So we left you in St. Kitts with our broken backstay, and dare I say we were a touch optimistic about it getting fixed the Friday afternoon of our arrival. But! all was not lost, because I consulted our cruiser’s guidebook and there was mention of a fellow by the name of David who owned Indigo Yachts on St. Kitts, somewhere in the town where we had anchored. Directions, we have learned, are always vague down here. We wandered around awhile before we stumbled into what I thought was someone’s backyard garage (I do not mean that to be offensive I really thought we were trespassing), and voila, we found David who had a friend in an old sugar factory who could fabricate steel! He thought someone could make us a steel rod that would work as a temporary fix, but they wouldn’t be around until Monday morning. In the meantime, we packaged up the broken bits, stuck them in a box and ran around looking for a FedEx office where we could ship the part back to Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten (ironically where we had just fixed our broken autopilot). In the box, we stuck a return air bill to St. Lucia where we hoped we would arrive around the same time has the repaired hydraulic. We also hoped that our fabricated steel rod that some guy in a sugar factory was making would suffice to keep our mast sticking straight up in the air while we sailed the next 200 miles. We chose not to think too long and hard about this and dropped the FedEx package before we came to our senses and changed our minds. This trip has included an extensive tour of the Caribbean FedEx offices – so far we have seen 5. Thank god I’m travelling with a retired FedEx pilot.
David and Selma at Indigo Yachts were so unbelievably kind and helpful and the steel rod fit like a charm. We were astounded at how inexpensive it was to have this part made and how above and beyond they went to help get it done in a timely fashion. They are good people and we hope to return to take them out to dinner on our sail north.
While dealing with the backstay was exciting enough, unfortunately my dad was called away on family matters to Seattle so I had to ride solo for the weekend in St. Kitts. I occupied myself cleaning our boat and exploring the island. I hit up some beaches and bars on St. Kitts and met a couple on the neighboring boat who had me over for cocktails. It was a pretty great weekend! I’m really getting into this cruising lifestyle…
Monday afternoon my dad landed and I sailed around to the airport to pick him up in the dinghy.
The next morning, we set sail for Nevis. We cruised into the harbor and found the BEST mooring that was so close to the beach, I mean it was a primo parking spot and we thought we might even be able to pick up the wifi from the beach bars. What a bonus. I ran up to the bow to grab the line with the boat hook and there wasn’t one! Not one to give up quickly I tried to spear the entire mooring ball and pick it up by the chain using the hook. It didn’t work so well and now the hook was stuck in the chain and the boat was still moving forward while I was running towards the stern trying to hold onto the hook. Then I ran into a side stay and dropped the boat hook. Oops. But we were not yet defeated! My dad started to drop the dinghy whilst sailing the boat and I jumped into it to retrieve our boat hook, but also to fix the broken mooring. We were not giving up that parking spot so easily! It took a few tries with me in the dinghy and my dad motoring up to the mooring, trying not to run me over, until I could get a line from the mooring to our boat, but we did it! We put on quite the show for our neighbors, who later saw us at the bar and bought us drinks. I’m sure it looked even more absurd than it felt.
We ended up really getting along with this couple from Texas. Charlie, was an ER doctor who flew in the air force and was desperately trying to retire in order to circumnavigate with his wife, a recently retired nurse. We all enjoyed one too many Killer Bee’s from Sunshine’s Beach Bar before heading out to dinner together.
After a few more rum drinks, we all decided we should probably call it a night because we had made plans to hike up to the top of Nevis the next morning. We walked back to the beach to collect our respective dinghies and that’s when Charlie and Karen couldn’t find theirs! Their anchor came untied and they didn’t pull it up high enough so a swell came up and washed it away! We went on a rescue mission, and all 4 of us piled into our dinghy. We puttered around the bay for awhile in the dark but couldn’t find it. We decided to go back to the beach so Charlie could look along the shore. They all jumped out and I held the dinghy out a ways trying not to get crushed by the swells. Well, unfortunately I did get crushed. My thumb, somehow found its way trapped in a strap and was swiftly dislocated from its socket. To add salt to the wound, my sunglasses were also claimed by the wave. But holy hell did my thumb hurt. I didn’t know what to do other than try to shove it back to its anatomically correct position. Surprisingly, it popped back in easily, but not painlessly.
At this point, we had given up. Feeling defeated, we piled back into the dinghy ready to drop our new friends off at their boat, dinghy-less. All of a sudden we heard someone yelling from a nearby boat, they’d found the dinghy as it was floating out to sea! That was a happy ending to our night. All in all, we lost my sunglasses and my thumb but we gained some friends and best of all, we didn’t lose a dinghy!!!
We woke up early and hiked to the top of Nevis. It took us about 6 hours but it was an awesome climb. We didn’t have much of a view because we were in the clouds, but it was still worth it!
We celebrated our successful day with our new friends over some beers and agreed that we would be sailing together to Montserrat the next day to check out the island and the still smoking volcano, and that’s what we did!
The anchorage was beautiful as was the island. Half of the island is blocked off because of the ash that still falls in the area, but we toured some of the recently opened sections, including a hotel that was absolutely devastated by the eruption in 1995 and then again in 2011. It was a pretty surreal sight. There were still accounting books left open on the front desk where you could see how much food they bought that day. The pictures do it more justice than words…
We were driving back to the boat after our tour we saw mango tree practically falling over with mangos, so we obviously pulled over and picked 20 mangos. They were SO GOOD. Quite literally the best mangos I have ever had. We are practically living on mangos we have so many to eat. I’m not at all mad about it.
Next stop, Guadeloupe! Time to brush up on our French. Madame, if you are reading this, I plan to rely heavily on my K-8th grade French language skills acquired (and I’m sure long since lost) at Pine Hill.