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St Kitts & Zora

St Kitts & Zora

From Pinneys Beach where we experienced some very interesting weather, we headed all the way to St Kitts.

The weather still wasn’t perfect, but in this anchorage, we made another boat friend that we would spend the next few days on St Kitts with. Sailing Yacht Zora.

Interestingly while we had some severe westerly winds the night before, they had some severe easterly winds that had actually caused them to drag anchor out to sea a little. We can only assume that the small stormy system passed right in between St Kitts and St Nevis, causing the swirling wind on both islands.

In theory, there was a wreck in the anchorage to snorkel on, so we headed out together, but couldn’t locate it. But the snorkeling was still pretty good.

This seems as good a post as any to say that you can actually follow along with most of the nature stuff that we see on a site called iNaturalist on adams profile.

From this snorkel session, for example, we have all of these observations, and more, recorded…

Anyway, enough nerding out about fish…

We sailed with Zora to a new anchorage, had a walk around a town, did some shopping, and had some lunch. The anchorage was horribly rolley giving us memories of Montserrat, so we all agreed to head somewhere else to allow for a better nights sleep.

Here there was actually a wreck, but in the 2017 hurricane, it got washed up onto the shore.

One of the best parts of this snorkel session was the small group of Caribbean reef squid that seemed to like hanging out near the rudder of Hannah.

We had some sundowners aboard Zora where we also met 2 other boats and chatted about all of our very different travels through the Caribbean.

Wanting to move on to St Martin so that we could also move on to the BVIs we headed to another anchorage a few days later so that we could check out and set sail.

As often happens in the Caribbean there was a festival of some sort going on as we were walking through the town, which included some plank walking! Who can get the furthest?

The anchorage was even more rolly here than we had had in the previous week or so. So we decided to spend as much time on land as possible, using up our remaining XCD currency which we would no longer be needing in a nice restaurant. We made sure to have some leftovers to being back to Hannah for our night sail on to St Martin.

Here you can see how rolly the boat was, no chance of sleep on that.

St Nevis, the interesting weather

St Nevis, the interesting weather

St Nevis was rather sunny on our arrival, just with a few very short passing bits of rain.

We moved up to Pinneys Beach where once again we took a mooring ball, though others were anchored around. As far as we could tell we had paid some sort of tax for the usage of the mooring bouys during our stay, so figured we may as well take advantage of that.

We had bought food ready for a BBQ in the evening, which we were planning on having on board, off th back of Hannha as we normally do. However, we looked at the weather, and it didn’t look good for dinner time, so we had the slightly mental idea of having the BBQ in the cockpit.

Now, ignore the smoke, it went rather well, and we are glad to have started it indoors as it poured down throughout the evening.

We moved the BBQ around a few times and eventually found the best space was on the starboard bench, where we could have enough wind catch the smoke and mostly blow it out of the cockpit.

Though throughly smoked, the BBQ was a delicious success.

The next day the rain continued. Infact, it almost rained all day, and was certainly cloudy all day.

But fresh water is valuable! so Kathryn got out and gave the deck a good scrub, one of the first time its been cleaned of salt water since St Lucia.

We spent the whole day on board, writing this a month later it’s hard to remember exactly what we did, but it probably involved food, films and relaxation… (and maybe some blog post writing)

We headed to bed, but at around midnight something didn’t feel right. It turned out that some localized weather was passing overhead, and this had actually turned out that our easterly wind (from the east) had changed into a strong westerly wind (from the west). This had meant that our totally protected anchorage where the beach and island was to the east of us, was now totally unprotected. And what had infact woken us up was the boat starting to go over ~1m waves that had built up out to sea as the wind had picked up to 30+ knots.

It was pitch black, so we have no good video of this, however to build up a picture, we were tied to a mooring bouy with the beach 50m behind us, crashing through 1m waves along with 10 other boats in the middle of the dark night in winds of 30+ knots. Water was spraying off each side of the bow, and the boat was properly moving up and down.

We were slightly worried that the mooring bouy might give way, and we could see people on other boats checking or adding lines, and this was the momment we would have much rather been at anchor rather than on a bouy!

After about an hour and a half the weather passed and the wind returned to light winds from the east. All a very odd occourance.

Our wind instruments actually gave up and just started reading 99, so we have no idea what the winds really got up to.

On the whole, odd, and not the sunny carribean we have gotten used to.

So lets end this rather grey and pictureless blog post here, and save more sunny weather for the next one!

Arrival in St Nevis

Arrival in St Nevis

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

  1. Port health
  2. Immigration
  3. Custom
  4. 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!