Saint-Barthélemy is an island in the Caribbean best known as a playground for the rich and famous. It is acclaimed for its beautiful beaches and its many excellent restaurants. We are neither rich nor famous, but we do like beautiful beaches and excellent restaurants! The place really is gorgeous. Like most other islands we’ve visited, it was named by… wait for it… Christopher Columbus. Although there is a St. Bartholomew (one of the original twelve disciples who was martyred by being skinned alive), Columbus named this gem of an island after his brother, Bartolomeo. Gustavia harbor (the capital) is a picturesque rectangular body of water surrounded with pretty red-roofed buildings. The only bad part of being here (we just spent our third night here) is that the harbor has only a few moorings which are usually occupied. That means we have to anchor outside the inner harbor which is quite sloshy and rolly. It’s not so bad during the day time, but makes it a little difficult to sleep listening to the creaking of the hull and the splashing of the waves against the hull, while being rocked rather violently at times in our bed. I guess you can’t have it all.
We came in on Wednesday, checked in to the country, had a quick lunch and returned to Beatitude. We were so exhausted from all our recent activities that Thursday was designated a stay-on-the-boat day. We hung out, played games, and watched movies. Oh, and I fixed the generator. It wouldn’t start when we returned from the states. Fortunately, it was just a dead starting battery which was easily replaced (Although, I somehow made it into a much more difficult job than it needed to be).
Friday was designated explore-the-island day, so we went ashore a little after nine in the morning to rent a MINI Cooper convertible. From town, we set out on a six-hour adventure on the steep and winding, mountainous roads of St. Barts. The day was gorgeous with brilliant sunshine and deep blue skies, even if it was a bit warm. We drove past the airport, which is much smaller than St. Martin’s and can’t handle the big jets, but still provides dramatic views of planes flying right over the road and descending quickly over the mountains and onto the runway.
Eventually, we made our way through the town of St. Jean and on to Anse de Grande Saline, number five out of the top 100 beaches in the world according to CNN. The white-sanded crescent was surrounded on either side by striking cliffs of rock. The blue waters were warm and refreshing. Cindy wasn’t quite ready to get in the water yet, so she soaked up sun on the beach while I relaxed for a while in the water. After we were satiated with the sand and surf, we drove back into Gustavia for lunch at Le Gustav’ Burger on the harbor front.
With our bellies full, we drove around in circles a few times trying to find Anse du Grand Galet (otherwise known as Shell Beach, for the obvious reason) before locating a place to park and walk to the beach. We had a lovely time searching through the piles of small shells and then sitting on a rock in the sand soaking in God’s grand beauty. Oh, and you can tell we are on an upscale French island (besides the facts that everyone speaks French and its a gorgeous, clean place). The ladies were not shy about going topless on the beaches. And, one young couple was not shy about going completely nude on the beach. As they say, when in Rome… No! We didn’t take off our clothes!
After enjoying a cocktail at the beach restaurant, Do Brazil, we returned the car, dinghied back to Beatitude, and relaxed for the evening.