.

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culebrita light house

This lighthouse from 1886 was the oldest working light house in the Caribbean until it was closed down 1975

culebrita sheep

Now the only tenant in the lighthouse are the goats.

Culebrita also offer a natural Jacuzzi

culebrita jacuzzi

The waves sweep in to the shielded lagoon and one can get some lively “Water-dance” when the occasional very large wakes break over the edge. No doubts who is leading the dance, we had the whole pool just for our self, very nice indeed.

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When one has visitors there are no time to explore in detail and as our son Kristoffer was with us we only stayed for a few days, but Culebra and Culebrita was highly appreciated by him, and we would not hesitate to visit again.

 

Virgin Gorda

We visited Virgin Gorda in March 2017 before the hurricane and we have heard that this beautiful place had suffered a lot from the hurricane, and it had, it was very obvious as soon as we entered the Virgin Gorda sound. Below follow some photos of the type before and after.

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There are many sailors who have had a few down the throat during happy hour on the Saba rock

saba rock after (copy)

This is how it looks today, no more happy hours. Just behind on the right-hand side used to be some exclusive holiday homes.

holiday home before 2 (copy)

They looked very attractive,

holiday home after (2) (copy)

but this is what remains

beach before (copy)

Beach before and after

beach after (2) (copy)

not very much left

house before (copy)

This house survived rather well but still a lot of work

house after (copy)

The new Marina looked like below

marina before (copy)

Now not very much left

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Last time we were here we saw this Swedish “Folkboat” in great condition even though it is probably made in the early 1970 th

if brefore (copy)

Now in not so great shape

if after (copy)

Obviously been lying submerged, but someone has salvage hear

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Two boats on the shore

The only place that was to be recognize was Leveric bay

leveric bay (copy)

The bar still in good shape

happy hour lervic bay - kopia

And Kristoffer handling the important stuff, making sure his daddy gets a cold beer.

Kristoffer really enjoyed being spoiled aboard Kerpa visiting many Virgin Islands

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Like Sandy spit JvD

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Norman Island

Who also offered very good snorkeling and nice weather.

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The last anchorage  before he headed home was

Christmas cove on Great St James Island

christmas cove sunsetchristmas cove evening

Kristoffer enjoys one of the the last evening before heading home. We had great sailing and splendid weather just a few showers, so he was really satisfied with his also well deserved holiday. We turned our bow south next port St Martin

 

 

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Virgin Islands Part 1

USVI was bought from the Danish 1917 and one still find Danish names on some of the streets, in that respect rather similar to St Barth who was a former Swedish colony, still with many Swedish names remaining.

The first Virgin Island we came to was St Croix, we did not know what to expect, but is was rather obvious that St Croix had suffered from the Hurricane. The border protection was no longer at the Marina as the building had suffered some damage and was not yet rebuilt. The only way to clear in was to take a taxi to the airport (45 USD for a return trip), first we were a bit disappointed about that but in the end it gave us an opportunity to se a bit more of the Island.

tug boat

First sight entering the rather narrow inlet to Christiansted was an old tug boat that had been around for a while, and that was the impression for the part of St Croix we saw, need some TLC. On the trip to the airport we saw one of the largest refinery in the western hemisphere, but it was moth bold, the only activity was storage of petroleum products.

christiansted 8christiansted

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The town was charming with a mix of well-kept houses as well as some in need for attention

christiansted 4christiansted 5

chair

This chair that we found outside the house above did not provide any rest or comfort for a tiered tourist, but it is always a water hole ner by for a cruiser to get a beer or two.

One very charming thing with not only St Croix but all USVI islands was that where ever you walked you saw roosters and chickens.

rooster

A very beautiful rooster walking just beside the streets watching over a part of his harem

chiken

Very cute indeed.

Less cute was to see all evidence from the devastation by the hurricane.

hurricane damage marina

Not very much left of this Marina

catamaran and fense

And how could this large cat end up on the wrong side of the fence?

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The catamaran is no longer home for holiday makers but for a new family of chickens.

albin express

To our surprise we found this boat an Albin Express (built in Sweden), a very popular racing class in Sweden during 1980:th, and still rather popular, many young families with children has spent their summer vacation cursing the archipelago of Stockholm in an Express, a huge contrast to the many 50-70 fot catamarans we now see with holiday makers in The Virgin Islands.

water front

There is a very nice walk with restaurants and bars playing live music along the water front in Christiansted

St Thomas

We did not stay long in St Croix as our two daughters with husband and boy friend were flying in to St Thomas, so we headed for Brewer bay on St Thomas, a very convenient place for picking up guests.

brewer bay st t

Brewer bay is not only a beautiful bay, but it gives you access to the air port as well as Charlotte Amalie either take a long walk or take the local Taxi/buss system that takes you around for one USD, very good indeed.

