The passage to St Barts was not enjoyable. I left the anchorage at Statia early and though I would go around the south of the island as it would give me a better slant on the wind to cross However tacking around the south of the island proved just too hard, winds too strong and waves big so after hour and half I had made little progress.Turned around and was back level with the anchorage in 15 mins! so up to the north tip of the island then across. A course almost hard on the wind should have seen me across, not like the passage notes in the pilot that suggest it should be an easy reach. What with leeway, the current and the waves all pushing me northwards it was soon obvious that I would have to go hard on the wind. The waves seemed unusually large considering the wind strength, just about 18 – 20 knots, sometimes a bit lower and arrangements down below got re-arranged., with stuff all over the cabin floor. As it was I entered up motoring the last miles as I had been headed by the wind and it turned into a race against the sunset, punching into short steep waves with spray everywhere. It was the sort of passage that makes you wonder why you sail at all! Oh and the sunset won, just so I anchored in the dark. Not too bad though channel buoy lights and other boats at anchor.
Here I am back on the mainstream cruising circuit and there are hundreds of boats. Unlike Monseratt, Nevis, St Kitts and Statia where there are relatively few yachts about.
I had had to anchor some way out and so it was a long dinghy ride into Gustavia to complete entrance formalities. It feels more like the Med here than the Caribbean, there seemed a surprising lack of black faces, the population seemed European, its very French, very smart very chic and expensive too. 5 Euros for a coffee. After a couple of day I moved just a few miles up the coast to Anse du Colombier. This was much nicer, a very lovely bay with turtles swimming about and a gorgeous beach. I walked along a nice coastal path to Anse de Flamades, saw lizards and iguanas. Back at the boat I spent some time diving under the boat scrubbing the bottom watched by some attractive fish.
Winter refit 2023