Sailing to Saint Barts
12 June 2007 | Saint Barts
We got up at 7 to get the boat ready. It was such a beautiful anchorage we hated to leave but by 9 Kelp Fiction was coming around Saint Martin and it was time to head out. Cindy had done an amazing job sewing up the bimini, it looked like new. When we inquired Fred said that they didn't go ashore for dinner. Sure Fred.
We had a nice couple/three hour sail over to Gustavia in Saint Barts. I always like to anchor in the more remote spots but between the 5 of us we decided to move straight into Gustavia as we needed to get south. We passed the island Ill Fourchue and Anse De Colombier (a bay on the northwest side of Saint Barts) and both looked lovely.
As we came into Gustavia Bay we noticed a whole much of kids racing small sailboats. Some of them were real hams and spent more time entertaining us than sailing. We also saw a turtle swimming around the anchorage which is always a good sign.
The anchorage in the fairly open bay outside of Gustavia is pretty crowded. A lot of the boats look like they are rooted for the summer. After surveying the place we decided that the north side of the bay looked least crowded and swelly. Traveling with friends on a mono gets you a lot more tuned into the swell in a place.
As we drove through the north side of the anchorage I noticed that the place was pretty tightly packed with mooring balls. I didn't really know what the mooring ball rules were here as the cruising guide didn't say much about it. I noticed an odd hole in the middle of the mooring field. After a quick pass Hideko and I decided to try to fit in.
We anchored and set on a short scope. Even snugged up we were probably liable to get a bit close to some of the other boats if the wind shifted greatly. No predicted but you never know. I jumped in to look at things underwater.
Ah ha! No wonder there was a hole in this exact spot. Right off our bow was a beautiful, perfect mooring. It had a cracked ball full of water sitting on the bottom but otherwise idyllic. I hauled the mooring up and Hideko tied us off. Now we were really set! It would have been a hassle to bring the anchor up at this point so we just left it down as it would be inoperative for our stay.
Fred, Cindy and Jill came along right about then. I love watching Fred motor through an anchorage. The people who owned Kelp Fiction prior to Fred and Cindy we named the "Aets". The Aets made a whole in the top of the Amel dodger to allow the helmsman to stand up and see out. Fred refers to this addition as the Aets Hole. Watching him cruise by with his head sticking out of it always makes me smile. Fred anchored on the north side but a ways out.
As Kelp Fiction got settled Hideko and I hopped in the dinghy and headed in to town to clear in. The inner Gustavia harbor is immaculate. It is by far the cleanest port I have found in the Caribbean. There are large walls set up for stern to docking all around the harbor and the center is full of tightly spaced moorings that boats tie up to bow and stern. The effect is something like a parking lot at a shopping mall, but more, say, nautical. Cute little shops and bistros line the quay and the hills above. It is picturesque to say the least.
We cleared in and the staff were very professional and courteous. When I asked if we could come into the harbor they said sure and told us to tie up along side right up front. Wow. During high season there would be a row of 150 footers waiting to go stern to in that much space. As much as I hated to give up our nifty re-floated mooring spot we couldn't pass the offer up. We zipped back to the big boat and moved into Saint Barts.