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Islands That Touch The Clouds

October 7, 2016

Sailing up to Statia 

 

I read a phrase describing some of the next islands that we would be going to next as “Islands that touch the clouds.” Who wouldn’t want to go there? It sounds so majestic doesn’t it? Well as we approached the Island of St. Eustatius or Statia it was just that, Majestic! There was no mistaken why she is part of this group with the puffy clouds icing the top of the Island. This group of islands are all volcanic with gentle slopping landscapes that go from the peak of an old volcano top right down to the sea. It seemed to have a calming effect just from looking at her as we sailed by. Of the group, we visited Statia, St. Kitts and Monserrat, each one with its own unique flavour.

 

Statia is not high on the cruisers list of places to stop but I am so glad we didn’t miss it. While one cruiser we met before coming here described Statia as having nothing but goats, we found it to have so much more than that. I mean don’t get me wrong, you aren’t coming here for shopping and great food, and there truly are a lot of goats, but Statia has a calm peacefulness about it that just felt nice after being in the hustle and bustle of St. Martin. The water in the anchorage was crystal clear and Cole and Brad saw some great old treasures while they were snorkelling, like an old anchor and a canon. Statia is often referred to the town that slid into the sea. A long time ago when the volcano on the island erupted most of the buildings that lined the shore crumbled and slid right off their foundations into the sea. A tragedy back then but it makes for some great of snorkelling today. Now there are a couple of boutique style hotels on the water front offering dive excursions from a boat or shore.

 

 Waterfront of Statia, you can see the old stone foundations in the foreground.

 

Now most of the village can be found at the top of the hill, which you can walk to by way of the Slave Trail. This trail is a wide cobblestone road that was built by hand by the slaves up the steep hillside.

 

 One section of the Slave Trail that has been repaved.

 

It was so steep all I could think of was how hard it must have been to build it in the heat. By the time you got to the top, your heart was pumping,but not without the reward of a place steeped in history with quaint and quiet cobblestone streets, cute old houses, a sweet church and the Fort.

 

The church at the top of the hill, St Eustatias. 

 

The Fort offers amazing views and a great spot for a picnic lunch. We had the place to ourselves and wondered around slowly with the heat of the day beating down on us.

 

 Entrance to the Fort.

 Some of the historic buildings in the village.

 

The historic buildings are so unchanged you feel as though you are in a museum. If you are feeling ambitious you can even hike to the top ridge of the Quill Volcano. Unfortunately for us we got a late start to the day and were unable to do it so I guess we will have to put it on our list for next time. 

 

After Statia it was a bash of a motor sail to St. Kitts where we found ourselves in search of a spot to anchor. The swell that was coming into the main anchorage was so big that it was on the verge of being dangerous. We managed to find a calm shallow spot in the industrial side of the harbour and anchored in 4’ of water to get out of the rocking and rolling swell. St Kitts is known to be quite swelly so many cruisers skip it and go the other way to Antigua. Despite the poor anchorage we did manage to get to shore and tour the island by car but there aren’t any pictures to share of that since our camera decided to stop working. If you want to see what we saw in St Kitts check out our video at 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUwOJ__4dD4

 

Next in the group of Islands that touch the clouds was Monserrat. We approached this island with high anticipation since it is still considered an active Volcano however dormant at present. It had suffered a violent eruption not to long ago in 1995 that destroyed the capital town of Portsmouth.

 

Montserrat 

 

Where once the population of the island was in the 30,000 range it is now down around 4500. The people of Monserrat that remain are very proud of their Island and the stories it has to tell. You can take a tour from one of the drivers that you will find upon arrival, or should I say who will find you. Our Guide was “Moose” and he was very knowledgeable. We visited the observatory where they monitor the activity of the volcano and one of the hotel ruins.

 

 The Ruins of the Hotel, check out the ladder rail to the pool. Swim anyone?

 

The town of Portsmouth itself is out of bounds for safety reasons but there are several view points where you can get a glimpse of what remains. The island is very beautiful despite the devastation, you could see what the appeal would have been in its hay day. Now the island is in its rebuilding phase, hopefully they will be able to bring it back to its former glory.

 

Anchorage in Montserrat. 

 

Visiting Monserrat and witnessing what a true Volcano can do was an amazing science lesson for Cole, who had already done research for a boat school project before we got there. To be able to see with his own eyes what it can do and what it all looks like really makes the learning that much more solidified. Talk about the ultimate field trip! Chalk up one point for boat schooling. 

 

For more on the tour of Monserrat you can check out our video on our Trio YouTube Channel at 

 

Thanks for reading, we would love to hear what you think and any questions you have.

 

Cheers.

Life is for Livin'

 

If you are inspired or have learned something from our blog why not consider tossing some change into our tip jar and make our day. Every little bit is appreciated. Thanks for reading.

 

Want to see more of these islands? Watch this episode on our YouTube Channel and don't forget to subscribe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUwOJ__4dD4

 

 

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