Sunday, March 29, 2015

St Eustatia




hanging around the town square
Is a Dutch island that has changed hands 22 times between the Dutch, French and English. The Dutch influence is evident everywhere from the small quaint bungalows with their gingerbread trim to the soft yellows and clear greens and pastels of their colour schemes. And it's all immaculately kept. Right beside the town, rising up into the mist is Quill Mountain, a volcano that has not erupted since the 1600's, but still distinctively a volcano. We undertook this hike with water bottles, snacks and comfee shoes. We hiked 3 hours to the rim of the volcano and peered down in. No smoking lava pits, no molten, bubbling pools, just a huge crater covered in years of vegetation so thick you could never tell it's a volcano as it looks just like a steep lush valley.  But the view was incredible and there was a greeting party in the form of a feral chicken that loved our snacks, went wild for our Gatorade and just plain wanted to be part of our picture taking. 
Hiking up Quill

Half way up, checkin to make sure the boat is still at anchor
Tom & Meg hanging into the crater

The town itself is so cute that I just kept wanting to buy up these little cottages and move everyone here.  The streets were mostly stone, with stone buildings and small shops.

Hi End shopping- all brands- even Nike

Inside Cool Corner Bar

Cool Corner Bar
 But still there were outstanding opportunities to own property in paradise and there were still a few fixer uppers available





Oranje Fort , perched on the edge of the cliff is so very well preserved and there are many, many buildings all made of square stones. Buildings, fences, archways, gates and even the roads themselves are all made of this stone. We learned it was in abundance in the 1700 and 1800's as the ships would come from Europe with these square stones as ballast in their holds, then they would replace this ballast with spices, gold and whatever else they were taking back, leaving ready-made stone building material.

fort Oranje

Ocean wings in her sites


From the anchorage there is a sandy beach out front with the remnants of long forgotten stone foundations swept away in hurricanes and ravaged by the sinking sands of time.
So, the town was relocated to the top of the cliff and overlooks this beach way below.

nature claiming the ruins

Ocean Wings at Anchor
1803 stone on Old Slave Rd

The old slave road, entirely of stone, winds all the way up from the beach to the town above.

Old Slave Rd

To control the erosion on the cliff there is a stone terraced wall of water ducts from top to bottom, reminiscent of the pyramid walls and extremely impressive even by modern standards.
erosion control

looking down from new town

A huge Mango tree graces the Forts courtyard and as they were just turning blush pink, we made Tom, who is the tallest, jump for our first wild tropical fruit and we filled our backpacks. .....Someone, please send mango recipes, quick!.........
Fresh mangos

While wandering from one end of town to the other in search of a post office to mail postcards.  (We eventually found it, we were told to go between the Police Station and the Utility company, thru the rusty iron gate, across the field, up the alley and there it is. How could we have missed it?)  We stumbled on a small shop, where the elderly owner beckoned us to come in out of the sun. 
Pete Peterson was his name and he made funky signs and crazy, goofy animals out of coconuts, telling us he bought this place for its view 30 years ago for $25,000.00. Don't see no view!!.  He was so friendly and personable and invited us back to his home in behind and lo and behold there was that view. The whole harbour and the Caribbean Ocean laid out in front of us, with open terraces, bars and a gorgeous swimming pool.
couldn't resist
He insisted we help ourselves to cold beer from the bar fridge, make ourselves at home and stay as long as we liked.
Now that's Eustatian friendly!

It turns out that today is "Aruba" day, the Eustatians are celebrating anything Aruba with street vendors, BBQ, a stage and rocking music. Time to dance a little.

We were warned, but were disbelieving, we were sure we had found a great anchorage, good mooring balls, pure, clean sand and a great view. That was until our third night. The wind shifted and so did we, sleeping sideways on the bed. The boat rocked and rocked and rocked and rocked, violently side to side, ...All night Long... The cupboard doors banged, the dishes rattled and pushed on the doors, anything loose fell on the floor, halyards slapped, the dinghy squeaked as it swayed side to side on its davits and you could hear the water gurgling in the through hulls.
It was a nasty, no sleep night. Sleeping sideways, one minute your feet were high, the next your head, and even that was preferred to rocking sideways nonstop bracing your feet against walls, each other or pillows to keep from rolling right off the bed!
Time to leave the perfect little oasis of St. Eustatia.







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Sailboat owners Gord and Sue aboard their 55' Whitby Ketch "Ocean Wings" share their adventures and travels as they start their retirement, living their dream of seeing the world from oceanside.
Ocean Wings is a recent purchase and our first foray into the Sailing Lifestyle. We're excited and a little scared. Join us in our adventure.