January 1, 2003
New Years With Amie
It was strange and sad to see Nate and Sandy
go, but it was also really great to have Amie still here to
distract us! Last time she came for a visit, she got the short
end of the stick as vacations go. We had been so busy trying
to get ready to leave the docks for good that we didn't leave
when she visited at all. So this time she got a carte blanche
vote on where she wanted to go. Without a hesitation she knew-
it was Saba. One of our favorite islands- regardless of the
Nate and Sandy were on their way back to
the US, and Amie, Curt and I were on our way to Saba! We had
a great sail, Amie got lots of sleep, and we made it to the
little volcanic island by late afternoon. You may remember
that we visited this island when Gus visited us last June,
and the mooring system hasn't changed since then. It's a steep
island, with not even one beach to speak of, but rather, sheer
rocky cliffs all the way up. The island is nearly completely
round, and so there isn't even a finger of land to afford
some protection from the weather. But Saba's underwater marine
park is strictly guarded, and so they prefer you pick up a
mooring. They're situated rather far offshore, and it's bit
strange- like being anchored out in the middle of the sea!
And unfortunately for us, the winter brought northerly swells,
making things just that much more rolly.
After a long night fighting with our mooring,
we were still excited to go ashore. But darn that island if
it doesn't make you work really hard to enjoy it. The spot
we would normally beach the dinghy was being pounded by the
northerly surf and completely dangerous. So instead, we traversed
around the corner, braving the elements, to make it to their
only little harbor. There, we caught a cab ride to the bottom
of the trailhead that leads to the tippy top of Saba (last
time we were here with Gus, we learned the hard way how far
it is just to hike up to the first town called Bottom!). It
was a short hike in timelength, but a killer on the lungs!
It takes about an hour and a half to climb all the way to
the top, and it just keeps getting steeper and steeper. But,
it was absolutely worth every step! We hiked through rainforest
past leaves that were bigger than our whole body, and pushing
vines out of the way to keep moving forward. By the time we
got to the top, the clouds were starting to cover the tip
where we were, and it was bizarre to see the line of fog where
we were, settling atop the island like a sombrero. All around,
we could see ocean forever, and watch the gusts of wind move
across the water that we can't see while we're sailing. Tiny
little specs of boats made their way from one spot to the
other across the sea- moving so slowly it hardly seemed they
were moving at all.
We made it back to the Force Five with just
enough time to try and fit in a little snorkel before dusk.
They're famous for their diving, and Curt swore that even
just snorkeling last time with Gus was nothing short of amazing.
Like swimming in an aquarium. And lucky us, on the way over
to the spot we were headed toward, we heeded another boat's
waving arms and went over to see if they were okay. They merely
wanted to offer us the excess tuna they'd caught that day!
Maybe five or six pounds of it- far more than we could even
eat! Perhaps it was a good thing that the visibility was poor
that afternoon- because we had a lot of tuna to barbecue.
After yet another long night unwinding Force
Five off the mooring, and having it thump endlessly on our
hull, and trying to wedge ourselves in a corner to dampen
the rolling- we were ready to shove from fair Saba. It was
New Year's Eve, and Amie had another place she wanted to see
back in Saint Martin- one we'd wanted to visit and hadn't.
A bay called Grand Case, the culinary center of the French
side of the island.
It's a quaint spot. A long beach lined with
fine restaurants and amazing food. Amie and I clamored ashore
to make reservations at a spot she'd been told of, a restaurant
called Rainbow. We were in luck- they could take the three
of us. We returned for our reservation that night at 9pm and
it was such an incredibly special treat for us to put on nice
clothes, and have such a decadent meal. I'd forgotten what
it was like! At eleven o'clock, a small fireworks show started
off the beach, and as the three of us walked back to the boat
along the sand at midnight, the sky came alive again with
even more fireworks from Marigot, Oyster Pond, and across
the channel on Anguilla. It was a perfect way to ring in 2003.
Her plane left the next day at 3pm, so we
had enough time to grab lunch at one of the more relaxed barbecue
restaurants on the waterfront. But of course, when the time
came for her to leave, it feels like you've had no time together
at all. There was so much more to talk about, and so much
more I didn't get to tell her about. Before I knew it she
was off in a cab, headed back to Orlando.