Friday, June 18, 2010

St. Kitts, Montserrat, Guadeloupe

I finished up my stay in St. Martin with a visit to the Sunset beach bar, where you can get the full jet blast of landing and departing jumbo jets as they fly over the beach and onto the short runway. It was pretty funny to watch the tourists who underestimated this power as they rolled down the beach, getting sandblasted, and then had to swim out 50 ft into the ocean to get their bags and sandals, etc. Repairs were finished up to the roller furling jib, which is back to normal operation.

Now with 3 people and a dog aboard, Alexandra set sail for St Kitts with a strong SE wind. We made it in no time and anchored for the night. I thought I’d get away without clearing in, since I planned to depart in the morning, but I got a lovely visit from their coast guard at 0100 and sat for a boat search. I flashed my old Navy ID and explained I was merely stopping for the night to take a rest and I would be off. The guys decided to let me go instead of escorting me into port.

We spent most of the next day sailing to Montserrat. This was a very interesting island because of its active volcano. Their capital city of Plymouth was destroyed and abandoned by falling ash that began in 2003 and eventually covered most of the town up to the roofs! In the photo you see the 3rd floor above the ash, another photo shows the ash coving the golf course. The southern end of the island with the volcano looks like a desert, while the north end is green and lush. We took a taxi tour as my guidebook recommended and it was well worth it. Much of the volcanic side of the island is off limits. Signs that read “You are now entering Zone B” made me think of the movie “District 9.” Our guide took us to his home and picked ripe mangos and breadfruit for us out of his own trees. I don’t like mangos, but the breadfruit is excellent. Chopped up it is the size of 4 potatoes and similar looking, but the taste once cooked is like a boiled bread dumpling. We added an onion and made a wonderful stew that night in the pressure cooker. Luckily, they hang off the trees on every corner, and there are more than anyone on the islands can eat. Cheap eating!

The next day, on the 12th, we had mostly no wind and when we did, it died and shifted 180 degrees. I hate it, but I had to (chose to) motor for a long way. We arrived in Guadeloupe. Feeling a bit cramped on the boat, we all decided to take a break from each other and just take a hike for the day. I went and found some internet, and then hitched up to the Volcano. The hike (first two photos) from the parking lot was pretty long and steep, but at the top was a rocky volcanic peak and a crater, masked in a rain cloud. There was also a vent which was venting sulfuric steam and gasses. Crazy. It was so nice and cool up there. Then after a hike back down you get hot, but there’s a wonderful bath at the bottom which is slightly warm from the volcano. Excellent hike. Funny enough, I ran into both my crewmembers on the trail and we all enjoyed the pool together at the bottom. Early morning of the 16th, we departed for Dominica. I’m putting together a little movie for my next post with clips of Dominica.

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