St Kitts and Nevis: Short and hefty

St Kitts and Nevis is another very small state in the Eastern Caribbean with an estimated(!) population of 55‘000 only. No state so far was too small to give us a nice Welcome. Here, they sent a pretty large whale jumping out of water several times, leaving huge splashes whenever it plunged back. Good he didn’t decide to cuddle with Yuana.

St Kitts is actually also known as St Christopher, the name given by Columbus after his own name. We have met the traces of Columbus many times here in the West Indies. He discovered most of the Easter Caribbean Islands for Spain. Touching history is so much better then just learning it out of school books.

In Columbus’ wake came other Europeans. Too many times, this ended bloody for the Caribs, also in St Kitts. A small number of aboriginal Caribs remains, today living in Dominica. Today, the lands are mainly owned and populated by the descendants of African slaves. Speaking about population of St Kitts, one should not forget to mention the green velvet monkeys. They are up and around until 10a.m., before sun gets too warm.

Arriving at the Southernmost tip of St Kitts, we were astonished to find a high finish mega yacht harbor. It seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. Miss-leaded Investment? Nearby was the Salt Plage, perhaps the coolest beach bar we have ever seen. The palm trees, lounge sofas and high chairs were arranged on three platforms, partially over the water. Super simple and award winning design, someone did a fantastic job!

When we took a stroll to the other side of the narrow island, we came across a small luxury hotel. Another remarkable place in the middle of nowhere? Also special was that all these places were interlinked with perfectly paved roads with park-like gardens aside. On the way back, a six-seated golf cart stopped and offered us a lift back to our anchorage. The driver was a woman, with a man seated next to her.

We asked a bit what kind of development was going on here, and who in that small country could invest in such top class properties. The man in the cart looked back to me and was saying with a wide grin on his face: “I’m the crazy guy doing all that”. It turned out that he was the American businessman Charles P Darby III. Just google him. You will find the former CEO of the company who developed Kiawah-Island in the US and also Irish Doonbeg Golf Resort which was later sold to the Trump Family.

Charles explained that he bought 2500 acres of land to develop it into a huge luxury residential area, encompassing more than 200 buildings.
The most dramatic Tom Fazio golf course is the next thing they will build. Super impressive! Charles was kind enough to shake hands with us again when he showed up at the beach bar on the same evening.

Another helpful person was Elvis. He drove us high up to the Brimstone Hill Fortress, another large defense installation of the British, this time to fight the French. At those times it was of utmost importance to secure an anchorage in the vicinity of a good fresh water river. No trip back to
Europe could start without the barrels filled with drinking water. Elvis also offered us some economical insights:

As everywhere else in the West Indies the sugar cane business lost momentum decades ago and sent Kittian economy into a long sleep. Only 15 years ago when the cruise ship terminal was opened, tourism got significance and quickly became the most important economic sector. In high season, two or three cruise ships visit St Kitts every day. In the off season, its considerably less, depending on latent hurricanes.

Asking about difficulties with quickly growing tourism, Elvis said that everyone is happy with it because it creates lots of jobs. Then he added: “OK, there is one problem. With the tourists coming, many of us now must work on Sundays. Then we can’t go to Church. But the weekly service is very important for us.” More than a dozen of Christian Churches exist in Basseterre only. They compete for members in a saturated market.

Elvis blown the horn every other mile to say hello to someone else on the road. Once it was the hair dresser, then a family member and then a very good friend, the former Prime Minister who is now in the opposition. By the way, there is no Republican Party as we know it, and a Green Party is not required at all. The parties are more in the range of different shades of Labors, which started forming in the late times of slavery.

The country is proud of celebrating its 35 years of independence from UK this year. The Commonwealth improves the access to international financial markets. They however complain that loans for disaster recovery are becoming more expensive after catastrophic incidents such as most recent hurricanes. The county’s stability is questioned. “Why and how should we pay the bill for global warming which was produced elsewhere?”. A thoroughly wide topic…

Last but not least, such small country could not defend itself in case of an attack. We learned that the military interventions of UK in Falkland and the one of US in Grenada are taken as a sign that Kittians would not been left alone in such a case. In return, US Army is allowed to train in the country, and also to use its geographic position strategically. Young Kittians do not need to serve in an army.

