On Sunday the 23rd, we fended off the offers of taxis and tours in Charlestown, cleared out of Nevis when customs opened and quickly departed north. Our plan was to sail by Saba approximately 45 nm northwest of Nevis, see if a stop there was tenable and either stay or continue onto Salt Pond Bay on St. John.
Saba is the smallest municipality (not sure what exactly that means) of the Netherlands. The main part of the island is Mount Scenery (a fitting name) which is just under 3,000 ft high. As a result, it is the highest point of the Netherlands.
As we approached Saba, we had about 18-20 kts of wind and seas running 5-6′. Not bad for sailing, but a bit much for a dinghy ride. The only harbor on Saba is Fort Bay on the southern side. It is almost completely exposed to seas from the east. And, sure enough, close to shore the waves were running 3-4′. You can see the waves breaking on the shore here:
The mooring field is on the western or leeward side and offered more protection. Still, even there, the seas were 1-2′ in a steep, Chesapeake like chop. From the mooring field, the dinghy ride is about 1 to 1.5 nm south and then a small stretch on the southern side. So, we would get a mix of those conditions.
We motored back and forth a bit assessing the conditions and then grabbed a mooring designated for visiting yachts around 1800.
The old landing spot is on the western side of the island. It is affectionately known as “The Ladder” because of the approximately 800 steps leading 250m up to the former customs house. Everything that arrived at the island used to come up these steps. We would have loved to give them a go ourselves.
We fixed dinner and I set about looking at the dinghy to see if we could reinforce the transom which had developed a crack and concerned me a bit motoring in the chop. It didn’t take long, however, to realize that the dinghy ride would be at best a soaking adventure. So, we watched a beautiful sunset wrap up the daylight and light up Saba’s western cliffs and dropped the mooring and headed to St. John. After a pleasant night sail, we grabbed one of the moorings in Salt Pond Bay, called into customs, and enjoyed the view. We really had not seen much water this color since the last time we were in the Virgins.
At Salt Pond, we swam and collected 3 large conchs, had conch fritters, caught up on a few projects and business, and relaxed a bit.
Now, we’re at Charlotte Amalie taking care of a few more chores before heading west to Culebra.