Our friends left us on Saturday and we had 2 days to do mountains of laundry until our daughter and grandchildren landed on Monday. Laundry is less trivial on a vessel than on land. Our watermaker had to continuously produce enough water and the solar panels enough electricity for the water maker and washing machine. Every cloud that came along became an enemy, but we still had a joker left power with our generator.
Then came the longed-for Monday and we saw the kids storming out of the airport door. Probably all grandparents say that, but our grandchildren Henri (9) and Hannah (6) are really cute and the first visit with us on board was at least as big an event for us as it was for the little ones. And they could hardly sleep well before the journey – their first intercontinental flight.
It was the first visit of Henri and Hannah and our daughter Jil on the Rivercafe. So far, all attempts to visit us have failed due to C19. We wanted to introduce the three of them carefully to life on board. That’s why we booked a few days in the IGY Simpson Bay Marina, to get used to things and not to get the full wave right away. No jet lag in the world kept the two away from their first visit to the beach on the first afternoon. For kids, there’s nothing more thrilling. We tested the beaches of Philippsburg and Oriental over the next few days with their new snorkelling equipment.
Easter in St. Barth
We wanted to spend Easter in St. Barth. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are always mega-crowded there. At Easter, the regatta of the “Voiles de St. Barth” comes along for a week on top. We gambled finding an anchorage. On the other hand, there are plenty of super and mega yachts missing. In Sint Maarten, the superyacht marinas were pretty empty and we learned that Russian sanctions were responsible. Well over half of all mega yachts are said to belong to Russian owners or setups. The community of oligarchs did not show up in St. Barth. Barely 10 superyachts anchored there at Easter. All the others were proper sailors.
On Maundy Thursday we cast off from Sint Maarten for the 15 nm way to St. Barth. We took all the grandparent-impression bonus points with us as we steered Rivercafe through the Simpson Bay lagoon bridge amid a remarkable amount of vessels of all shapes and sizes. It was a cool moment when Henri and Hannah were out on the open sea for the first time in their young lives. 1.80 m waves – nothing less was to be had in the past and next few days – all three put up well. When you’re not used to the motion of the swell, your body often reacts with fatigue and all three slept most of the way. Good for us and the bucket kept empty.
We decided against anchoring off Gustavia because it’s already pretty rolly with a 1.5 m wave. Especially the announced 2.2 m wave and 25 kn wind would probably make our guests quite pale, buckets within reach. In order to lie more calmly, we steered the Rivercafe into the northern bay of Colombier. Unbelievable but true, we found a great place to spend the Easter days at a mooring ball of the Nature reserve. Right near the beach. Colombier is considered the most beautiful anchorage in St. Barth, but it is certainly the most sheltered. A dinghy takes you to Gustavia, the island’s capital, in 20 minutes at a pace suitable for families.
We couldn’t have found a better place for the kids to spend Easter. Henri and Hannah were constantly hanging out in the crystal clear water, on the beach and in the deeper water around the Rivercafe.
I was surprised how quickly the kids got used to life on board. And it is very different. Wearing life jackets, using fresh water sparingly, avoiding rubbish. And listening to every instruction the first time. Quite a new experience for the mother. Everything is new and exciting. The sailing, the anchoring and the sea all around. Cute turtles, flying fish and lots of time in the clear water. It is a visit to another world.
As if to demonstrate how unexpected the sailing life is, we caught a long Wasserki rope in our propeller on the way to Colombier. We were very lucky and just managed to tie up to a mooring ball. After 30 minutes of diving down and cutting the rope, we had freed our propeller from a large mountain of rope. As a child, I could never have imagined my grandparents diving under their ship in St. Barth and freeing propellers from ropes.
Happy Easter to you all – Karin and Holger Binz