Paul and Linda’s Vacation Continues

Trip Start Dec 09, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Antigua and Barbuda  , Barbuda,
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In Gravenor  Bay the next day, Donna hoisted Dave up the mast – taking advantage of the calm anchorage – to finish the mainsail halyard work left uncompleted during the Heineken Regatta.  He cut off about five feet of line and re-tied it, noticing additional fraying sections elsewhere in the line.  The whole halyard would have to be replaced before beginning our passage home to the Chesapeake Bay in May.  The balance of the day we spent snorkeling and simply enjoying the drop dead beauty of our surroundings.

On March 14, in order to clear out of the country with less taxi expense, we relocated to the west side pink sand beach locally known as "Lewis Beach", just south of the conspicuous Palm Beach House.  This one small section of the “eleven mile beach” on the west side of the island was named Lewis Beach after the hurricane that created a temporary ocean opening through the beach to the lagoon, which healed itself in time, leaving a narrow spot to do the dinghy drag.  We think it was actually hurricane “Luis”, but the locals all pronounce it “Lewis”.  We had no intention of dragging the dinghy across the dune line, but Lewis Beach is where the water taxis prefer to meet you for the ride across the lagoon to reach town.  The anchorage is wide open to the sea to the west, so it can be rolly, and there are no dinghy docks so you have to manage the shore break to land a dinghy, which can be quite a challenge involving some good timing.

That afternoon, Paul dropped us off from the dinghy knee deep at the beach and we met Pat as pre-arranged by radio for the trip across the lagoon to clear out of the country.  All went as expected and Paul retrieved us upon our return.  Timing the beach pickup was reminiscent for Dave and Paul's old surfing days in the Virginia Beach shore break – but with much prettier sand. 

We enjoyed a not-too-rolly night anchored off the lovely beach and departed beautiful Barbuda at first light the next morning for a day sail to St. Barth’s.  We had a fabulous spinnaker run the entire distance in ENE winds of 15-20 knots with a chance to do some rewarding fishing.  In a double hookup we lost one UFO (unidentified fishy object) but landed a nice Blackfin Tuna by 0730.  Around noon Linda landed a 38” King Mackerel! 

We arrived and anchored outside Gustavia Harbor around 1330 near the town of Corossol where Donna was hoping to visit the Inter-Oceans shell museum that we missed last year on the day of the week it was closed (Monday!).  This small museum was described in our cruising guide as having over 7000 seashells on display.  Last year we had squinted through the glass doorways and windows to glimpse the museum’s contents which seemed impressive enough.  This year, however, Donna was even more disappointed to see that the entire museum was closed up tight for what appeared to be a renovation project.  A brief chat with a resident sunning on the dock brought a recollection of a news article that confirmed the temporary closure.  So once again that visit was not to be.

The main harbor town of Gustavia is reputed to be one of the most charming and beautiful ports in the Caribbean, and it does have a certain flair.  The existence of this excellent natural harbor must be why anyone ever settled the island in the first place as there doesn’t seem to be many other reasons to settle here.  But sometime along the way the rich and famous started coming and staying.  It’s obvious that there’s a lot of money here – multimillion dollar megayachts ring the harbor, docking stern-to and seeming to be in constant competition to see which is the most opulent.  High end designer shops line the streets.  Le Carre d’Or is the Rodeo Drive of St. Barth’s.  “Beautiful people” are everywhere and the place seems immune to Caribbean poverty. 

Paul and Linda were able to meander the (few) streets of Gustavia to enjoy the sights at leisure.  Paul even spotted the small monohull day-sailer Groovy which belongs to Jimmy Buffett docked in the harbor with four comfy leather dockside chairs nearby!  We wound up our visit ashore buying some groceries, rum and champagne and headed back to the boat to prepare a yummy fresh fish dinner on the grill!  

The next day, March 16, we departed St. Barth’s around 0900 and had another terrific spinnaker run in ENE winds of 12-17 back to Marigot Bay, St. Martin, arriving around 1230.  We did not fish as the waters in this area are shallower and, besides, the freezer was full!  We went ashore and cleared into French St. Martin, then explored the streets looking for a nice dinner spot we could return to that evening for our final meal together.  Based on a local resident’s recommendation, we tried “The Bridge”, a Creole buffet-style restaurant just inside the French Bridge, courtesy of Paul and Linda.  The meal was quite good, allowing us an opportunity to try a variety of fare, and the local musical entertainment was great!

Sadly, Dave took Paul and Linda to the airport via dinghy the next morning for their departure home.  Thanks Paul and Linda for your great company and making that yummy fish salad!  After having guests for 28 days, the boat now seemed empty.  The dishwashing chores started to come more frequently.  We had a really good time with our guests!
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