The Beautiful and Skinny St Barts

The arrival of the new year, had us yearning for a new destination and so we pulled anchor and set sail for St. Barths on Jan 2. We had spent a fun filled New Years Eve with great friends, new and old, in Sint Maarten. The last evening of 2016 was spent with the crews from Toodle-oo, Serendipitous, Kinship, Badgers Sett and TiSento. We had an excellent indian meals at Lol’s and sat in the harbour directly beneath the fireworks in Simpson Bay Lagoon. A fine show it was, they were directly overhead. IN fact, the Dutch Coast Guard had politely asked us to relocate earlier in the day to avoid any mishaps. Poor little Filbert was not pleased and spent the evening below deck. The next day fortunately was pure relaxation for everyone and we took the time to explore our map and set a course for St Barths.

Fireworks
Fireworks
New Years Eve group
New Years Eve group
Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Snoozing Cat
Snoozing Cat

We decided on St. Barthelemy, otherwise known as St. Barts. Located 20 nautical miles south east of St Martin, it’s generally an easy and pleasant day sail. We were up early and Al headed into customs who opened at 7 for clearance papers, but the cashiers office didn’t open until 8, which left us scrambling for the 8:15 bridge opening. We made it and got underway. Our sail was somewhat into the wind and the seas were busy, so once again we enjoyed a wet and salty trip. In 30º C however this is not a problem. Filbert immediately keens into the fact that we’re getting ready for a sail and is first up on deck, under the dodger, curled into a deep, content snooze for the entire duration, which was all of four hours. He’s also been snoozing out on a deck a little which is a sure sign he has become very comfortable. The wind was on the nose so we tacked often to make it into the port of Gustavia. Dodging the many megayachts along the way was a great source of amusement and rather fascinating.
As we neared Gustavia, the capital of St. Barths, we were completely blown away by the amount and the size and variety of yachts around Gustavia. St. Barths is a popular destination for the mega yacht crowd, the New Years Eve celebration is well renowned and many famous and rich folks gather to ring in the new year here. The harbour in and outside of Gustavia, was full of boats, and after some searching for the ideal spot we anchored off the little islands called The Saints. Seabirds were diving for the fish below and a turtle was swimming nearby, a good sign. The water was deep here so we put out all 200 feet of chain and finally found a good set on our third attempt. We put our papers into our knapsack and headed into the inner harbour to check in with customs. The customs officials were very friendly, and although there was a line-up and it was busier than any other office we’ve been to, we managed to get processed in short time. The office also offered free wifi for your duration in Gustavia and they had an excellent selection of books for exchange and water available for cruisers.

Approaching Gustavia
Approaching Gustavia
The Harbour in Gustavia
The Harbour in Gustavia
Ile de Saints
Ile de Saints
There may have been some dancing
There may have been some dancing
Passenger
Passenger
The port of Gustavia reminded me of a European city. It was very clean and attractive with flowers everywhere and red-roofed buildings. The town is built around the inner harbour with a lovely walkway around the harbour that takes you past many restaurants and stores. One thing I noticed about Gustavia right away is everyone was beautiful, thin and well dressed. This is a town that definitely attracts the rich and the storefronts reinforced this even further; names like Cartier, Gucci, Prada and Hermes adorned the shops. As an alligator bag was not on my shopping list, we instead located the grocery that was well stocked and decently priced and reinforced our provisions. We headed back to the boat to ensure our anchor was secure, which it was. And then, we finally got to go for a swim! We have missed swimming so much, and my diving skills were getting rather rusty. The cavorting of the seabirds, the many yachts around us and the lovely sunset kept us entertained and we had a relaxing first evening in Gustavia.

Exploring

St. Barts has a long colourful history, and due to its strategic location in the lesser Antilles, made it a desirable location to the Swedes, Spanish, French and British who fought over it for a couple of hundred years. It was a refuge to pirates, “Montbars the Exterminator” the most famous of them. The Swedes made it a free port and it remains so today. It is in part the reason St Barts thrived throughout history. The street names reflect the history of the place and make for an interesting place to explore.

The next day we headed for Anse du Grand Galet, otherwise known as Shell Beach and once you’ve set foot here it’s easy to understand the name. The entire beach is made up of shells, with a soft rolling surf and a lovely restaurant. We headed back into the heart of Gustavia to find a coiffure, because Al needed a haircut. He found one and although she spoke no English and he no French, the results were impressive. I asked him what he said to her, and he said ‘short’. I spent my time seeking out a good ice cream shop while Al got his hair cut. We had a gelato to cool down and watched all the beautiful people go by.