That was a lot for little more than one day only, isn’t it? St Kitts was a very quick go for us. After leaving St Kitts and Nevis, we did a short provisioning stop in St Barths. This is the famous French place where Johnny Hallyday was buried recently. As I conclude this article, we are already on the British Virgin Islands. We have decided to meet up here with some friends for Easter. The BVI’s will perhaps be our grande finale in the West Indies, before starting our second Atlantic Crossing with new crew during May.

Wishing everyone a nice Easter Weekend
Markus and family

PS: There are some great photos from St Kitts on http://www.yuana.life . As always, Klick on our logo to randomly see the next picture.

Antigua – The upper class holiday place

Antigua welcomed us with its English Harbor, a paramount anchorage which can perhaps not be found many times in the world. Very well protected and hardly visible from the sea, it was the perfect place to protect a naval fleet. The whole area around that most beautiful bay is today listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. What is called The Nelson’s Dockyards are the docks where ships tie up for unloading and loading.

This all started 235 years ago, when Piracy was still a big issue in the Caribbean. Admiral Horatio Nelson developed the English Harbour area for the British Navy to support their claims in the West Indies. The place grew strong enough to stop the piracy of those days. Earlier, the British, French, Spanish and other Admiralties teamed up with the Pirates very opportunistically, just to win (or loose) the next battle.

The Nelson’s Dockyards were beautifully restored and are today used as a marina. Also thanks to its nice surrounding, it became a preferred docking place for super yachts. Steering my own ship into English Harbour and tying her up at the great old Nelson’s Dockyards became one of my personal maritime highlights. I realized this only in hindsight. And this was the perfect start for our encounter with Antigua.

The following days brought us back some dear friends from the yachts Krabat, A Capella of Belfast, Dream Catcher and Kisu. All of us were then anchored in Falmouth Bay, just next to English Harbour. We enjoyed sundowners in one or the other cockpit and made sure to party at the local Yacht Club.

Then came the birthday of our son. He turned eleven and was a bit disappointed that he didn’t get an invitation for Hogwarts, the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This was at least what happened to Harry Potter at his own eleventh birthday (we are working ourselves through that book, English edition, every evening bit by bit). All of us enjoyed the day with a bit of sailing, swimming, beach games and an e-reader as top birthday present. It was very important for him to get into a marina with internet connection. Sure we did, and we closed this great day with an appropriate dinner at a great Greek restaurant.

Because we liked Antigua and wanted to get more of it, we decided to explore the Northwestern part of the country. We found dozens of quiet islands, reefs, almost white beaches and turquoise waters. We spotted breeding Pelicans and pure nature. On Long Island, one-story luxury hotels lined up along the beach, offering peace and privacy for several thousand dollars per night – the place to be.

Antigua actually has a little neighbor, with is the island called Barbuda. Barbuda is said to top the beauty of Antigua. We didn’t go there. Sadly, Barbuda got totally destructed by storm Irma, and other sailors who tried to visit the place confirmed this. So we decided not to go there.

Antigua is something special, not only for its natural beauty, but also for rules and regulations. They are so good that they need their own electronic pre-arrival notification system for sailors, whereas the other East Caribbean States teamed up for one common solution. Moreover, one has to throw the hook and dinghy in for the customs and immigration, before the boat can be tied up on a dock. ‘Work your way in if you want to be part of our place!’

The hight was when we had to register our kids as passengers rather than crew, which cost a lot of money. Dear Antiguan authorities, the sailing community just laughs about such advanced level of ridiculousness.

Other strange things? Yes, when we were on the beautiful uninhabited islands with no supermarket around the corner, we tested some canned meals which we bought earlier in Martinique. We assumed that we can find the same cans again further up North in Saint Martin, as stock for our second Atlantic crossing. Guess what? Those canned meals must have been produced in the same factory which produces the food for our cats. So: No canned meals for the long way back to Europe ;-)!

