After leaving Montserrat in the morning we sailed in the direction of St Kitts and Nevis, which took us close to Redonda.
One of the most interesting aspects of Redonda is its large population of wild goats, which are believed to have been introduced to the island in the 19th century. These goats thrived on Redonda’s rugged terrain and became a valuable source of food for the island’s occasional visitors. However, in recent years, the goats have become an invasive species and have been damaging the island’s delicate ecosystem. They had eaten the island down to nothing and were starving due to too much breeding. In 2018, a team of conservationists worked to remove the goats from Redonda using helicopters to airlift them off the island. Today, Redonda is a nature reserve and bird sanctuary, attracting bird watchers, and nature enthusiasts from around the world. You can read more in this national geographic article.
It was nice to see an island that wasn’t populated with humans, from afar it looked incredibly deserted but as we got closer we saw all the birds circling above, a flock of brown boobies came to say hello and started flying around the boat and fishing very nearby, we think they like fishing around boats because flying fish jump out of the water and fly away to get out of the way of boats, the birds then easily swoop down and grab themselves dinner as we sail by.
We arrived on Nevis in Charles Town in time to get to the clearance building before they closed so after grabbing a mooring buoy we started to get ready to go to land, which included putting the engine on the dinghy. This daily task was made a little more interesting because we found there was a crab in there!
We think it must have been attached to the mooring buoy rope so when we took the dinghy forward to untangle the mess of rope on the mooring we’d chosen the little thing had fallen in. We returned him to the sea and set off for the town dock
Clearing into new counties can be quite funny, there are usually 3 or 4 rooms which you have to go to, this is normally the order
- Port health
- Port Authority
Port health just make sure you’re not bringing in disease or animals etc. Then at Immigration, you give them all your boat details and they hand you back no less than 5 double-sided sheets of paper which the captain has to sign and date the front and back of, immigration keep some of this paperwork whilst you take other sheets to customs who stamp it and then tell you to take it back to immigration, then immigration say you can take yourself to port authority and pay the huge fees for all their paper usage 😉
With the exception of the French islands who have it down to a tee with their self-service computer stations and low physical paperwork needs, all the other islands really need to drag themselves into the present era and make the clearing in and out process a bit more user friendly.
A lot of islands have a system called SailClear which is supposed to make everything easier on arrival, you fill in the online forms and present your SailClear code on arrival, this does make it slightly quickly to input your details into their system but you still need to answer all the usual questions, like where have you come from and where are you going to and how long are you staying even though they are already written down!
Anyway back to St Kitts and Nevis!
After all that paperwork we went to find a snack and we came across a bakery that smelled delicious, they sold the biggest fresh iced cinnamon buns you’ve ever seen and although I’m not one to choose cinnamon usually, we bought one to share, it really was amazing, soft, moist, sweet and tasty! So good in fact we got another one the next day!
We went back to the boat after a stroll along the seafront and came up with a little plan for the next day, we had heard that Nevis had some hot springs, open 24/7 and free so definitely had to try that, we got to land as early as we could to go before the day got too hot.. no one wants a hot spring when your already sweating buckets!
It took about 15mins to walk there and we found a small covered pool with one local guy in already, normally many more hot pools would be open, in a little chain of pools with a stream connecting them but that day they were being pumped out and power washed so we got in the open one.
It was incredibly hot and took us a few minutes to actually get all the way in, as we were halfway down the steps, someone who clearly came here regularly, strode down the steps into the pool without hesitation, and at that point we didn’t want to look like numpties so got in quicker!
We got chatting to this guy, his name was Tee. He told us how to correctly say Nevis and we chatted about the two islands some history and also about traveling in general.
Back to the dock, and back to the boat!
Our next stop was a beach just slightly further north along the island where we would pick up a mooring bouy and enjoy some interesting weather, but let’s save that for next time!