Our 2002 Hylas 46

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

St Barthelemey or St Barth for short!

Even though both St Martin and St Barth are French islands we had to clear out through customs in St Martin and clear In upon our arrival in St Barth – why??? Who knows – they are different territories!

St Barth is as different from St Martin as night and day. This is THE SPOT for the mega yachts at Christmas / New Years time.  In February it is a lot more toned down and there are only one or two large yachts in the harbor. We opted to anchor out and OH MY … it really ROLLS in the anchorage – we are in 35 feet of water with 150 feet of chain on the bottom – the wind is 20+ knots but we are no moving backwards which is a good thing! We went in to town to clear in with customs – a rather interesting process where you do it yourself on a computer – no one checks your documents or passports. I guess it is just an honor system! All the official stuff out of the way and we are off to visit the town. One interesting fact of St Barth is that in the past, the slaves did not stay here as the land was so infertile, nothing grew so they left for work on other islands and still today there are very few blacks in St Barth. It is interesting the differences in the islands and how each managed the abolition of slavery in a different manner and how those decisions impacted the further development of the island.

Mega Yacht dock
Dinghy dock .... just a little difference!!!

St Barth was originally French then in the late 1700’s was given to Sweden to allow France free access to the Swedish port of Gothenburg. St Barth under the Swedes became a free port trading with all countries. After a hundred years and a few hurricanes and changes in trade, Sweden sold it back to France but many of the street names and harbours carry Swedish names. 
It is an impeccably clean and well-maintained island and very secure also. It really gives you the sense that you are in a little piece of France.  

The boutiques are all designer and upscale, the restaurants a superbly decorated – the downside is that the prices are also very upscale – for example a lunchtime Caesar  salad is 18 euros  or US$20.

Hermes ...... excuse meeeeeee!

Scooter hell!

This would be impossible with as little 2cm of snow!
We walked the entire Port of Gustavia skipping some of the areas with super steep roads to get up!

The Swedish Consulate 

As we headed back past the Customs house to the dinghy dock the officer called us back in …. OPPS I wonder what has gone wrong ….. luckily he had picked up our official boat documents and passports, that we had accidently left at the computer station when filling out forms. We need to improve our process of keeping hold of our papers better!

Back on board Ambition it was a hold on to everything as we rolled back and forth in the anchorage – the only blessing is that we rolled less than some of the lighter and more flat bottomed sailboats. Even the 150’ motor yachts at anchor rolled some. This doesn’t make for a really restful sleep as you get swung side to side in bed!

We were back at the Customs house after a quick stop for a few baguettes, to clear out of St Barth within 24 hours.  We wasted no time pulling up anchor and heading to Anse du Columbier, a beautiful bay on the north end of the island. It is situated so that the ocean swells do not affect  us at all – it is soooo nice to be able to walk around the boat without having to continuously hold on tight!

We seem to have a great wind for our ride tomorrow to St Kitts.

Testosterone even comes in sailboats!!!

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