We only gave these two islands 24 hours, the first two of which were spent in the old yellow painted cotton ginnery in Charlestown, Nevis, where Customs, Immigration and Port Authority offices were side by side on the old colonial first floor balcony. I had close questioning about our trip from Antigua , but eventually all were satisfied and I was also allowed to visit St. Kitts without having to present my documents there again.
We visited the museum set in an old stone building on the sea front, and spent time going through the history of the island. Then we had a good pone about in the streets, characterised by old fashioned colonial style buildings with stone lower floor and wooden clad upper storey. There wasn't much in the way of cafes but a lot of ramshackle bars. We went past Wilma's Diner, in a little cottage with steps up to a verandah, but felt that it wouldn't meet our needs for a simple sandwich. Onwards we explored, right out to the ruins of Fort Charles, accessed through an abandoned factory, and beyond that, a failed beach side holiday complex. There was a reasonable amount of fort still visible as low walls and a gable end. There were still the original cannon overgrown by weeds and thorn bushes, and a water cistern, a twenty foot diameter circular walled well. If cleared back and presented well, it could be an interesting place to visit. Our return journey was much shorter a
s we found that we could walk along the beach back to the port. It was very hot, but places to welcome a thirsty tourist seemed to be missing. In the end we returned to the museum, where a brightly painted tin hut housed the Cafe des Beaux Arts in a courtyard shaded by trees with a pleasant sea breeze. They served a home made ginger that was exceptionally fiery, and a large glass took a long while to sip!
Back on board we motored the ten miles to St Kitts, along its low coastline, set with many hotels and beach resorts. Two huge cruise ships were alongside the pier in Basseterre. We anchored off and went ashore to explore as dusk fell. First impressions were of a livelier more crowded place with some large stores o the front. Walking past the bus staton and port we were accosted by several people asking for money. Little food stalls lined the bus station to serve those waiting to travel.
We turned inland and admired the old houses and streets. As the light failed we came to a stone church, built with a square tower that could have come straight from England. Eventually we ended up on the first floor balcony of the only place that looked like a cafe, which turned out to serve Asian food, and enjoyed a light supper of Thai noodles etc.
Back aboard we slept in a rolly anchorage, and then set sail the following morning for Bonaire. Some hours out, boldly flying our Parasailor with its bright orange band, we were buzzed by a Dutch Antilles coastguard plane. Perhaps they liked the colour!