By the way: Nelson’s Dockyards called up some nice memories from the great old harbors we’d visited in England. That made me starting to like the idea to pay some more visits there on our way back 🙂

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Picture: Copper and Lumber Store, now a hotel inside Nelson’s Dockyards

Guadeloupe

Manuela hatte in Dominica bekanntlich einen Reitunfall erlitten, und in den drei Folgetagen wurden die enormen Rückenschmerzen eher schlimmer als besser. Die Sache musste ärztlich untersucht werden, und so setzten wir ins benachbarte Guadeloupe (Frankreich) über, und zwar nach Pointe-à-Pitre, da wo sich ein Unispital befindet.

An einem Montagmorgen fand der telefonische Erstkontakt mit einem Arzt in der Marina statt, und am Dienstag Nachmittag war die medizinische Untersuchung abgeschlossen. In dieser Zeit sahen wir je zweimal den einweisenden Arzt und den Neurologen. Dazwischen waren wir zum Röntgen und für Die Computertomografie zwei privaten Kliniken. Alles ging sehr einfach und kostete weniger als 400 Euro. Effizienz pur!

Dabei gab es schlechte und gute Nachrichten. Manuela hatte sich beim Stutz vom Pferd das Steissbein gebrochen. Das ist eine äusserst schmerzhafte Angelegenheit. Trotz starker Schmerzmittel kann man in den ersten zwei Wochen mehr schlecht als recht liegen oder stehen, jedoch nicht sitzen. Die gute Nachricht war, dass es sich um eine splitterfreie Fraktur handelte, und der Knochen in seiner normalen Lage war. Somit musste nicht operiert werden. Das hätte noch viel schlimmer kommen können!

Mittlerweile sind seit dem Unfall fast vier Wochen vergangen. Die Sache scheint gut zu heilen und langsam kehrt wieder der Normal-Alltag ein. Es passte gerade, dass wir die Schulferien gegenüber Zuhause um zwei Wochen hinausgezögert hatten. So konnte Manuela ohne Lehrerinnen-Aufgaben im Schiff ruhen, während für Markus und die Kinder Ausflüge und Strandplausch anstand.

Beispielsweise besuchten wir den Pointe des Château, das kühn ins Meer hinausragende Südostkap von Guadeloupe. Die Sicht auf die anrollenden und seitlich vorbeiziehenden Wellen war überwältigend. Die sanften grossen Wogen des Atlantiks türmten sich an den Felsen zu gewaltigen Brechern auf. Die Gischt türmte sich kaskadenartig auf: hoch – höher – am Höchsten!

Eines Tages verholten wir Yuana in einen neuen Hafen an der Westküste. Manuela lag im Salon und Junior hielt eines seiner seltenen Mittagsschläfchen. So ich hatte das Glück, einmal mit meiner Tochter alleine im Cockpit zu sein. Wir führten interessante Gespräche, unter anderem über die Nachteile des Segelns: „Weisst du, Papa, beim Segeln kann es einem übel werden. Das Fliegen ist viel besser. Dort kann man nur abstürzen“.

An der Westküste haben wir drei Gesunden das erste Mal mit Sauerstoffflaschen getaucht. Der Tauchlehrer ging mit jedem von uns separat auf einen 20-minütigen Tauchgang an einem Riff im Meer draussen. Die Kiddies sind offenbar Naturtalente und wollten mehr. Ich selbst weiss nun, dass ich mich über Wasser besser fühle als darunter.

Weitere Ausflüge folgten, unter anderem in den Zoo. Auf speziell angelegten Holzstegen schlenderten wir durch den Regenwald, häufig zwei oder drei Meter über dem Waldboden. Von Plattformen sahen wir allerhand Regenwald-Tiere, von Kolibris über Riesenschildkröten bis zu Panthern. Ein kleines schlaues Äffchen zeigte uns, wo es an der Scheibeneinfassung ein kleines Loch gab: ‚Man solle doch hier bitte etwas zum Essen durchschieben‘. Speziell gut für die Kinder war das Klettern im Baumwipfelpfad, bis zu 25 Meter über Grund!

