22 March 2013 | Charlestown, Nevis, 17’08.14N 62’37.90W – Whitehorse Bay, St Kitts, 17’15.03N 62’39.49W
As a child you probably drew many desert islands and read about them in far fetched tales such as Robinson Crusoe or Treasure Island. Central to the island would be a smoking volcano; this would be surrounded by impenetrable rain forests where old ruins occasionally peaked out of the dense flora and fauna. Around the outside would be a couple of broken down forts, complete with cannons and there would be beaches, make of rock, ideal for wrecking boats, and sand, ideal for landing them. As an adult you could take this map and simply write on the bottom “Welcome to Nevis”.
Nevis gave up many of its delights easily and the most surprising of these were the green monkeys. These little critters are brilliant and Iain asked Fiona many times if she’d like to have one on the boat, every time she retorted that having one monkey on board was enough. Their favourite trick is to sit in fruit trees that overhang the road and munch on the ripening fruit. When the said fruit is finished they wait for a truck or car to pass by and then drop their quarry. The resulting clang or thud clearly gives them heaps of amusement and gives the driver a serious fright. The form of transport that they’d never come across before however were the Ruffian scooters and so we survived without sight or sound of any flying fruit as we scooted around the island.
One place that we couldn’t take the trusty scooters was seriously off-road where we hoped that we’d stumble upon some of the Ruins of the old plantation houses and sugar factories. We set off early doors with Willie & Irene from Quaver and headed into the hills. Within a couple of miles we’d come across a gatehouse where nature was taking over, if there is a gatehouse then there must be a house somewhere. Further up we walked and the path became smaller and smaller. Our persistence was rewarded as we found The Pinney Plantation House.
The Pinney Plantation House was the grandest building on the island, 3 stories high and set with magnificent views down into Pinney’s bay where Ruffian was moored. We could only imagine the opulence of having servants cooing to your every wish whilst you sat drinking your rum punch on your veranda. We also found the source of the money with lots of discarded industrial paraphernalia scattered around including some huge steel kettles which were used to boil and reduce the sugar cane juice. Times have changed and moved on but the rich few will clearly mourn those times.
After having a long hot and dusty walk, Nevis gave us the greatest if surprises. Nevis is a volcanic island and consequently parts of the island are superheated, some of these parts are lucky enough to be cooled by streams and the streams carry the heat down to the sea. We happened across one of these red hot streams where the water flows at over 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Socks and shoes were quickly discarded and we paddled in water that opened our pores and cleaned us like we have never been cleaned before. As you could imagine, with the state of personal hygiene on Ruffian, the stream flowed in clear and out a rather nasty murky colour but the crew of Ruffian were now squeaky clean.
Our time on Nevis was also super super social. With Mad Fish & Chewsy already in the anchorage we’d also been joined by Quaver and there was a special occasion in the offing on Quaver. Willie’s big day was upon us and it was time for cake and presents. Iain, as ever, got busy with a needle and thread producing yet another bag and Irene got busy with her cake making skills. Not only did she manage to produce a delicate light fluffy iced sponge but she’s also created a sailing scene on it. Quick as a flash Fiona identified Quaver sailing along, as there was a candle out of place and Iain, in an amazing piece of lateral thinking, identified the big lump of icing as the water spout they’d happened across on the way to Nevis.
So with the child’s desert island of Nevis explored and its delights discovered we have once again moved on. Nevis’s sister Island of St Kitts is a massive 6 miles away and we hope that she’ll give up her delights just as easily.
There is occasional rain in the Caribbean and it is usually accompanied by happy rainbows and little aquatic Leprechauns.
Nature is taking a while to takeover the sugar plantations, but takeover it will.
Larry gets ideas way above his station.
Ruffian sitting outside Charlestown under yet another volcano.
Iain finally gets Fiona to surrender. It only took a 400 year old cannon.
Ahhh soaking tired feet in the volcanic hot springs.
Iain completely agreed with the local graffiti in the bath house.
Wow. There are fish out there. The local fishermen show us how it’s done.
They say that when you can see the top of the volcano Nevis looks like a sombrero.
Devastation at a fort built in 1702. Anybody from the National Trust would have apoplexy.
Fiona rocks on her scooter. Long, long downhills really help things.
Monkeys are so very, very cool and are everywhere. If I had a million dollars, I’d buy you a monkey. Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?
It’s someone’s birthday and so it’s bag making time.
Happy birthday Willie.
Here’s looking at you kid.
Some of the plantation houses would have been truly amazing in their day, but require some serious TLC to restore them to their former glory.