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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

March 5 – 12, 2019 Beautiful, Historic Nevis - Finally!

The trip over to Nevis was no fun at all in spite of the anticipation of great winds and a fast downwind sail. The seas were terribly lumpy and confused, knocking the wind out of the sails. We attempted to chase the wind but finally got tired of getting swallowed up in the waves so we turned on the “iron jib”. ZenLattitude was more patient than us and tried tacking back and forth. We watched them switch from our port to our starboard many times, with camera poised in case we got a good shot of them under sail. We were extremely happy to have Charlestown Harbour in our sights at last. We anchored just off the town jetty. It was 3:30 so Frank and Silvain sped to shore to clear us in before Customs closed at 4:00, only to be told to come back tomorrow because they were already shutting down. Disappointed, we stayed aboard that first night and tried to catch some rest  - comfort level 5 with the swell wrapping around the harbor.

Wednesday morning Val and I explored along the waterfront searching for a breakfast venue while the guys cleared us in. We chose funky Café des Arts, located in front of the Alexander Hamilton home.  The guys joined us for a delicious breakfast – we ate, they had beer – before exploring the historic center. Not having yet seen the play that has been sweeping the nation, we got our in-depth history lesson on one of our First Fathers right here at his humble beginnings. As we were touring the center we discovered that literally everyone here knows Suzy Gordon. She and her fiancé Todd are key members of the historical society. We knocked around the little town center for a while and then enlisted a taxi driver to take us to Golden Rock, where literally everyone who has been to Nevis says we must eat the Lobster Sandwich for lunch. Our taxi driver, who proudly exclaimed he is a preacher, gave us a fair price  - $30 each I think, for a (4-hour) driving tour/round trip up to Golden Rock, letting us know he would wait for us to enjoy a leisurely lunch. The lunch was fantastic, dining al fresco, poolside under a lovely gazebo. The venue, a top resort nestled up in the rainforest area of the mountain is a garden oasis covering about 16 hectares. We invited our driver to join us, feeling badly about leaving him to sit in his van. He ordered some hefty priced menu items and kept the waitress flummoxed, getting his food well after we had all finished eating, so Val and I took a stroll through the verdant gardens waiting for him to complete his meal. It was getting late by the time we left Golden Rock, yet he drove us back the long way around the island, pointing out areas of interest. We thought he was just so nice, this kindly preacher-man. The atmosphere and attitude changed quite a bit when he dropped us off at the end of the day, doubling his fee because we used 6 hours instead of 4!!! And to think we bought him a gourmet lunch to boot! What a stinker, telling us all the while to “take our time”. 

That evening, Frank and I took a stroll over to gorgeous Pinney’s beach where there are several very good beach cafés. Sunshine’s is known for their Killer Bee rum drink, and Frank was all bout getting stung – ha ha! The Rasta owner, Sunshine came over to welcome us with his big beautiful smile. We could really get used to this place and decided to move Destiny over here where the water was much prettier and we could grab one of the complimentary mooring balls. 
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 We spent one night at Pinney’s before moving up to Tamarind Bay, where Suzy’s home sits invitingly up on the cliff. Todd happened to be aboard their sailboat Mowgli when we arrived, so we invited him aboard for refreshment. Later that evening he returned to drive us up their rollercoaster driveway to their beautiful home overlooking Tamarind Bay at Cliff Dweller’s. Wow! I resisted taking photos of the home because I didn’t want to be tacky. It is a slice of paradise, west facing full of windows complete with an infinity pool built right on the cliff’s edge just below the living room where every night they can enjoy one of the most stunning views of sunset on the island. Suzy has worked for years building this into a paradise no one would ever want to leave. All 6 of us immediately bonded. Suzy is an established and well-known realtor on the island, and both she and Todd are enmeshed into the social and historical scene here. They know all the best places to eat, drink and be merry, and we spent the next three days with them doing just that. Suzy drove us around Nevis giving us a really special tour. This island hosts a number of lovely historic celebrity holiday venues; quiet, secluded places to where the elite can escape in their desire to get away to paradise without a lot of cheesy tourists running around. Thanks to Suzy we got to have an inside look at The Hermitage and the Montpelier Plantation. We drove to the Four Seasons on the other end of Nevis, where to our complete surprise the golf course was over-run by wild donkeys!  For lunch we dined at the gorgeous Chrishi Beach Club, and wrapped up the day at Cliff Dwellers. The next day we moved our boats over to the pretty white sugar sand beach in front of Yachtsman Grill just a couple of bays down where we had use of the lounge chairs and the facilities. That night we joined Suzy and Todd for dinner and live music at Yachtsman Grill where several of her distinguished friends with various musical talents have joined together to form a casual band. These two pretty much adopted us and included us in their very busy social life during our visit. We would have done quite a lot more had we been able to find a good local place convenient to their house to leave the dinghy at night. It was a little bit of a pain to get dressed up and then drag that sucker up on shore. Perhaps in the future, they can convince the Nevis port authorities to put in some dinghy docks to make the island more accessible to yachts, on the other hand being a draw for sailors might ruin the magic for the celebs and it wouldn’t have the same allure if being here on a yacht was that easy. Nonetheless, we had so much fun with these guys we never wanted to leave. Cathy and Scott, my former classmates mates back home are so fortunate to have Suzy and Todd in their lives (and vice versa!).When we eventually did leave, we made a vow to sail back here again to stay much longer. Even better, Frank and I are considering making it a holiday destination without Destiny.

Alas the clock was ticking on us and on Val and Silvain. We had finally secured a popular upholstery vendor in St. Martin to make our cushions and needed to get going to make that appointment while they needed to make tracks southward.  Tuesday, February 12, we said our farewells to everyone and set our sights on St. Martin/Sint Maarten.

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