Dass bei den beiden die Schoko-Plantage hoch im Kurs stehen würde, verwunderte uns nicht sehr. So erlebten sie die Schoko-Produktion anhand von Schautafeln und einer Life-Vorführung. Der Plantagengarten war äusserst vielseitig. Für mich war die grosse Neuigkeit, dass Cornichons (Essiggurken) an Bäumen wachsen. Sie hängen nicht etwa an Ästen, sondern wachsen in Büscheln direkt zum Stamm heraus!

Wie schon viele Male auf unserer Reise nahmen wir für unsere Ausflüge Mietwagen. Das kostet für vier Personen kaum mehr als ÖV, und über die gewonnene Flexibilität muss man schon gar nicht reden. Trotzdem waren wir auch mal auf einen ÖV-Bus angewiesen. Fahrpläne kannten auch die anderen Passagiere nicht. Man musste halt einfach warten, einmal 25 Minuten, einmal 70 Minuten.

Das mit den Mietwagen ging bisher immer gut. Vor der Rückgabe des zweiten Mietwagen in Guadeloupe passierte jedoch etwas Kurioses. Die Tankuhr im Auto wollte trotz randvollem Tank keinen vollen Tank anzeigen. Bei der Wagenrückgabe brauchte es keine lange Erklärung, denn der Mensch von der Wagenrücknahme wusste schon, was zu tun war:

Er klemmte bei laufendem Motor die Batterie ab und bei stehenden Motor wieder an. Danach war die Elektronik der Tankuhr zurückgesetzt und zeigte nun tatsächlich voll an. ‚Das sei bei fast allen Renault Clio in seinem Fuhrpark so‘. Wenn sich das Auto nicht so toll hätte fahren lassen, so müsste ich doch glatt meine früheren Vorurteile über französische Autos wieder ausgraben, haha…

Dominica

Dominica was the first country on our trip which was badly hit by hurrican Maria in September 2017. The damages were gigantic. After this happened we though that it might be better to bypass Dominica. On recommendation of other sailors, we stopped in Dominica and as so often on our trip so far, we stayed longer than expected.

The island raises steep and unprotected out of the open ocean. Nothing would withstand who monster storm crashing against that steep land there. Already when approaching Dominica from the sea some brownish-grey forests indicated that something was wrong. The leaves of the trees must have been either torn off by the wind or destroyed by the salty sea water sprayed over the place.

From our anchorage point in Portsmouth’ Prince Rupert Bay it was clearly visible that many houses got their roofs repaired already or at least covered with sturdy plastic foil, some from USaid, as we saw later. The place looked quite dark at night because electric grid was still down,
apart from the main streets.

Stepping ashore unveiled that a considerable part of disaster recovery was completed. What was worthwhile to safe for the future was put more or less in shape. Many wooden houses simply collapsed with nothing left for tomorrow. Aid organizations such as the UNICEF or World Food Programme still had their tents there. This was when I learned about the value of such field aid organizations.

One property had a huge cargo container in the garden, washed in by the flood, with the owner being left unable to remove it. One former restaurant had just its concrete basement left, with a concrete stair, the menu card painted on the wall. A huge pile of rotting wooden planks were in front. A sadly looking Shepard dog was sitting on the ruin, guarding the property of its vanished owner. On the street, almost every car came with its signs of the storm, anything from body damages to broken lights or windows.

Our river guide Anthony shared his own views: “A house is just a house. It’s not so expensive and can be replaced. Poor people build their house with light wood only. No insurance would cover it because too many wooden houses would just start to burn one night. If a concrete house had burned, then the damage is low because it just needs to be repainted and then it is as good as new. Hey man, we still have our lives!”

Masses of huge trees had fallen, same as the poles for the electric power cables or the telephone lines. The government of this 30 Miles long country with a population of 72’000 only is left with an almost endless list of capital intensive tasks.

On the radio we heard the prime minister saying that hurricanes such as Maria could be the new Normal, which might be realistic. They want to rebuild the country so that it can cope with such storms. On the prevention side, they started their program to become the first climate resilient country in the world. Clearly, this will only help if they manage to send a most remarkable signal effect into the world.

