Born of the Sea

Preparing for a phased retirement on the sea. Muirgen (Gaelic for 'born of the sea')

14 May 2024 | Union Island, SVG
10 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
09 May 2024 | Tobago Cays, Grenadines
07 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
05 May 2024 | Mustique, Grenadines
02 May 2024 | Baliceaux, Grenadines
01 May 2024 | Bequia, SVG
22 April 2024 | Saint Vincent
15 April 2024 | Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia
08 April 2024 | Saint Lucia National Parks
06 April 2024 | Rodney Bay / Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
31 March 2024 | Sainte Anne, Martinique
13 March 2024 | Iles des Saintes
10 March 2024 | Deshaies, Guadeloupe
03 March 2024 | Monserrat to Guadeloupe
02 March 2024 | Monserrat

St Kitts

27 February 2024 | St Kitts
Donna Cariss
We had a 7am start on Saturday (24th February), for the passage to St Kitts. We raised the mainsail while attached to the mooring buoy and had the foresail out before we had cleared the reefs around the anchorage. The wind picked up as we crossed the short stretch of water between Ile Fourchue and St Barts and then dropped while we were in St Barts' wind shadow. Once beyond the coast, with 16 knots apparent wind, we put a reef in the main, to sit the boat up a bit, making the ride comfortable with no loss of speed. The wind direction varied between a beam reach and 65 degrees, with swell around 1 to 1.5 metres, making for great sailing. We were making great progress. At 1030 hours, the cruise ship, Vista, passed about 1.8 miles off, going in the other direction. Once clear, she turned to starboard and passed behind us. We were on port tack again so, with a catamaran coming towards us, we turned to port to allow it to stand on. However, he kept following our moves and eventually passed about 20 metres away, giving us a big friendly wave. Obviously he was oblivious to the collision regulations and just wanted to say hello. On approach to St Kitts, we hit 2 fishing pots and narrowly missed 3 others. They were impossible to see until the last minute in the swell and the sunshine. Luckily the ones we hit didn't catch and bobbed up behind us eventually. At 1356, just as I was in the heads, the wind around the top of the island disappeared and the sails collapsed. I leaned forward to switch the engine battery on for Pete, so he could motor and drop the sails. 10 minutes later, the wind veered 180 degrees and hit us at 12 knots and looking backwards, we could see the lines where the wind left and then returned, down the west of St Kitts. We anchored at 1423 at Sandy Ground and went ashore in the dinghy to clear in. We sneaked up on the immigration officer, who was watching our boat through binoculars. She was extremely friendly and helpful. We had omitted to complete the APIS online forms but she was already aware that Noonsite don't tell you about this document. She provided her laptop to us and walked me through completing the form and the spreadsheet and she called the customs official to come out and to clear us in. He arrived 15 minutes later, in sweatpants and a t-shirt, saying we had got him out of bed. At weekends he is only on call, not in the office all day. He had our SailClear notification and had been looking out for us that morning. I have never met such a laid back, open and friendly customs official. He appeared to be in his late twenties and was happy to chat about their local beers and what to see on the island. However, he still charged us US$21 to clear in! The whole experience was a good one and I am glad we chose to clear in there, rather than Basse Terre. At 1552 hours we were on our way again, as Pete wasn't happy with the rocky ground we were anchored in and we motored the 9 miles southeast to Basse Terre. There we were met by a big, old dolphin, that guided us into the anchorage and circled around while we dropped the anchor. It was lovely but also sad, as he seemed so lonely and wanted to interact with people and boats. We watched the cruise ships depart Basse Terre, at which point the swell came in a bit but not uncomfortably so. It did get a bit roly during the night when the wind died and we turned side onto the swell, hence I heard the cockerels crowing at 2.30am.
Next morning, we motored the couple of miles to Friar's Bay, with me showering, in the cockpit, on the way, for a bit of privacy. There was a lovely beach, backed by woods and a large pond, so we went ashore to the Shipwreck Bar for lunch and free wifi. Out the back, they feed the green monkeys so we went for a look. The waitress said it was too early for them but I spotted one sitting in a tree close by. The bay is known for swell and the boat was rolling, so we motored on to the bay just before St Christophe, which is more sheltered. The bottom was rock and sand and the anchor didn't hold at the first attempt but we were second time lucky. There was a large motor yacht at anchor, with a large support ship a hundred metres away from it, which had a helipad and several different tenders on board or alongside. We watched a helicopter land on the pad. There was constant traffic between the 2 boats. Just before dark, a 180 foot, double-masted yacht, with 5 spreaders came in and dropped anchor. It was a classic style and extremely beautiful and elegant. We had a comfortable night at anchor, with no rolling.
First thing next morning it rained and we were treated to a lovely rainbow. We retraced our steps, passed Friar's Beach, to North Frigate Bay, otherwise known as 'The Strip'. Pete wasn't happy about it but I insisted, as there would be wifi there and hopefully a supermarket. The Strip was really just a beach, with wooden bars and restaurants along it, backed by a lake, creating a narrow strip of land but it's the liveliest place on St Kitts. It is nothing like La Manga or the Las Vegas strip! We walked down the road, passing a bar flying a Yorkshire flag and made a note for later, as we were in search of a supermarket. After asking directions several times, we located the smaller one behind the golf course. We also found a cash machine in the lobby of a small hotel, to get some EC dollars. On our way back, we got talking to an old couple from Torronto, Wayne and Donna. They were staying at the Timothy Beach Resort, at the end of the strip and gave us the low down on the area. Pete took the groceries back to the boat and then we headed to Patsy's, with the Yorkshire flag. The wifi here was great; enough for WhatsApp video calls! Lunch was good too. We spent a good deal of time chatting to Jim, aged 58, whose twin brother had died in St Kitts 2 years previously. He was visiting all the bars that they used to go to together. It was getting hot, so we returned to the boat to swim and snooze before heading back to shore to The Dock for happy hour; 3 beers for US$5. Not sure how they make that pay. As we climbed out of the dinghy, it became apparent that one of my flipflops was missing, so for the second time this year I would be barefoot. Pete gave me his flipflops, 3 sizes too big and he walked on the gravel instead. Wayne and Donna were also at the Dock, so we had another chat. The heavens opened and the rain was torrential and prolonged and we had not closed the hatches. Little did I know but Pete had had them wide open while he was preparing tonight's tea. It was a big mop up when we returned and we had to sleep in the saloon due to the wet bedding but at least the floor was now clean and luckily I had swept it that morning too. Although this anchorage is also known for the swell, we didn't rock or roll and had a great night's sleep.
When we awoke next morning, the World's largest cruise liner, Icon of the Sea, which carries 7500 passengers, has neighbourhoods and a rollercoaster on board, was docked at Basse Terre. What a nightmare! There were another 2 ships in, sleeping 3000 and 1500 passengers, so it would be a busy day on the beaches of St Kitts. Time to leave!
Comments
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
Muirgen's Photos - Main
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Photos of Muirgen preparations
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Created 23 June 2017
Photos are limited as the weather was dreadful and was mostly a white out. Photos are from the phone as too wet to take the cameras.
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Created 19 June 2017
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The Beautiful Kvitsoy
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Created 5 June 2017
Weekend with Hommersak Divers at Kvitsoy
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Created 30 May 2017
Mad creatures
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Created 29 May 2017
Getting to Norway and waiting for Donna to fly out
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Created 18 May 2017
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Created 6 December 2016
Buying Muirgen
6 Photos
Created 26 November 2016