April 29 – May 21, 2022; 8011 nm and 1157 days after departure from La Rochelle.
Well, as disappointing as it was not being able to catch up with my workout teacher Ann in Nevis as nice it was meeting Wilson. (The feature pic shows Wilson on the right and his Cousin) Ann set us up and we immediately got connected. How couldn’t we? Imagine sliding softly ashore the beach in your dinghy and a big black guy welcomes you with a huge smile and a perfectly belt out ” Griass Gott, wia geht’s?” (German with a deep Bavarian accent.) That was so incredibly funny! Our feet hadn’t touched the beach yet and we already felt at home.
Wilson grew up mainly in England and lived for 10 or more years in southern Germany, in Ramsau. The reason for his nice German accent. He came to Nevis a year ago to look after his mother who is from Nevis.
That evening Wilson introduced us to so many people that in the end we had the impression we knew half of the population of Nevis. Maybe not quite but definitely a lot! Nevis is a very small island with only 93 km2, approximately 12000 Nevisians and it seemed with a pretty big retired expat community. However we had a lot of fun and felt so special. It was such a difference to talk to non sailors. With sailors the communication goes e.g. like this: Where did you come from? Did you cross the Atlantic? If yes, how long did it take you? Then the answer comes and you go back to present questions like e.g. Where is the next DIY or marine shop… Non sailors get so excited about the fact that we crossed the Atlantic in such a small boat ( yeah our boat is getting smaller and smaller compared to others and it also seemed that monohulls are getting rather exotic these days, Catamarans are booming.). And latest when they hear it took us 22 days to cross then the excitement and appreciation is overwhelming. It might that the beverages helped to exaggerate our achievement but still we felt a bit like heroes that evening! Quite nice to be honest 😊. In their eyes, us being great sailors they invited us to join the Nevis regatta which took place the next day in Oualie Beach a few miles up north. We kindly declined but were happy to join the after regatta party.
Nevis was indeed a fun place. The following days we enjoyed more beach bar evenings, had strolls along the beach and into town and inhaled that easy living. Of course we had to invite Wilson aboard Altimate one day. Why not for a nice German breakfast? We weren’t able to present proper German “Aufschnitt” but we could offer freshly baked bread, homemade jam and some bacon with eggs. Wilson, missing Germany a lot, was very happy about our invitation and keen on visiting us. It was nice having breakfast with somebody who enjoyed our German breakfast as much as we did. Wilson kept talking about his new hobby horse riding, which he started a couple of month ago. As I used to ride in my very early days I was getting interested in maybe going for a ride. I was dreaming of exploring the island in a “one horse power” pace through beautiful forests. Galloping along the beach, sand splashing up behind and the horse and me becoming one… , girlish dreams, hahaha. I was kind of talking like this to El Capitano when thinking about horses. In the end it was him talking me into it to actually DO it. So, I asked Wilson to join me and we had a sensational horse riding morning. Though it was not quite like what I was dreaming of. We were a big group (10) with mainly completely beginners. That meant no trot, no galloping, just neat riding in line, horse after horse. Still it was a great experience being back on a horse. Also I realised, once learned, you just know what to do and how to handle the horse. It felt damn good!🙃 Thank you my dear Capitano for persuading me to do so! Erica, the owner and also Wilson’s teacher, guided us through the parish of Cotton Ground (a parish north of Charlestown, the capital of Nevis). We passed pretty houses, poor houses, meadows, mill ruins and a huge baobab tree (or was it a mango tree?) until we finally reached the beach. Wilson told me before that they sometimes go into the water with the horses and I was desperate to do so. Knowing that with the beginners we wouldn’t be allowed, I asked Wilson to persuade Erica to at least let us go into the water. And she did!!!! Yeah!!! That was extremely nice!!! Such a great experience. I had never done horse swimming before, it was soooo unbelievable cooooool. Now I have the trouble, I want to do it again!!!
Like always it seemed time was running. The wedding of our niece was coming closer in big steps. Time for us to get moving. We said sadly goodbye to Wilson and Nevis, spent a few days at the main Island St. Kitts and then headed off to Saint Martin pretty much straight up north 54 nm. St. Martin/Sint Maarten is THE island in the Caribbean to buy anything related to boats. In the last decades the main two chandlers Budget Marine and Island Water World have generated a huge amount of buying power, enough to be able to offer excellent prices to yachties. Good prices and a good choice of products made it cruisers heaven! So we decided as well to support Island Water World to increase their buying power. Altimate became slowly a freight ship for marine equipment. Since we not only bought the new dinghy and some smaller marine products but also gallons of antifouling paint. All that to be prepared for the next haul out in Cartagena later this year. In between spending a lot of money on the boat and getting Altimate ready for the next longer passage we met again a few people. It was nice having a chat here and there and catching up with people we hadn’t seen for a while. Last Sunday when we were in the mood to see something else we took our old dinghy for a ride to the Dutch side of the island. It was not the best idea as everything was closed and it started to rain cats and dogs shortly after we arrived. We found shelter under a roof where a guy sold coconut water. Two more guys were also waiting for the rain to stop so we started to chat. It turned out that one of the guys named Joel, was from Grenada and that he also knew our friend Eddy (the single handed sailor who was always sailing into Tyrrel bay in Carriacou as he didn’t have an engine). What a small world!
We are now ready to leave. Cutter sail, Wind vane and all necessary lines are placed back ready to use. Our plan is to sail to Bonaire first. If we can get hold of a buoy there, we will stay and enjoy one of the best places in the world to dive and snorkel. As a matter of fact and probably very healthy for the marine life it is not allowed to anchor anywhere in Bonaire, the whole marine area is protected. The only possibility to stay with the boat is either find a buoy or use the marina. If we can’t find a buoy, which is likely to be as there are only limited buoys and the hurricane season is starting, we will head to Curaçao. The distance of the passage is 490 nm and will take as about 4 days. We’re off now and will be back . closer to Latin America. Bye, bye