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The airport is very close by, the terminal is on the opposite side, so it takes maybe 25 to 30 minutes to walk, a taxi back with the guests cost 6 USD per person. One gets a bit disturbed from the plane, but they are not very frequent and after dark there are only a few smaller planes landing so no big issue

pelican

You can also get other flying visitors aboard,

taxi

Local Bus/Taxi in Charlotte Amalie

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ca house 5

Some houses in Charlotte Amalie, the one above with the old Danish street name. It is nice to walk around in the town the massive amounts of tourist from the cruising ships are only found at the shopping streets with diamonds and jewelry for sale, the rest of the town feels rather genuine

ca anchorage

One can also anchor in Charlotte Amalie, a large anchorage with plenty of space, good provisioning and easy clearing and departure at the sea plane terminal. But we prefer Brewers bay much nicer Charlotte Amalie is very focused on the tourists from the large cruising ships and many bars and restaurants closes when the ships leaves, often well before dark.

ca ferry

One of the large cruise liners approaching the harbor, they are huge but maneuver very swiftly in the bay even though several anchored boats.

sunken tug st thomas

Does not expect to see this on St Thomas, guess this is not due to the hurricane but poor maintenance.

 

St John

Cruz bay on St John is a charming place with good provisioning, customs and some nice bars, highly recommended at least for provisioning and customs.

cruz bay

Cruz bay with..

vrfuz bay fire station

Fire station

We cleared out from Cruz bay and headed for Jost Van Dyke BVI, one of the highlights in The Virgin Islands.

great harbor

Great Harbour JvD

customs jvd

The Polis station where one clear in, if you are lucky, they clear you in and out at the same time, very convenient.

jvd fire station

Another fire station

From Great harbor there is about 25 minutes walk to White Bay with one of the famous “Soggy Dollar Bar”

white bay jvd

White Bay

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View from Soggy Dollar Bar. Rather crowded some almost anchored on the beach?

 

Sandy Spit on JvD is a must

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Sandy Spit

We had Emelie with hear husband Axel and Linnea with her boy friend Felix aboard for Christmas and New Year during ca two weeks. The Virgin Islands is excellent for visitors as very close between the Islands and anchorage. Relative gentle sailing even though the Christmas weather in Virgin Islands is well known to have rather strong winds. Unfortunately, we had rain almost every day, not all day but enough to have a feeling of not the best weather. But for our kids the weather was a huge improvement from the weather in Sweden.

emelie jvd

Emelie Great Harbor JvD

sandy spit jvd 2

Linnea and Felix really enjoyed Sandy Spit

bar visit norman island

Visiting nice bars and getting both a beer and some internet. Here on Norman Island.

soppers hgole 2

Sopper’s Hole Tortola

sopper hole

Who also showed traces from the hurricane

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Hiking Francis Bay St John

Where we saw this fellow

unknown animal francis bay

Do not know what animal it is, anyone know?

holliday makers

Linnea and Felix enjoying a well-deserved holiday

linnea on a sup

Linnea try our SUP, can’t say the kids impressed me with their balance, the old man could still shine, at my age one has to take every opportunity as it is fare between them

rain bow

The rain gave us some very nice rain bows

christmas

Best Christmas present for us was to be able to have Christmas with the “Kids”

For new year they wanted a place with some nice bars, but as Emelie and Axel flew home the day after, there was not many options, we ended up in Charlotte Amalie. And after a nice New Years dinner we played Mexican Train

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And they become so absorbed by the game, so they stayed aboard the whole night. In distance at 12 o’clock we could hear the sounds from all kinds of guns that were fired into the water, a tradition in Charlotte Amalie, a strange tradition for us Swedes.

The day after Emelie and Axel left and our son Kristoffer arrived, but more about the VI in the next blogg.

 

 

 

 

 

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St Martin

It is nice to visit St martin again a great place for cruisers. We were here the season before the hurricane and was a little bit concerned over how it would look today.marogot anchorage (copy)

First impression was that it was very few boats on the Marigot anchorage but that was due to still early season, when we left ca 14 days later the number of boats at anchor was substantially higher.

First thing to do was to clear in and the Island Water World chandlery in Marigot lagoon was still providing the service, and there was the damage from the hurricane clearly visible.

st martin hurricane damage 3 (copy)

The red and white striped jetty is where you tie up your dingy when visiting Island Water World. At the end of the blog you will find some more photos from the damage. After clearing in we saw this rather large lizard

lizard (copy)

As my brother Thomas and Brita would leave after a few days we wanted them to experience a more joyful part of our life, by just relaxing

life is good 2 (copy)

And enjoying the nice warm water and sun, they look as they appreciate the last lazy days before they headed home to a grey and cold Stockholm.

life is good (copy)

Also, Kerstin took the opportunity to relaxed with a glass of wine.

