Friday morning after a leisurely start we headed off to explore Rendezvous Bluff and Rendezvous Beach in dink. It was interesting to get up close and personal with the Bluff as it drops pretty sharply into the sea … but we failed to find the bat cave we had heard about although came across a few others, but none of them, sadly, were navigable.
We got to Rendezvous Bay to find the only white sand beach on the island – well, it has black volcanic sparkles, but pretty impressive nevertheless. And was our own private beach as it was absolutely deserted! The only downside was the steep slope to pull dink up to get him above the waterline – but we managed after quite a bit of grunting and groaning. With dink safely anchored we wandered around a bit, enjoying the views, and then we went snorkelling around the Bluff….
Still didn’t find the bat cave! Oh well. But we did see some nice fish, including a lone squid, and pretty corals. But both of us got stung a number of times by small jelly fish which were pretty invisible until they got you. Ouch! Apart from that we enjoyed ourselves – even taking time out to take a snorkelling selfie.
Returning to the beach and we had some serious current running against us…. So was a bit of a fight but we eventually got there – that worked off a few calories!!! By now the surf had increased significantly so we quickly rescued dink and pushed out – and it was a bit hairy to say the least…. We dinked back to Morphie and she was, by now, pretty alone in the anchorage. The views of the new buildings on the waterfront look pretty impressive too….
Having relaxed for a little while on board we headed into Little Bay around 3.30 pm as we had to clear out of customs for our departure on Saturday. We completed the paperwork and waited to be asked for some cash – but she didn’t. Not sure why not – could it be British island / British boat / British crew combination???? We didn’t hang around to argue!
Wandering along the waterfront we were pleased to see that Monty’s Bar had opened…. This is being leased by a guy from Blackpool and the end result is pretty good!
While we were enjoying a couple of cold ones, we got chatting to Ronan – who lives and works on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands – and was island hopping with his British / Irish parents in tow. This was their last night of their trip before flying home to the UK and we all enjoyed having some company. As well as us the family were joined by Dr Thomas Christopher who is one of the volcanologists working on the island. He was really informative about the physical nature of the rocks and the magna feeds to the volcano. He had some great shots of him on the volcano’s rim on his phone to show us – and we asked about the safety kit. Basically he says this is just to identify them by if anything happens – the rocks up there waiting to blow are bigger than cars! Apparently around 15 volcanologists get killed every year…. A sobering thought in the pursuit of science.
Thomas was a very engaging and entertaining guy – who owned up that he didn’t have his dreadlocks quite so prominent when he was studying at Cambridge for his PhD! We all had an enjoyable few hours and a bit of a laugh. Ronan is involved with the rugby in the BVIs and has invited us to the BVI –v- Antigua match if we get that far north this season before running south to the ABC islands. Oh yes….definitely sounds like we might!!! Contact details exchanged and we all enjoyed our time together watching the sun go down – then it was time to go back on board for our last night in Montserrat.
Saturday morning we picked up our anchor around 7 am and said a sad farewell to Little Bay, bound for Nevis, 35 miles away. This was a downwind sail – lovely! After a while we passed the Kingdom of Redonda (which used to have a self-appointed king) but is currently uninhabited. In the shallower waters – as we passed Redonda, Richard had two bites on his lure but no takers…. Still waiting for that fish for the freezer!
Well the wind was really very light but the sea was pretty calm – giving us great views of Nevis as we approached. In the end we had a slow leisurely sail – arriving in Charlestown around 2.30 pm, having had to duck to avoid a very large black sleek British-flagged superyacht who was motoring at some speed. Guess when you are that big you can push little ones around eh????
We anchored off the town – such a beautiful spot – and headed in to clear customs. Immediately we set foot on the pier we were sent back to Morphie by the port authority as customs and immigration had closed for the day….and we were in quarantine until morning. Our own fault – didn’t check – it does actually say that they close at 1pm on both Saturday and Sunday in the cruising guide. So we decided to pick up and head further down the coast to pick up one of the many (compulsory) mooring balls off of Pinneys beach. We had a leisurely afternoon and evening on board and an early night having experienced our first Nevis sunset.
Sunday morning and we head into town for 9.00 am ready to clear in. Guess what – they are all running late…. So we took a seat and found that the port has free high speed wifi so not such a bad place to hang out waiting for officialdom! About 10.00 am the customs guy turns up and we go in, with no explanation of course. Nevis use the Sea Clear system – and it is working, but not properly. So a lot of the information we had already input and saved was missing and the guy had to fill the gaps. He was not very keyboard literate and I was itching to get my hands on it…. Of course it all took ages and it would actually have been quicker filling in the forms in triplicate with carbons LOL.
So customs is now done – we are checked in – so we move to immigration next door. This process was very efficient and quick – so just the Port Authority to see now. Mmmmmm…. this guy still hasn’t made it in. So we asked whether we could return later and go into town anyway. Yes, no worries, so we headed off to find an ATM to get some more drinking vouchers admiring some of the historic buildings. Headed back and the Port Authority guy had finally arrived – he’d been to church – but at least he processed us quickly.
