Merry Christmas Family and Friends,
Greetings from s/v Corcovado in St. Martin, Eastern Caribbean. This year we’ve enjoyed visits from old friends and made new ones. The island, a street corner for boats from Europe, Africa, South American and of course the US, offers a cross culture of opinions and personalities.
Sun-downers at Barnacles, the local cruiser’s bar, is where we always find someone with answers to boat questions and tales of adventures from afar.
The Yacht Club’s happy hour is for mixing with locals, tourist and Bill practicing his Dutch. We love sitting on its deck to ooh and ahh as megayachts, sailboats and fishing boats pass through the bridge, giving glimpses of all kinds of sea-faring lives.
But our favorite is Karacters, the best beach bar ever. Jazz and tapas overlooking Simpson Bay every Friday night with candle lit tables, warm breezes and toes in the sand. We work off the great food with waves lapping at our feet as we pass hotels, cottages and villas lining the shore, on the mile long walk back to our dinghy tied to the dock
In the spring, we sailed in calm winds to St. Barth for a quiet few days in a cove. When the next harbor filled with two- hundred foot sailboats we were totally caught off guard. The famous Bucket Races were on. Since these vessels arrived from around the world to participate, filling the anchorage around us, we decided to stay a few extra days and enjoy the parade as they came and went each morning, looking to impress all with crews of thirty or more wearing matched sets, standing tall on deck.
We watched huge sails billow and flail as they rounded the marks and fought for first place. We dined in fine wharf side restaurants holding our breath as the captains returning from the race, maneuvered through the tightly packed docks, dropping anchors off their bows then backing in stern too, between other twenty or thirty million dollar yachts with hardly room for fenders between them. I think docking these vessels is probably more telling than racing. We loved the exciting few days of unexpected entertainment.
We headed out for St. Kitts as the sun rose over Gustavia, leaving the crews and owners of the fancy racers behind. When we rounded the northern headland
of St. Kitts, I had tears in my eyes.The northern coast has tall mountain peaks in the clouds that tumble into the water with pastures and grass like New England. I became so homesick, if they had a good airport I would have taken the first flight back. Fortunately, the beaches and bays in the south are beautiful and we stayed far longer than expected.
Nevis was a delightful prize with a lovely downtown and I wonder why mostcruisers neglect these two lovely places.We plan to head that way again, as soon as Corcovado is dropped back in the water after another refit. No one warned us about these refits when we thought about cruising. They surely weren’t in our budget.
With all the unexpected excitement we experienced in St. Barth I think Anguilla has them beat. . Their national Anguilla Day supplies more action. The round the island race is for locally made boats and the whole island becomes involved. The boats have one huge sail and people sit in the boat’s bottom to act as ballast. The non-sailing locals decorate two freighters in banners of island colors with bandstand on board and, of course, giant speakers.
They play music and dance as the freighters follow the racing boats around the island, cheering them on. This is an event for everyone not just the rich, and I think they had a lot more fun, we did.
Of course, the year would not be complete without a trip to the states to see family, but dragging Mom around the country seemed to have pooped her out. It’s been a few months and I wonder if she’s recovered.
We’re closing this year with plans for more adventure. We’ll see how far along that list we get when we look back next Christmas and recollect.
Happy New Year to all.