Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Moving on to Nevis & St. Kitts

“Nuestra Senora del las Nieves” 
We were up and preparing to set sail to St. Kitts. The cruising guide suggested it was a 40 nm trip. However, we were at the north end of St. Barth and had to go to the south end of St. Kitts to make the passage through the Narrows between Nevis and St. Kitts. Then we were to sail back north to the port of Basseterre to check in. Well … it was more than 40 nm! It took us all day with good sailing and a little motor sailing at the end so we could get through the Narrows before we lost good light.

Once we got to the Narrows and past Booby (a huge rock in the middle of the passage) and The Cows (a group of smaller rocks to be avoided), we decided to pick up a mooring ball along the shore of Nevis. Nevis and St. Kitts are one country so we could check in at Charlestown, Nevis in the morning. (It is pronounced Neevis.)

Local park where people chill out 
Originally we thought we would skip Nevis. Having done so would have allowed us to miss a real “cat and mouse” game of checking in! The Customs people were very nice. It is just that the system works for them, but not for the visitor! First you go to the Customs office near the dock and pay some fees. Then you go to the Police Station four or five blocks away for Immigration. Next you back to the Port Office at the dock. Then you go back to the Customs office to get your cruising permit. Now, mind you, it was Sunday so they were only open from 9 AM to 1 PM. We had two hours to make it happen!

Local Caribbean music awaited passengers of a cruise ship
The challenge became apparent when we got to the Police station several blocks from the dock and the officer said we should see the Immigration officer who was at the dock. So we went back to the dock only to find that she had gone out to check in the passengers on a small cruise ship! We went to the Customs office an hour before closing to pick up the cruising permit, but found it locked. Later we learned that the Customs agent was also on the cruise ship.

Pinney's Beach where we anchored near the Four Seasons
Having waited for over an hour for the agents to return to shore, they asked us to come back on Monday since it was past 1 PM and they were “closed.” It was time to back to the boat and relax. After all, it is “island time!” We were moored on Pinney’s Beach just north of Charlestown and right under  Nevis Peak, the high volcanic peak where the clouds cover the top of the mountain most of the time. It is over 3000 feet high and you can see the rain up there several times a day. But the showers provide beautiful rainbow – often double ones! Columbus named the mountain “Nuestra Senora del las Nieves” (Our Lady of the Snows) after one of his favorite churches.

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