It was a lively crossing from Saint Martin to Saint Barthelemy. At first the wind and wind waves were a factor, especially since the wind was less than 30 degrees off the nose forcing us to motor-sail. Dan and Melissa on Slow Dancing saw 28 knots. We were behind them and only saw up to 22 knots, but it is normal to have spotty wind like that in the Caribbean. They probably went through a mini squall that missed us. Still, the wind and chop made the trip a “zesty” one, in Dan’s words. After rounding the north side of the island, the wind and chop were no longer an issue, but we did see the 10 foot swells or so that Chris Parker warned us about. After spending the better part of the last two months at dock, Dave and I couldn’t find our sea legs. We didn’t get sick, but we did feel a little woozy.
During my turn at the helm, I watched sailboats pass us heading to St Martin and they nearly disappeared behind the swells. All I could see was their masts, sails, and the top of their dodger or bimini. Someone took a picture of Distant Shores behind swells on their crossing on the ARC (above) and it demonstrates pretty well what I was seeing. We were glad to arrive at Pointe Colombier in St Barth’s. We picked up a mooring ball and settled in to get used to the feeling of being moored. The docks nearly ruined us! We hope we don’t have to dock again for quite some time!
The motion on the mooring felt weird, but our stomachs settled and we enjoyed a British curry that was given to us by Andy, our dock neighbor in Marina Fort Louis. Thank you, Andy, it was tasty. Time to check into the country. Even though St Barth’s is another French island, we were required to check out of customs and immigration at the marina because we checked in there. The dinghy ride from Pointe Colombier to Gustavia, the main town, was a crazy one. Not only was it long, but we went through a cut with huge breaking waves. We had Greg from Mile High Dream with us. We were going with the waves and Dave timed it between them, but we looked back and saw a wave breaking behind us. “Go faster!” I called out. Dave said, “It’s wide open.” My adrenaline was pumping as the race was on. Finally, the wave petered out behind us and we were safe. “That was nuts!!! We are NOT going back that way!” Dave simply said, “We’ll see…” Anyway, we made it to Gustavia relatively dry and checked in on their computers. We decided to walk around town a bit and saw this huge anchor. I made Dave pose there for scale. Look at that chain, too! Holy moly!
Across the street was this cute little church. Dan and Melissa had a couple errands to run – they were here a week ago or so with their guests and knew where to go.
Downtown Gustavia could be described as quaint, but it’s more than that. It’s fairly big and goes up around the bay/harbor. When I say up, I mean up. These streets were San Francisco steep! But the cross streets were level and lined with all kinds of expensive looking shops. We stopped into a car and scooter rental business where Dan and Melissa rented a car last time they were here. Mile High Dream and Slow Dancing rented a Mini Cooper together for the next day and Dave and I rented a scooter. I can’t wait to go explore.
But it was getting late, so we stopped for our sundowners at a dive bar that Greg remembered visiting in 1983. Much of the island changed and became more upscale, but this lone bar still stands as a reminder of earlier times. I was informed that the cut is not usually that bad and dinghying back may be better. I said I’d believe it when I see it, but I’d keep an open mind. Sure enough, the water calmed quite a bit and we cruised right through. I was relieved to be back safely at the boat!