We do we do?

We quiet often get the question what do you do out there? Besides the obvious as seeing a lot of nice places, meeting new people, all is not just fun, and you already knew that we must repair things now and then, but there are other things as well, as improving life aboard.

A long-wanted thing has been to fix sun protection for the PVC windows on our spray hood. Kerstin got inspired by the one we saw on Joy, one of the other Amel SM on the Salty Dawg rally. So we took the dingy over to the Dutch side

the lagoon (copy)

And bought what was needed for fabricating the sun screen, the sewing machine was deep down in one of our wardrobes as it had not been used for sometimes, but it worked flawless

sun shade (copy)

Work in progress

sun shade 2 (copy)

Hand sewing the Velcro to the spray hood, a hard work, but the result was very good

sun shade 3 (copy)

Finally, we have the shade so very needed especially when sitting long days at the helm.

sun shade 4 (copy)

Easy to roll down when we do not need them.

On my behalf came the task to replace our flexible solar panels on the rail

solar pannels (copy)

The flexible panels were not very suitable to have on the rail, as they where flexing/vibrating in the wind and looked older than they were.

I have long time trying to find a better alternative, 2×100 watt is what we had, 130 watt panels would fit better but they have been difficult to find, so we went to Island Water World to purchase two 100 watt panels, but came back to the boat with two 150 watt panels. It was a risk that they would be to large

solar pannels 2 (copy)

Work in progress

solar pannels 3 (copy)

Work ready, they are large, but so fare we have not seen any great disadvantage of the size, only the advantage of more amp’s getting in.

I found to my surprise that I had to replace the old cable as it was corroded, it had only been there for a bit over two years. Obviously, the plastic cover was not 100% water tight, one could blame the connection that I had done, but the cable was corroded all the way it was exposed to salt spray. Lesson learned always buy high quality cables if possible, on the other hand when fixing things when cruising, one must use what is available.

 

Another recurring task is to provision, and St Martin is a very good place to do that. Last time we were in St Martin Island Water World had provisioning trips both on the Dutch as well as on the French side, but that is no longer, the shop on the Dutch side was destroyed during the hurricane, so only Super U on the French side remains, but it is a very good option a very short walk from the Marigot dingy dock.

provissioning (copy)

One can not walk back with all this, so we asked them to call a Taxi, but the Taxi did not come, instead a lady who worked at Super U who had her lunch break, offer to take us down to the dingy dock, very nice indeed.

provissioning 2 (copy)

Will all this fit into the dingy? We had our doubts

provissioning 3 (copy)

It did, it was a little bit tight for Kerstin, but it worked.

It is a hard work to provision, and the hardest part is to fit everything into Kerpa.

provissioning 4 (copy)

That is the task for Kerstin, I better keep some distance as Kerstin’s mode then could be a little bit ….

provissioning 5 (copy)

But after the task is done and I served Kerstin a Rum Punch, the happy face is back. Now we will be good for a few month, only fresh vegetables and fruit whenever available.

What do we more do then? Well if one is on a French island one enjoys good food, such as

foie gras (copy)

Foie Gras and Champagne

enjoying (copy)

Followed by

duck breast (copy)

Duck breast, so now you know a little bit more about what we do all these lazy days, besides enjoying beautiful sunsets

sunset (copy)

A very odd thing is to see people buying Christmas trees

chrstmas (copy)

when the sun is shining, and the temperature is well above comfort level for shopping and being ashore. For us in Sweden, Christmas is very much related with snow and cold weather. Not sunshine, we have very little Christmas mood, but on the other side we do not feel any need for it, we just enjoy.

Hurricane damage

Even if life seams rather normal in St Martin now 14 months after the hurricane, there are numerus evidence of the ordeal the people had to encounter. Below follow some photos, most of them speak

st martin hurricane damage 8 (copy)

st martin hurricane damage 1 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 2 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 5 (copy)

One can se many boats that had suffered a lot of damage that someone trying to fix, some were more challenging than others. We also got the impression that some boats had become housing for local people who had lost their land-based home.

st martin hurricane damage 4 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 7 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 13 (copy)

st martin hurricane damage 12 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 11 (copy)

st martin hurricane damage 10 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 9 (copy)

These photos are just examples there where may damage boats here and there.

