Rumble: St Barts

After almost a week in Anguilla, we sailed to Sint Barthelemy (St.Barths or St.Barts for short). We were heading straight into the wind, so we motored most of the way, with waves spraying in the cockpit most of the time. But St.Barts was worth it.

Discovered by Columbus in 1493, the first French settlers only came in 1648, but were massacred by the Caribs. A later attempt was more successful and the French turned the natural hurricane-proof harbour into a mooring port for buccaneers who plundered the Spanish galleons. In 1784, the French turned over the ownership of the island to the Swedes in return for free port rights in Gotenburg, at the other side of the world.
After a devastating fire in 1852, the Swedes did not have the funds to rebuild the capital, Gustavia, and sold the island back to the French in 1878 for the sum of US$45,700, who made it a duty-free port. And it still is today. Called "the Riviera of the Caribbean", it is said to be a play ground for the rich and famous.

It shows, the island was dotted with beautiful houses, clean streets, and small hotels. Houses were well taken care of, people were friendly and forthcoming. The whole island - which is only 25 square kilometers, felt like a French Mediterranean village. Rather expensive to live in, the locals said. But we did not mind a bit of luxury.

Once more, we enjoyed the views and the beaches. The girls gave kayaking a try, while Tine and I thought the sunchairs were just fine... :-)


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