Visiting a country in distress was a pretty effective eye opener in many ways, not only for our children. Now let’s turn to the good sides. Handling of the storm damages gives a boost to some parts of the economy. On a more general side, the country is blessed the nicest people we have met throughout the Caribbean so far, and with its natural beauty.

Mentioned guide Anthony rowed us up the Indian River with its dense vegetation. He showed us where Jack Sparrow was studying a chart in the movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. He explained us that the mangroves along the river shore cope with both salt and fresh water. He pointed out that in contrary to the coconuts, the bananas trees will take much longer to recover from the storm.

We took a hike up to Fort Shirley. It was built by the British in the 18th century and apparently did a great deal in defending Dominica against the French, which successfully took possession of Martinique in the South and Guadeloupe in the North.

Unfortunately and because of the earlier mentioned accident during horse back riding, we couldn’t do our trip to the famous Emerald Pools and waterfalls in the South of Dominica.

As almost everywhere in the West Indies and during this season, the locals complain about the unusually windy and wet season with lot of rain. The good side of the rain is that it supports the vegetation to grow very rapidly. And the rain does it’s job: The greens grow so quickly that the brown-grayish rain forest definitely looked greener when we departed, just one week after our arrival.

Martinique, das Land des Regenbogens

Oh wie schön, plötzlich in Frankreich zu sein! Auf unserer Fahrt von Holland nach Spanien schafften wir es gleich zwei mal, einen Bogen um die französischen Küsten zu machen. Dank seiner Überseegebiete aus Kolonialzeiten (wir werden demnächst auch noch in Guadeloupe und Saint Martin besuchen) kommen wir nun endlich zu französischen Genüssen.

Wir erfahren den Begriff der Grande Nation im geographischen Sinne. Frankreich ist u.a. auch in Südamerika (Französisch Guyana) und im Südpazifik (Französisch Polynesien) zuhause. Hier sei angefügt, dass die Englische Sprache selbst heute in französischen Schulen noch stiefmütterlich behandelt wird. Schliesslich soll die Welt französisch sprechen!

Das funktioniert sogar! Mit Elan packte ich meine 25 Jahre angestaubten Französisch-Brocken aus. Es gelang anfangs mehr schlecht als recht. Die Bäckerin musste „Vous ête une poche?“ anstatt „Vous avez une poche?“ über sich ergehen lassen. Jaja, euch zu Hause stehen jetzt die Haare zu Berge. Aber ich kann versichern, dass die Lernkurve steil verläuft.

Die Kombination von Frankreich und Karibik ist einfach toll. Seit unserer Abfahrt in den Kanaren waren wir in Entwicklungsländern. Diese haben teils keine eigentliche Lebensmittelindustrie (zB CV, SVG). Die Auswahl in den Läden war klein. Die Verteilkanäle sind schmal und teuer. Dies erklärt, weshalb ein französischer Hyper-U Markt plötzlich als Paradies erlebt wird.

Wir verwöhnten uns mit frischem Rinds-Carpaccio, Wein und allerlei Käse. Croissants und Pain au Chocolate schmecken in den schönsten Ankerbuchten noch besser! Endlich konnten wir grüne Pestosauce kaufen, und beim Raclette haben wir natürlich auch zugegriffen. Das Schiff ist nun bis unter das Deck mit haltbaren Produkten aufgefüllt.

Mehrmals täglich zogen bei sonnigem Wetter kleine Regenzellen durch. Diese zaubern die verschiedensten Regenbögen an den Himmel. Innert zwei Wochen haben wir Duzende davon gesehen. Einer der Regenbögen (Franz: arc de ciel) war ganz klein: Beide Enden waren buchstäblich greifbar nahe, nur wenige Meter von unserem Schiff entfernt.

