As coronavirus loomed on the horizon, we’d discussed sailing directly from St Barts to Antigua while the borders were still open. But the wind wasn’t going to cooperate, so we figured we’d take the journey that presented itself, and follow Kraken down to St Kitts. It was a lovely sail… for me. Jazz and Captain got through it as best they could.
As we passed the west side of the St Kitts, we said hello and goodbye to St Eustatius. I’d been excited to see Saba and Statia (National Geographic regularly films underwater there, some of the best diving in the world), and it was already clear that this would almost certainly not be happening (Jazz NB: to Andrew…Jazz held out hopes for more of the Caribbean until her way-too-late come-to-god reckoning, much ‘sad’ was to be had then).
As our destination came into view, we watched a coastal front appear and start dropping rain. There was no getting around it, so we put up the glass and prepared to get a little damp. It was a little bit squally, but nothing our brand new rigging couldn’t handle.
And then we were past it, and everything was dry again. Oh, island weather.
We continued down the coast a little ways, but it started to get dark before we got to Basseterre, so we decided to anchor at Sandy Point, underneath Brimstone Hill. And we were treated to a lovely sunset.
And then we were treated to the Brimstone. I swear, I have never smelled an anchorage that rivaled Sandy Point. This was like low tide on top of a sewer grate, except the tide and the sewer had both died several months ago and had come back to haunt the place as polter-stanks. It was not good. It was bad. But it was also dark, and we were still a two-hour motor away from the next stopping point, so we grimaced and bore it, and tried to sleep.
Morning showed us a pleasant-looking cliff side and a last glimpse of Statia as we hauled away from the demon sewer with all possible alacrity.
We arrived in Basseterre and dropped anchor, and found it to be a terrible anchorage for a different reason. Sandy Point had at least been flat, but Basseterre had a roll perpendicular to the wind that put even St Barts to shame. We dropped Dinkus and headed into customs, and then to immigration, which are both located in the middle of a cruise-ship-shop complex, the St Kitts Marina Mall. Which was completely dead and empty. St Barts had been in a bit of a strange state as we left, but I think this was the point at which the severity of what was to come really hit home for us.
But we checked in without any hitches, and we found some groceries at a local store, and we stopped for lunch at what turned out to be a food court kiosk. We were super skeptical, but the reviews turned out to be accurate: Chutneys had really excellent Indian food. Traffic was down, but businesses had not yet closed, so everyone was super excited to have customers, and we got excellent service from the food court bar, and gelato samples that magically appeared at our table with Styrofoam panache.
But the anchorage was just not tenable, so we sailed away from Basseterre, a trip we would end up making many more times. We anchored behind Kraken in White House bay, poured ourselves a sundowner, and tried to decide what to do next.