At last – all legal – so we head back to Morphie in dink. We then run ashore –and yes the surf is still running so another Hawaii Five O experience – and head in to Sunshines bar. This was absolutely empty… not even any escapees from the nearby Four Seasons resort. Tried Chevys and that was empty too. But the beach was rammed with locals playing netball, volleyball, football, eating / drinking / dancing and playing in the surf. There was also a very cute dishevelled puppy on the beach which would have been the perfect boat dog…. I find these little ones so hard to walk away from!
We ended up going for a long walk along the black volcanic sand beach – enjoying the views of the stunning mountain backdrop and the vista across to St Kitts. Then some other tourists turned up so we headed back to Sunshines and had a couple of beers as the bar was no longer devoid of all life! Have to say, though, the service was a bit surly…. Last year the rasta man – who runs the beachfront section of the bar – had a pet monkey sitting on the counter which you could pet if you wanted. This monkey was very friendly and would jump on your shoulder and play with your hair if you walked too close…. This year, however, he had three little ones sitting on a separate wooden construction with a sign up saying you could have photos taken with them for money. Mmmmmm….. I wondered over to have a look at them and the owner came over to talk to me – and tried to get me to have my photo taken with one of them. I rejected his offer immediately. But that didn’t stop him trying to grab the bigger monkey of the three – who was clearly absolutely petrified of this man and was digging his nails in not to be dragged out and handled. This violent adverse reaction made me flinch and I worried about how he treated them behind the scenes. I certainly did not pay any money to the guy… if people don’t pay him for this service then perhaps he won’t keep them anymore and release them back into the forest. We can only live in hope…
Having left the bar we were chilling on dink when we got chatting to a Dutch family – who live in the Philippines – and who are travelling through the Caribbean for three months on their X-Yacht (which is being shipped back to Europe at the end of their trip). Nice people. Anyway… time to go…. and we are helped back into the water by another couple of tourists. They may have regretted that decision when we all got swamped by a wave breaking over our heads into dink and almost taking the guy out to sea in the surf!!!! Oh dear…. we did shout out Thank You as we motored away. After all the excitement we had a quiet evening on board.
Monday we made water, did more laundry, other boat maintenance jobs and then headed back into town to pick up some provisions – we are very low on soft drinks. So we had a wander around beautiful historical Charlestown and I particularly liked the old-fashioned fire engine! Got some petrol; some shopping; did some more blogging at the cafe that sits at the pier head; and headed back to dink. I absolutely love the view of the waterfront here with the historic buildings against the backdrop of the volcano behind. Stunning!
Back on board and we sat on the transom for the rest of the afternoon taking in some rays and just enjoying the peace and tranquillity of this place. After a tasty steak and salad dinner we had an early night.
Tuesday more boat jobs beckon. But before that Richard runs into town as he wants to send out some emails he’s drafted and I send him off with a small shopping list and settle down to bring the blog up to date. When he came back we scrub Morphie inside and out and gave her a mini spring clean. After lunch we head back into the beach.
Thankfully the surf has reduced and it’s all a bit less stressful getting ashore. The water is very inviting so we have a bobbing afternoon and I love being able to watch Morphie out there all alone with no-one threatening her personal space. Because dink sits on top of a high ridge of sand we don’t leave anything in him while we are in the water…. so I have the waterproof money box tucked under one shoulder strap with dink’s kill switch around the other. Didn’t realise how silly it looked until I sorted out the bobbing selfie photo!
Later on in the afternoon we headed into the beach bar – which was full of passengers from a very small sailing cruise ship enjoying nibbles and drinks (which had come ashore via their huge dinghy). And there were a couple of inebriated locals entertaining them. Very funny…. Then suddenly – they were all gone! And we were left on our own again – and the guitar player regaled us with funny stories and let slip that he played as a session musician for the Rolling Stones in the late 1970s. Reckon he was probably a better player without the copious amounts of rum he had clearly imbibed that afternoon! Later on, back on board, to an evening in the cockpit listening to some random music from the iPod before turning in.
Wednesday and Richard has done engine checks while I’ve tackled more laundry – not sure where it all comes from! While I wrote the blog Richard also cleaned the waterline…. We then headed into Charlestown for the final time to clear out of customs and to get this published. Well – customs accomplished – but would you believe it, this was the day that the whole island of Nevis lost its internet connection!!!! Frustrated to say the least….
We spent our final afternoon in Nevis bobbing off Pinneys beach and visiting Sunshines bar again. Very different experience today – nobody around at all – except for the swarm of bees that we had to run from….into Sunshines. Apparently this is why they call their cocktail “Killer Bees” but I’m not buying it! Back on board for an early night and our final Nevis sunset.
This morning – Thursday – we headed out early to St Eustatius (known as Statia). This is a Dutch island about 28 miles north. We bypassed St Kitts this time although enjoyed the sea views of the magnificent Brimstown Fort that we enjoyed so much last year…..
The sailing was absolutely perfect – 14-17 knots constant and all down wind. Fantastic…..thoroughly enjoyed it.
Arrived into Statia this afternoon and have just cleared in….. Was pretty simple and no money exchanges hands….even though it is actually a bank holiday here today. Great to be back – this was one of our favourite islands. We plan just to chill here for a few days before continuing our passage north.
Bye for now