Our sail to Nevis was postponed suddenly when we heard "Diesel Duck" on the VHF talking to "Dreamtime". They had left St. Bart's at midnight and were coming through the Narrows, south of St. Kitts. After checking in with customs
at Basseterre they had decided to join "Dreamtime" (that's Linda and Ed on the right) at Ballast Bay. These two boats have been traveling on and off with us since Georgetown in the Bahamas. We quickly changed our heading and anchored there as well. A lovely, completely undeveloped part of the island, it was very protected from the wind and seas. We swam, snorkeled and then the other two boats joined us for a pot luck dinner - salmon cakes with rum punches, penne and sausages, Yorkshire puddings, tossed salad and brownies - YUM! It was a fun evening.
Next morning early we pulled the anchor and motored over to the northwest end of Nevis. The Gallipot restaurant in Tamarind Bay has free moorings and it's a lovely spot off a small beach with the Volcano rising over it.
After connecting with "Vagamundo" on the VHF, we dinghied over to Oualie Beach and rented bikes for the day. "September Song" and "Vagamundo" have their own bikes and had already explored the island. We all cycled down to Charleston and did some shopping and sightseeing, had some ice cream and then pedaled back. It was a lot of work and very sunny but beautiful. We were more than ready for lunch when we returned at close to 2 PM. The restaurant at Oualie Beach is terrific and the water felt great afterwards. They let us use the chaise lounges and the fresh water showers as well - heaven! The next morning we rented a car and drove all around the island. The west side is very undeveloped and we hiked all over a lovely set of ruins at Coconut Walk Estate. The machinery is still intact. It would look like the people had just walked away for a moment except for the rust. We then visited the Traditional Nevisian Village -
a recreated set of homes from various periods in Nevis history and did the nature walk at Golden Rock Plantation Inn. Many of the old estate homes have been converted into Inns and/or restaurants. We looked at two before choosing the Montpelier Plantation Inn for lunch. Doesn't that meal look fabulous! The old stone buildings and ruins have been incorporated into the new sections and all scattered through the lovely gardens.
The people of St. Kitts and Nevis are so nice. Everyone greets you and wants to help. They are interested in chatting and no one has a ulterior motive. This is a prosperous island and the gaily colored homes
everywhere are very comfortable looking. We explored many of the small roads, often only with room for one car (you sometimes have to back up or pull over on the grass). We don't mind driving on the left but you do need to pay attention all the time. Next we visited an art gallery in Charleston for some gifts and then headed for a beach bar for a beer and a swim. Doesn't this table below and the sofas on either side look comfortable for a drink? Afterwards we shopped for some gifts and groceries and headed back to the boat.
It was a lovely day.
Today, after returning the car and checking out from customs, we have a long list of chores to do. Mine involve cleaning, updating the inventorys, email and cooking. Scott is rebuilding the stern toilet. Yes I got the better deal! He also worked with two other boats on the VHF special "buddy" frequencies. We'll of course get in some swimming and snorkeling too! Tomorrow morning, around 5:00 AM we heading south again. Depending on the conditions we may either go directly to Guadeloupe or stop for an overnight at Montserrat. Scott will check with Montserrat Volcano Observatory today on the situation. There is both a land and maritime exclusion zone around the island the borders of which change depending on the Soufriere Volcano activity.
We have heard of a number of boats that have been covered with ash even miles off the island so we don't want to take a chance. Still we'd love to have a chance to stop there. The northern half is still green and has been protected from the eruptions by the Center Hills mountain range. Two waves of Irish settlers colonized this island in 1630s and 1649 - it's called the Emerald Isle, like Ireland. The view from the inhabited section to the smoking and devastating volcano is memorable we've been told. The old capital Plymouth still has the spire of one church sticking up from the ashes. In 1995 11,000 people lived there, now only 4,500.
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