Saturday, June 8, 2002
St. Kitts, and the Passage to Ballast Bay
We woke up for a leisurely morning and headed
into the marina for adventure (and fuel, actually). We had
seen advertisements for St. Kitts' "Port Zante
a brand new port facility of twenty five beautifully landscaped
acres of land, reclaimed from the sea, where you will find
duty free shops, spacious plazas, elegant restaurants, and
wonderful marina." We arrived to find barges, tractors,
the ruins of a cruise ship dock mowed over by a hurricane,
and the marina was four cement walls encompassing a small
area where you could tie-up your boat. We were immediately
approached by a cab driver trying to offer us a ride to the
customs office and a three hour tour of the island. Once on
our way, we learned he had seen a new boat (us) anchor last
night and watched us dinghy in this morning, so had been waiting
for us at the dock. He seemed quite pleased that he had been
so fastidious in keeping us in his crosshairs. Curt and I
were kind of creeped out, but also noted there must not be
a lot of work on the island.
The tour took us by the local open-air market
where locals peddled their produce, the Carib Brewery, and
the immaculate Caribelle Batik and Gardens. We saw monkeys
(in a cage on the side of the road) and rainforests, as well
as Fort Charles and Brimstone Hill. The landscape of the island
was beautiful, and the views from Fort Charles captivating.
To get to all of these places, we drove through many towns
on the island and were both taken by both the level of poverty
and reminders of hurricanes past everywhere. Many of the homes
are really like shanties, with corrugated metal roofs and
dirt floors. Folks sat on the side of the road watching traffic
go by. A group of women sat on a porch putting rollers in
each other's hair. Laundry hung on lines from a window to
a nearby tree. There would've been a bit of charm to it I
suppose, if we had noticed anyone who might've been smiling.
But everyone seemed quite stoic as they stared at us (anonymous
tourists) in the windows of the taxi going by.
We were equally as glad to've seen the island
as well as to return to our dinghy when the tour was over.
While Curt filled up our tank with fuel, I squared away the
fee for using their dock. Though I've begun wearing a silver
band on the fourth finger of my left hand, a man still approached
me for a chat about where I'm from, where I'm going, our boat
etc. I'm not sure if he was just being friendly or forward,
but it left me feeling even more pleased to leave Basseterre
sooner rather than later.
We had consulted our cruising guide in hopes
of finding a place more remote down-island and chose an anchorage
called Ballast Bay. We were rewarded with a deserted stretch
of beach with only two other boats at anchor. The landscape
looked like we could have been in a California desert, and
the sea here was calm and cool. The sun was shining and we
felt like we could once again have a quiet and easy afternoon.
Curt went off to clean the bottom of Force Five, while I popped
in a CD and cleaned up below. I was enchanted with a man passing
the time fishing off the rocks of the shore with a net as
the sun went down. It made for a beautiful setting. I duly
scorned myself when I realized he was on the same boat we
had thought "sinister" the day before in Basseterre.
A spoiled American I am indeed.