|Photo by: Aaron Vos, via WikiCommons|
We hesitated to come over here because the island was very round, and we didn't think it could possibly be a comfortable anchorage in the rough sea conditions that we were having.
But we were wrong! Nevis was one of our most pleasant surprises so far! Christopher Columbus named the island after "Nuestra Senora de las nieves," meaning our Lady of the Snows. For short, Nevis. Nevis is a dramatically tall volcanic mountain that goes up into the clouds so high that you can often see clouds rolling down the sides of the mountain like snow. It has a ring of flatter land around the base of the mountain, making it kind of look like a sombrero from some angles.
The moorings were laid out neatly in front of the miles long Pinney Beach, about a mile from town. The water was surprisingly calm, and the scenery was breathtaking. We took our dinghy over to the town dock (Charleston, the one and only port in Nevis) and checked in with customs and the port authority. Even though we had already check into the federation in St. Kitts, it was the norm to let customs know you were there, and to pay the mooring and environment fees with the port authority. Their offices were located in a cute stone building called the Cotton Ginnery. The island was the most charming place we had seen so far.
We each bought a Caribbean patte and a locally made fruit punch and took a stroll around exploring the town. The people were so incredibly nice, we were blown away. Walking down the street everyone would greet and smile. Most of the Caribbean says, "Good morning" and "Good afternoon," but the people of Nevis were very relaxed and would often just say, "Hi" or "Hello." We even passed a couple of teenage boys who looked like the cool kids in school and expected them to just walk by and ignore us, but instead they both flashed us genuinely kind smiles and said "hi."
|A sign saying "No Noise"|
|The bright flashy fire engine|
The island had a surprising number of barber shops and beauty salons and quite a bit of diversity. English is the main language spoken in Nevis, since it was a former British colony, but we also heard quite a bit of Spanish and Patua. We stopped by the outdoor market and bought produce grown locally from a woman, her mother, and her little girl. They lived in Nevis, but were of Indian descent.
At night, we were shocked to see fireworks in the sky for the 4th of July! They appeared to be coming from Cockleshell Beach on St. Kitts, across the water. It was a lovely surprise. It must be to cater to the American tourists in St. Kitts.
|4th of July fireworks in the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis!|
The following day we got some exciting news...Skeeter's sister Amity gave birth to our niece, Lizelle! We are very excited and happy, and look forward to meeting the new member of our family! I made breakfast, one enormous pancake to split, and then we took a long exploratory walk along the beach.
The beach was beautiful. On one side we had the crystal clear and sparkling ocean and the rolling green hills of St. Kitts in the background, and on the other side we had the dramatically tall volcanic mountain and colorful flowering trees.
|Fishing boats & St. Kitts in the background|
We walked through the ultra ritzy Four Seasons Resort, hoping they would think we were guests and offer us some of their fresh squeezed ice cold lemonade or macaroons, but I guess it was obvious we weren't guests. I can't imagine why! For miles we walked along soft (but sometimes scorching hot!) sand and past many resorts that looked like they were once very nice but currently abandoned. We weren't sure if it was just for the low season, or maybe there was a zombie apocalypse there or something. It was strange to see some really expensive beach chairs and cushions just left out in the elements to be destroyed.
During our walk we came across a friendly local man wearing an apron. I started chatting with him, and next thing we knew he was having us follow him back into a wooded area to a tented area to try his chicken and homemade barbeque sauce. I wasn't quite sure if he was trying to sell us his chicken or just have us try it, so I made sure to ask because we weren't carrying much of anything on us. Then he said, "I wouldn't charge you! No worries!" We were taken off guard by his kindness. He was just a genuinely nice guy. His name is Clifford, and he works for some charter boats that were about to bring guest to the beach. He just had some time to kill. He started piling about ten pieces of chicken on a plate for us to try, and I had to politely tell him that one piece each would be more than enough. It hadn't been long since we'd eaten but we did want to try it.
We shared stories about times at sea while we enjoyed the chicken, and shared some good laughs. He had worked on the ferry boat for twenty-two years and loves the sea. He told us some crazy stories, including riding out hurricane Hugo in 1989 (a MAJOR one, went down in history) amongst other stories. Clifford also had us try his coconut-slaw, which I had never heard of. Basically, it's coleslaw using coconut shreds instead of cabbage.
I'm so glad we have made it a point to give everyone a chance rather than being those stereotypical rude tourists who run away or give the cold shoulder when a stranger approaches, assuming that they want to sell you something or are crazy. This openness has really helped us to meet some interesting people, connect with different cultures, and have some experiences that we could have easily missed out on. Plus, we have both been on the other side of things when we worked in the tourist industry and had to try to sell or promote something, and it's not fun to be treated with disdain. Besides, even if someone is trying to sell you something you don't have to buy it. And even if they are crazy it doesn't necessarily mean that they are dangerous. Experiences only come to those who are open to them.
|One of the charter boats from St. Kitts coming in...we got a free sneak peek of their lunch!|
We finished off our 6 mile walk over sand and climbing over boulders with a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters of Pinney's beach.
We dinghied back to the boat, and then spent the rest of the evening hanging out on deck with Momo. We watched pelicans and laughing gulls land on our bow and Momo slither on his belly in the hunting position to try to sneak up on them.
They flew away just in time and flew in circles high above the water, dramatically diving in head first to catch one of the silversides shimmering in the water. Momo was also enthralled with watching schools of hundred of these silversides jump simultaneously when a bigger fish, usually a bar jack, was chasing after them. Shockingly he didn't end up falling in the water, even though we were sure that all of this excitement would inevitably end with a wet cat.
We finished off the wonderful day with a night sky filled with stars. There isn't much light pollution in Nevis, since it is a sparsely populated island. The bad weather was finally breaking, and we could make a move to our next destination, Montserrat. We were sad to leave Nevis and probably the calmest anchorage to date, but decided that it was one of our favorites and we would be back.