Shell Beach
Shell Beach
Shell Beach - Shells
Shell Beach – Shells
Shell Beach - Al Hanging out
Shell Beach – Al Hanging out
The Streets of Gustavia
The Streets of Gustavia
Haircut - Short
Haircut – Short
The next day we also spent hiking around Gustavia and took a trip to the local airport which is famous for its short runway and challenging approach. A hike up to Fort Gustavia offered a spectacular view of the town and harbour. We could see Ingomar from our perch. She was rolling heavily to and fro and had been since we had arrived. The open harbour and the constant traffic made this particular anchorage very rolly and because of that we decided to haul anchor and seek out a quieter place to spend the night. We had read about Anse de Colombier, a short sail north of Gustavia and so we checked out with the officials, replenished our supplies, hauled anchor and set out for a more secluded bay.

Gustavia Airport
Gustavia Airport
Statue at Gustavia
Statue at Gustavia
Fort Gustavia.
Fort Gustavia.
Whats Up?
Whats Up?
Anse de Colombie was described as the perfect beach and to us it was. Maybe it was because we’d been in the Lagoon too long in St. Martin but this beach was beautiful! There are mooring balls here to protect the seagrass as Anse de Colombia is part of the St. Barts Marine Reserve, so we picked up one close to shore, and got into our swimsuits for a diving competition. Then it was a lovely evening on anchor with a bottle of champagne to celebrate that we had forgotten to drink New Years Eve.

There are beautiful hikes in the area as well, we hiked over to Anse des Flamandes, starting out with a stairway carved in stone from the beach that lead to pretty vistas, diving pelicans and soft white beaches around even curve. When we returned we jumped in the water and had a refreshing swim before heading back to the boat for lunch.

Anse de Colombie
Anse de Colombie
The Beach!
The Beach!
Relaxing
Relaxing
Volcanic Steps
Volcanic Steps
Cactus
Cactus
Beaches
Beaches
Late for Lunch
Late for Lunch
Sign for Tortoise
Sign for Tortoise
Big Tortoise
Big Tortoise
Tess plays photographer
Tess plays photographer
Hike on hills
Hike on hills
All is good
All is good
We had been solo since leaving Sint Maarten but were happy to see TiSento pull in the evening before and Serendipitous and Kinship come the following day. We spent a happy hour aboard TiSento catching up with everyone. Agnes and Bas, from the Netherlands, gave us a tour of their boat and we both came back dreaming of what our next boat would be like.

The following morning we were up early and off for a new destination. We had seen a small part of St Barts but will stop in on the return trip to see more of this beautiful island.

Author: tess

A full-time adventurer, I am sailing our 37-foot Tartan with my husband and kitty, to the Caribbean from Newfoundland while documenting it on our blog, greatbigsail.com

10 thoughts on “The Beautiful and Skinny St Barts”

  1. AFT,

    Pictures are beautiful, represent your location magnificently, esp the aquamarine water, the pale blue skies, matching your lovely turquoise dress. I loved the tortoise photo, birds, as well as the floral vegetation.
    Omg, not to mention, the shell beaches, glorious, I was thinking like Jac, that the shells would be sharp on your delicate, manicured feet.

    No selfie, this post?
    Al’s hair is stylin, a cross between George Clooney and Cary Grant.
    You both look relaxed and fabulous, darker with each post.
    Love you. Stay safe and happy.

    1. Hey sis! I forgot a selfie this time but actually I had way too many pics to post. A photographers dream here, you would love it! ❤️ ya.

  2. So Shell beach, is it hard to walk on in bare feet. I’m imagining it erodes like beach rock and looses its sharp edges. Very cool, never been on a beach composed of shells.

    Apparently St. Barths is a NYE mecca for celebs as well. Which I guess would constitute rich, beautiful and skinny. Although comparitively we could all be considered rich, beautiful and skinny…depends on who is comparing! You and Al are fitting nicely in these categories these days. Liking the wildlife and fauna pics. The volcanic rock is impressive as well.

    Happy to hear Filly is becoming a seasoned cruiser like his folks guess it was just a matter of time.

    Tomorrow I am heading out to buy yaktracks, yes! An indication of the truly shitty weather you are missing.
    I can see why St. John’s is not a mecca this time of year. Skinny, rich, beautiful hermits might be intrigued though.

    Enjoy it all Ingomar crew this time next year it will all be
    a warm, wonderful memory.

    Xxoo from ice covered, cold Terre Nueve and me and my familiar of course.❤️

    1. Hey Sista! The beach wasn’t as soft as sand but not sharp. It was very awesome and the sound the surf made was mesmerizing.

      We did see some celebs but mainly a lot of very wealthy Russians. I agree we’re all wealthy in the important things- health, family and love.

      I can’t say I’m missing the winter in NL at all. I got my yac tracks at Costco last year, very good deal and effective. Stay warm and kisses & kisses to you and Murph! ❤️

  3. Absolutely gorgeous – Al, you look handsome with your new haircut – Tess, you look wonderful in all your attire! May health and safety be yours as you continue your spectacular adventure on sea and land. God Bless!

  4. Once again “WOW” Amazing stories about an amazing journey.
    You folks are living a life that most could only dream of. Well earned & well deserved.

    Keep the posts coming & continue to enjoy your amazing & scenic journey.

    Wishing you both good health & happy sailing.

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