 

We left St Martin after ca 14 days a late afternoon heading to St Croix

leaving at sun set (copy)

 

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Antigua and St Barth

After arriving Nelson Dockyard, Antigua, we had a few days rest before we started to attend some issues with Kerpa.

Nelson Dock yard with Kerpa

Nelson Dockyard, not many boats now, but soon it will be crowded by charter boats and superyachts

Old building ND

Some buildings definitely have an aura from a past times

 We had discovered water ingress into Kerpa during our trip, one was from the bow-thruster, and by just put some tension on the wire that retracts the bow-thruster the leak was more or less gone, so that will be the solution for now. But we also had some water under the floor boards in the main cabin, not at all desirable as we store food, beer, wine etc under the floor boards.

kerstin cleaning bilge

Kerstin made a heroic work during our bumpy passage clearing out the voids under the floor boards and drying up the water.

We did not discover what the cause was until we empty out all compartments and found

bad connection

Drainage hose for the anchor well, forward shower and for a few other places had disconnected from one of the joints. Now in a harbor not difficult to fix, used some of the remains from when recently changing bilge pump and hoses, never throw away anything, it might be handy sooner than expected (usually not, I have a lot of” spare parts” filling up compartments here and there)

Good connection

Some boiling water made the hose very cooperative, who wouldn’t?

The other task was to fix the problem with the overheating diesel generator, the impeller was just in fragment so not so strange it overheated. Now it has a new raw water pump, a cleaned heat exchanger and a strainer that collect future parts from broken impellers

Onan heat exchanger

Heat-exchanger cleaned and assembled, ready to be put in place again

Onan strainer

The strainer in place, has been long on the mental to do list, but now erased

We also had broken blade on our Swi-Tec hydrogenereator,

Swi tech Propeller

Not very robust

broken propeller

I sent some pictures to Swi-tec, the comment I got back was “bad luck” what to say about that??

 

Life is not only rest and boat work, we had some time to entertain our self, and one very nice evening was at Shirley Heights, where they had barbecue with steel band music and something, they called reggae music.

Steeldrums

The steel band was really good and produced a lot of “swing”, very nice indeed, the food was good and so was the mood among all participants, on top of that a very beautiful view over English harbor at sun set added to the very nice event

Sun set English HarborEnglish Harbor

The reggae music was more general popular music I had liked to listen to more “real” reggae music, but all in all a very memorable evening, some of the audience had not had only rum punch that night that was for sure.

Not reggea music

English Harbor 2

English harbor

There is a very nice walk from English Harbor to Falmouth Harbor, I can very much recommend taking that walk, the scenery is very rewarding, below follow some pictures from the walk.

English harbor anchorage (2)

Shirley Heights on the hill in the background

Nice view EH

A bit higher up this view of English harbor

English and Famouth Harbor

Falmouth and English Harbor

Pigeon beach

Finally, Pigeon beach in Falmouth Harbor, we just got there before the heavy rain started so we rewarded us with a beer at the beach bar, very nice.

Nelson Dock yard

Time to leave English Harbor, first stop was the fuel dock as our tank was more or less empty, so it is not Kerpa the Amel you see in the picture but Joy who stayed a few days more.

We headed out and anchored at Bird Island in Nonsuch bay, a place clearly recommended to stay at, we only stayed one night before we continued to Jolly harbor to clear out for our next stop.

St Barth

We visited St Barth last time we were in the Caribbean, but it is well worth another visit, and I wanted to show this former Swedish colony for Thomas and Brita, and they really appreciated the visit.

Gustavia light house

Gustavia is the name of the main port. It was the Swedish King Gustav III who bought the colony from the French 1784, hence the name of the port, it was a Swedish colony until 1878 when the French bought it back.

iew from light house St Barth

Views from the light house

Brita på St Barth

It was a warm day to walk up the hill, this was a good place for a rest and some photos

Paul o Kerstin St Barth

St Barth Anchorage

The anchorage is rather exposed to swell and therefore a bit rolly

A bit north there is a good and less rolly anchorage at Anse de Colombier maybe 15-20 minutes dingy ride from to Gustavia so one can stop there instead.

Anchorage Ansed De Colombar

Supposed to be crowded but still early season, from here it’s a short walk over a peninsula to the windward Atlantic side

Atlantic side St Barth

The Atlantic side, On the walk we meet this fellow

Turtle St Barth

He did not looked to concerned to meet some Swedish Walkers on the trail

The island seams proud over the Swedish heritage and display both the old Swedish street name as well as the new French names

Street name

Gamla Gatan or “The old street” now Rue du Port

Swedish Prision

This building was a prison for a while when the Swedes were there.

Next stop will be St Martin.

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