Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Other Side of St. Barth

Anse de Columbier bay from the top of the ridge
We left the harbor and sailed up to Anse de Columbier, a beautiful bay and beach area at the northern end of St. Barth. I could have stayed here for several days. One of the attractions of the bay is the sea turtles along with other marine life. We only saw a single turtle as we did not snorkel. It was during an attempt to grab a mooring ball that Dennis suffered his injury: a gash on the nose! More Neosporin to the rescue!

Going ashore with the dinghy was interesting! There are slabs of stone along much of the beach just under the water so you have to find a break where there is sand. Having found a good landing place, you then have to ride a wave onto the shore and jump out to pull the dinghy further up onto the beach and anchor it to something so it will stay there.

The view on the other side of the ridge!
Not being particularly graceful with my entering and exiting the dinghy anyway, this was a new challenge! I managed to get one leg out into relatively shallow water, but the wave retreated before I got the second leg over the tube! Ouch! I now have a huge hematoma on my leg! Injury number two! And it is an ugly color of purple, green and yellow.

If you follow the trail up and over the steep and craggy hill, you see the bays on the other side of the island. The village of Columbier is high above to the southwest. Anse de Columbier was originally owned by the Rockerfellers, as was Caneel Bay, St. John, USVI, and the original house is still there.  This area is now part of the St. Barts Marine Reserve. It is a well-protected anchorage and has mooring balls to protect the marine environment. Grass beds have returned and provide feeding beds for the sea turtles.

When you cross over the ridge at the top of the beach, there is a tiny (in width, but long) trail that leads up and down through cactuses and lilies all the way to Anse de Flamandes.The cruising guide book claims it to be a 30 minute walk. I beg to differ; more like an hour!

 Here we found a beautiful beach and several resorts. We walked the long beach with our eyes focused on a cool drink under an umbrella at the far end. Somewhat like a dessert oasis: it was further than it looked – much further down the long, long beautiful white sand beach.

It turned out to be a very nice resort hotel: St. Barth Isle de France. This is perfect island get-a-way – for the well to do! The Mango-colata’s were 14 EUs each! That was about $20 each with a tip! Fortunately, one was enough to refresh us before walking through the village and back to the mountain trail for a swim at the Anse de Columbier beach where we were anchored!

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