Schleppy is the word I use to describe how we felt upon arrival in Gustavia, the epicenter of St. Barts*.
From the moment we tied up to the pristine, mega yacht adjacent dinghy dock, we realized that the Bahamas, this was not. Wandering around the cute, chic town in our best sea-worn threads, we were conspicuous, salty fashion victims, lost in a sea of couture caftans and seersucker. Even the customs officer stationed behind a counter of polished marble had a certain je ne sais quoi unmatched by other civil servants we’ve met in our travels.
Underdressed as we were, we wanted to give Gustavia a chance. Since a Cartier shopping spree wasn’t in the boat budget, we searched for a place to have a cocktail, bite to eat, and some (beautiful) people watching instead.
Unfortunately, it is the off season, and we’d arrived at 4PM on a Saturday to find Gustavia nearly deserted. There were two bars filled soccer fans shouting at a televised match in French, but none of the quaint, seaside places were open. By 5, we had a choice to make – hang out for a night out in town followed by a sleepless night of rolling in the chop of Gustavia harbor (seriously, the roughest anchorage we’ve ever seen), or move the boat to calmer waters before sunset. We opted for the latter.
Just a few miles from Gustavia, we picked up a mooring ball in the spectacularly clear and calm waters of Colombier Bay. There, we spent the next few days swimming with turtles, hiking trails carved into volcanic rock mountains, playing on the beach, knocking out a big boat reorganization project, and (finally, after months of Facebook correspondence) hanging out with Jenn, John, baby Jack, and Lulu the dog – our new friends aboard s/y Corpse Pounder. Thanks for a fun night guys!
A great weather window for sailing has opened, so we’ll bid au revoir to this beautiful island for now. Maybe one day we’ll return, next time, fashionably late.
*The island’s official name is Saint Barthélemy, but everyone calls it by its nickname. I’ve seen it spelled “St. Barths” or “St. Bart’s”, but the New York Times spells it “St. Barts” and so do I.