Bareboat Sailing - St. Martin travel blog

The Captain and First Mate prepare for a morning snorkel at Ile...

Compared to the turtles we looked so clumsy wearing all our gear

The colours were more vibrant in the sunny patches

St. Bartelemy, like St. Martin, is an Overseas Collectivity of France, with...

Large cruise ships anchor outside the harbour and shuttle their passengers to...

We dinghied to here from where we moored on the other side...

The private pier area for cruise boat shuttles is marked with yellow...

Gustavia's crowded anchorage partially protected by Les Petits Saints

Gustavia is a pretty harbour with flowering trees and clean white buildings

Swedish Fort Oscar overlooks Gustavia and the harbour

St. Barth's Customs Office was equipped with a computerized registration system

Gustavia seems to be a very popular harbour for luxurious megayachts

The visitor dinghy dock we were supposed to use was very crowded

The private businesses and their docks are across the harbour from downtown

On the downtown side the only place to expand is up the...

From the harbour all roads must go up

Looking for lunch options near the harbour

We were surprised at the volume of traffic on these small downtown...

Le Select had good reviews but looked too noisy on this busy...

We found our third choice on a small, quiet side street --...

Le Pipiri Palace served tasty food in a shady and pleasant atmosphere

The chicken lunch special and the Dorado, €16.00 each, were both filling

St. Barth's Anglican Church was built in 1855 at the end of...

The church's corner stones are volcanic stone from St. Eustatia

A fragrant tree growing in the church's back garden

10 ton iron and wood anchor made in Liverpool, England and discovered...

This 150-yr-old all wooden house is the only remaining one of 10...

Gustavia's historic buildings before restoration

Trying the first key in the dinghy padlock

Bailing out the ankle-deep water before the ride back to Tartane

Cutting off the padlock thanks to the local hardware store owner

Our course to Anse Colombier

Anse Colombier is another peaceful St. Barth's Marine Park

Another interesting day comes to an end

Monday, January 19th -- Ile Fourchue to Anse Colombia via Gustavia

After another unhurried breakfast we discussed the day's plan as we waited for the sun to rise above the eastern ridge wall of the bay. Because we were able to get a mooring ball close to shore we snorkeled the distance from the boat to the cliffs. There were more fish here than we expected, especially in the sunny patches. There were quite a few hard corals too, although some of them, sadly, were quite damaged. After exploring the east side of the bay for 30 minutes or so we swam a long way through the mooring field to the southern cliffs. It was very disappointing -- rocky, cloudy and very few fish -- but worth it because we saw a hawksbill turtle. I lagged behind the others, taking a different route back to the boat across the sand and out further into the deeper water of the bay. I was hoping to see an eagle ray but only saw another turtle below me as it glided effortlessly from behind. Since everyone else was swimming back to the boat it was my cue to follow them. I spotted one more turtle feeding on the bottom before leaving the water.

It was 10:30 -- time to change clothes and motor to Gustavia to check in with Customs and drop off a bag of garbage. (Remember we were only able to moor in the Ile Fourchue Marine Park without first stopping in Gustavia because we purchased the park permits at Oyster Pond before we left.) It was 11:00-ish before everyone was dried, changed and ready to motor to Gustavia. We found a mooring ball in the anchorage to the south of the harbour entrance channel. By 12:30 we had found a dinghy spot (we thought) at one of the piers, had dropped off the garbage (separating out the recyclable metal and glass) and had completed the computerized check in process (where we had to input all the passport info yet again). A gourmet lunch was to be our reward!

Our first choice, Eddy's was not open for lunch and our second choice, Le Select, looked very busy and on a noisy corner near the main street. We were drawn to Pipiri by the posted lunch special and the shady yet open interior. For €16.00 the lunch special was two rotisseried chicken legs, a small vegetable ragu, a small clump of baby greens, a drink and a coffee. I thought it was a little over-priced but I was expecting meals on St. Barth to be. Our captain ordered a salad instead of the special and when the tiny little thing arrived (really just a side salad) we were astounded that it cost more than the special. The waitress tried her best to give us as much service as she could but she was quite busy doing everything three times. That is, she gave us the cheque in Euros but didn't tell us she had a Chip-and-Pin credit card reader (which our friends opted to use instead of cash), returned again with the reader and the cheque in US$ for us, then returned again with receipts for two couples but not us. Finally we had to walk over to the bar to get our change, but our timing was good -- the rain that had been pouring down while we ate had now stopped.

Our girlfriends wanted to shop for gifts for the grandkids so Hubby and I gave ourselves a short tour of the harbour. We arrived back at the dinghy a little before the pre-agreed time -- just in time to save it from damage by a neighbouring fishing boat. Our neighbour was trying to free his rope from under our dinghy's motor by yanking on his mooring rope which was caught in our propellor. Hubby jumped into the dinghy, filled ankle-deep with water, and lifted the motor out of the water to free the rope. I started bailing while the others tried to unlock the dinghy cable with first one key and then the other. We were all sure the lock and key had been checked before using them but mysteriously the key didn't work now. The fellows scurried off to find someone nearby with a bolt cutter and caught the fellow just before he closed up his shop for the day. It was then we realized that this section of the pier was not for dinghies. We should have been docked further down the pier.

Back at the boat we were discussing whether to stay for the night in this busy, noisy anchorage or take the chance of still getting a mooring ball at Anse Colombier at 17:00. Just then a caretaker boat came alongside to let us know that the mooring ball would cost €50.00 for one night!! We motored to Anse Colombier as fast as we could and had no trouble finding a mooring ball. It was a good decision. Anse Colombier is in the Marine Park with no major town directly onshore. It was much quieter and calmer than Gustavia's anchorage.

It was late and all except one of us had eaten a large lunch. We whipped together a lunch-like meal of soup, crackers, cheese, salami, olives, etc. and a large fruit salad. What a day!

Provisioning notes: Today's breakfast finished off the last of the 3 cans of coconut milk, which was ready-to-use out of the can. Next time get cans of coconut cream with no water in the ingredients.

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