Wir besuchten das Museum, welches die Zerstörung von St. Pierre im Jahre 1902 zeigt. Der Vulkan zerstörte innert Sekunden dieses Paris-der-Karibik genannte Städtchen, und forderte fast 30’000 Menschenleben. Anzeichen der Gefahr gab es genügend. Der Erdkundelehrer schätzte jedoch die Gefahr falsch ein, und der Bürgermeister verbot wegen anstehender Wählen die Evakuierung.

Zurück zu den schönen Dingen: Wir genossen den Regenwald im Norden von Martinique (siehe Bild), die Rum-Destillerie Depaz, das Canyoning in der Gorge de la Falaise, und nicht zuletzt das abendliche Geläute der Kirchenglocken von Saint Anne, das erste Glockengeläute seit Spanien.

Martinique, du bist grandios. Frankreich, zum Glück hast du noch mehr Inseln in der Karibik!

Saint Lucia. Or: Whether not to go home?

After having spent beautiful times in the South of the Lesser Antilles we felt the urge to move a couple of steps North. From Bequia, it was a fairly long day trip to Saint Lucia. We passed the main island of Saint Vincent and sailed all along the coast of Saint Lucia towards its northerly situated Rodney Bay.

That ride took a bumpy start: Just after lifting the anchor in the well protected Admiralty Bay, I set all sails. The sun wasn’t yet up and it was still dark. Leaving the last rocks of Bequia behind, the wind started kicking in. Yuana sailed very fast, but the steering wheel required more and more force for keeping the boat on course. Yuana desperately wanted to turn into the wind. What was wrong?

The wind increased much stronger than expected, 28 knots from the side, 60 to 80 degrees. With all sails all up, we were simply overpowered and far away from a nice balance between wind direction and force versus sail area and trim. So we reefed the first time before the day really started.

Saint Lucia was intended to be a short maintenance and duty free refueling stop on our way to Martinique. We got the boat nicely polished all around and in the cockpit. Then we hired a rigger to check the mast and all relevant parts of the rig. He was very satisfied with the condition of everything, and so were we. The Volvo dealer however had no time for the big engine maintenance. Most workshops are super busy because the yacht charter business moved South after the storm damages in the North. Upon leaving the country we bought 350 liters of duty free fuel at the attractive price of 0.77 Euro per liter.

So, now comes the really important part of this post. During the last weeks I read in the latest master piece of famous sailor Jimmy Cornell. The book carries the title ‘200’000 Miles’ which represents Jimmies vast high sea sailing knowledge, presented in an attractive autobiographical wrapper.

Reading the section about Southern Pacific infected me with the idea to continue our sail towards the Pacific rather then to sail back to Europe. In fact I never liked the idea to sail back into cold Northern European waters, with socks around the feet and gloves around the hands. So this new idea to sail into the Pacific triggered my blueprinting same as when I got infected with the idea of a sailing sabbatical.

By the way, Jimmies most infectious sentence was “We had no pressing reason to bring such a wonderful life to a premature end.” That sentence really made me thinking whether our own trip back to Europe would come to early? Why should we not sail the Pacific?

So we said: „Hey, we are just eight sailing days away from Panama. That means that we are almost at the doorstep to the Pacific, with our own yacht. That is a super huge chance, category ‚once-in-a-lifetime‘! So do something about it!“

We went through very intense weeks of ‚what-if-planning’. I studied the routing recommendations and the wind charts for the Pacific. We studied the administrative needs to cross the Panama channel as well as the selling chances for the boat on ‘the other side’ of the world. We contacted our municipality and school at home. It seemed that there were no killer criteria for an extended trip. There would have been ways to handle everything.

We would have left the Westindies during the first half of February. Our routing schedule was Martinique – Bonaire – Columbia – Panama (channel crossing) – Marquesas – Tahiti – Cook Islands – Fiji – Australia. We would have arrived in Sydney in late October 2018. The idea was to sell the boat there.

Our heads were deep in these questions since Grenada. Saint Lucia just became the place where we would take a decision. We did, and we decided to turn back to Europe as per the original schedule.

