Monday, January 6, 2014

Les Saintes to St. Kitts

First leg: Les Saintes to Deshaies

After waiting for a suitable weather window in Les Saintes, we decided to do a big hop to St. Kitts.  On a previous trip we had spent some time in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe’s yacht haven, but were not inclined to do a repeat.  The island(s) of Guadeloupe is shaped like a butterfly, with Pointe-a-Pitre “at its ass,” according to one guidebook author.  I somewhat agree.  Our first leg was the 32 NM trip mainly in the lee of Guadeloupe to Deshaies where we anchored for the night.

Guadeloupe to St. Kitts

Using the narrow weather window provided, our second leg was to St. Kitts 80 NM away.  Previously we had visited Antigua (see: archived posting, Tots to the Queen, May 28, 2013 ).  While we enjoyed the island, we felt that we had seen most of the sites because on previous visits we found that we were weathered in for extended periods.  Besides, with the prevailing wind and waves out of the east or northeast during the winter, visiting Antigua feels like fighting to go east to eventually go west.  By heading to St. Kitts we had comfortable following seas.

2 NM Maritime Exclusion Zone

We had hoped to visit Montserrat on our trip north, but it was not in the cards for us.  In 1995 and again in 1997 eruptions from the Soufriere Hills volcano led to the exodus of nearly two thirds of the population.  In 2003 the dome collapsed and some of the population returned as restrictions were relaxed.  However, today there is a 2 NM maritime exclusion zone around the south side of the island and eruptions spewing steam and ash still occur.

Montserrat, not looking too inviting

The eruptions have destroyed the capital, Plymouth, and filled in the original harbor.  Visiting yachts now must anchor at the northwest end of the island which affords little protection from a north swell.  When I called to inquire about the possibility of a mooring, the harbor master said that due to the sea state it had been several days since he had be able to launch his boat.  We decided to give Montserrat a pass.

Carnival Ribbon Dancers

This makes our third visit to St. Kitts, and we always find it to be fun although the marina is not what one would call world class (see: archived postings Gibraltar of the Caribbean, dated Feb. 25, 2015; Cruisers vs. Cruisers, dated Feb 15, 2013; and Leeward Islands, dated Feb. 11, 2013).  St. Kitts was in the middle of their Carnival when we arrived (see: archived posting, Amplified Music, dated Aug. 4, 2013).  The New Year’s fireworks were quite impressive.

View from Twist, our favorite restaurant

The biggest downside to St. Kitts is Internet access.  The Port Zante Marina provides free WiFi, but when the cruise ships dock at Port Zante their multiple WiFi signals destroys the marina’s weak signal.

This posting completed at Rituals, our morning coffee shop.

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