Exploring St Kitts, Pre-Lockdown

As the title implies, we were going to spend quite a bit of time in St Kitts. But we didn’t know that yet, so we were excited to see as much of the island as we could in the time we had. Kraken had rented a car the day before to take care of some logistics, so we extended the rental for a day and piled in with them for a Day of Adventure, after a short dinghy ride around the corner to the marina.

The protected anchorages on the island are all on the east end of the island, which is a bit out of the way. So we had a little time to check out the artistic, and power-redundant, street lights.

Our first stop was the Brimstone Hill Fortress, which you may remember from our previous post about anchoring under its shadow. The park itself smells much better, and the view’s not bad either.

We were super amused by some of the educational displays inside the fort.

The road in and out also bears special mention. It’s super windy, mostly one car wide, and has signs before the really hairpin turns reminding you to honk. You definitely feel like this could be the way you die.

We tried to stop at a countryside restaurant for lunch, but we tried two places and they were both closed. So, with heavy hearts and growly bellies, we headed back to the cruise ship food court.

The island is not all quite as landscaped as most of this post. There are plenty of roadside stalls, seedy bars, and hand-written protest signs. A good half of the cars have some kind of religious slogan on the back.

(It also seems to be traditional for the taxis and buses to be named and decorated.)

But this was tourist day, so we were going to see the pretty parts. The next stop would be Romney Manor, home of the Carib Batik factory. They give a nice tour and explanation of the process – they paint details on the fabric with wax, then dye it, and the wax protects the covered area. Repeat once per color. But we were more entranced with the grounds, and their wonderfully friendly population of trash gremlins.

For our final tourist-trap of the day, we stopped in at Fairview Great House, which has lovey gardens that we entirely forgot to take pictures of, and is somehow affiliated with the Shipwreck rum distillery. We’d actually stopped by earlier looking for lunch, but their onsite restaurant was in the process of closing in honor of the pandemic. They promised us bread pudding later, though, so we legged it back before closing time. After a ritual hand-washing, they poured us tasters of a some quite pleasant flavored rums. However, the promised bread pudding was nowhere to be found. As a consolation prize, they offered us rum cake, which turned out to be mostly a gingerbread-style cake with some coconut cream rum poured over the top. I liked it almost enough to forget about the bread pudding; Jazz was despondent. Special mention for their mango rum, which was Jazz’s first time enjoying a tropical flavored rum enough to buy a bottle.

With (some of) our bellies nice and full of dessert, we turned our attention to dinner, and found a nice-looking place called Poinciana in Frigate Bay, the part of town where the ritzier locals hang out. The food was good but not really notable except for these excellent zucchini noodles. Zoodles! Jazz had missed zoodles, what with the kitchenaid and its spiralizer not fitting on the boat.

The next morning, we sailed the boat over to Basseterre to do some shopping. Remember, we still think we’re going to be here for a couple of days at most, so we’re taking in all the visuals, the towering green volcanoes in both directions and the relatively calm, protected bay-water.

We anchored in Rolly Basseterre around lunch time, so we stopped at our favorite food-court Indian restaurant again. At their recommendation, we tried the pani puri, and they were excellent. Jazz said “Oh, that’s what these things are called, I used to eat these all the time…” It was my first experience with the little puff-balls and it will not be my last. (Chutney’s remains open during quarantine, but only for take-out. The adjacent bar is closed.)

We stopped in at the nail salon, and in a portent of what was to come, the staff was all wearing surgical masks, and the news reel playing was all about the coronavirus.

But life seemed fairly normal outside the empty cruise-ship terminal. The full selection of bootleg DVDs was ready and available.

And fishermen were collecting bait-fish from the side of the dinghy dock.

(See the rocks those birds are sitting on? That whole channel is full of big rocks, just a foot or so under the water. Your propeller is safe if you hug the dock all the way in. But there’s always a boat at the end of the dock, which leaves just enough space to squeeze your dinghy between it and the “welcome rock” on the other side.)

We got back on the boat, groceries in hand, and had a nice sail back to White House Bay, with anchor down in plenty of time to enjoy a lovely sunset.

2 comments

  1. Andrew, I have enjoyed your sailing posts, most recently the one about recovering that motorized dingy and the tense negotiation with the owner, the mention of salvage law, &c.

    My wife, Rhonda and I have taken our grandkids out to Marblehead Harbor, Massachusetts recently in our 17 ft. trailer boat. They like the low tide muddy beach hunts for tiny crabs.

    My boating here in Mass. is strictly close to shore, Boston Harbor Islands, and the islands in Salem Sound.

    1. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the stories! It’s funny, we have so little tidal change here that it barely even registers. We dropped anchor yesterday in 5 feet of water, and didn’t bother looking up whether that was high or low tide. So, no low tide crab-hunting for us.

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