The most practical reason why not to go was that we couldn’t answer one key question: How to take responsibility for the family during the loooong leg from Panama to the Marquesas in case of an extended period of unfavorable weather, and one adult being down with a major thickness of injury? That leg is enormously 3’750 nautical miles long, almost 7’000 kilometers. Our standard traveling time would have been 27 days, easily 35 with low winds, perhaps again considerably more in a state of emergency.

That trip is absolutely doable and hundreds of private yachts are doing it every year, amongst them also friends of us from our Atlantic crossing. There were days where we were totally convinced that we should do it. On the next day our internal indicators pointed into the opposite direction. We gave ourselves the time to narrow down on this outstandingly great question. Towards the end we involved family and some friends. Finally we found a solid conclusion which is the right one for us. So, we intend to be back in Switzerland around July, 2018.

That is our season review about Saint Lucia. What about the island itself? We simply don’t know. There were other priorities which took most of our time.

Privatinsel Mustique

Nach dem wir Grenada verlassen haben, sind wir erneut in Sankt Vincent und die Grenadinen eingereist. Die südlichen Grenadinen hatten wir ja bereits ausführlich erkundet. Nun wollten wir auf unserem Weg nach Norden noch die Inseln Mustique und Bequia kennenlernen.

Die Insel Mustique ist knapp 5 Kilometer lang und halb so breit. Im Jahre 1958 kaufte Colin Tennant, ein britischer Baron, die Insel für 58‘000 Englische Pfund. Nach heutigem Geldwert sind das schlappe 1,7 Millionen Franken. Tennant schenkte der befreundeten Prinzessin Margaret zu deren Hochzeit 1960 ein Stück Land auf Mustique, und schon bald war die erste Villa gebaut. Heute finden sich ein paar Duzend sehr grosszügige Villenkomplexe an den schönen Stränden und auf den Hügeln. Sie gehören gut betuchten Personen aus der Wirtschaft und aus dem Showbusiness. Angeblich trifft man in einem der drei Restaurants gelegentlich auf Brian Adams, Mick Jagger, oder andere Berühmtheiten. Einige dieser Personen vermieten ihre Anwesen. Die publizieren Preise liegen im Bereich von 20‘000 – 50’000 Franken, pro Woche, versteht sich.

Hier kommt nur vorbei, wer mit dem Privatflieger anreist. Man will unter sich sein. Wir Yachties sind auch willkommen, hurra! Nachdem wir Yuana an einer Boje festgemacht und Dorie zu Wasser gelassen haben, fahren wir zum Dinghidock.

Ein Dinghidock ist übrigens ein Steg, wo die Yachties ihr Gummiboot festmachen, wenn sie von der ankernden Yacht an Land gehen. Manchmal liegen mehr als 20 Dinghis an einem Steg, alle Kopf voran angeleint. Es macht zuweilen den Eindruck, als wären die Dinghis Arbeitspferde, die zum Fressen hierher gekommen sind.

Nicht so in Mustique. Lediglich zwei oder drei Dinghis warten hier, als wir anlanden. Auf einer Wanderung lernen die Insel kennen. Auf den wenigen Strassen fahren fast ausschliesslich Unterhaltsfahrzeuge der Mustique Company. Alles wird perfekt unterhalten, nirgends liegt Laub oder etwas anderes Unerlaubtes auf den Strassen. Wir gehen an den Hügeln vorbei, welche die Villen vor Einblicken von der Strasse her schützen. Die Kokospalmen sind genau so gegenwärtig wie die hohen, wogenden Grashalme einer Wiese oder der mit lauter runden Steinen belegte Strand in einer Bucht. Der stete Passatwind lässt die Büsche schräg wachsen, und treibt die neblige Gischt der Atlantikbrecher in die Hügel. Vom Land aus sieht das Meer manchmal so gefährlich aus…

Während unserer Wanderung haben wir nebenbei den Flugplatz gerundet, uns so könnten wir zuweilen dem spärlichen Betrieb zuschauen. Kommt ein Flugzeug an, so erwacht der Flugplatzes kurz. Am Feuerwehrauto gehen für 10 Minuten die Warnlichter an. Zwei bis sechs Personen steigen aus dem Flugzeug aus und gehen in das kleine Bambushaus, wo der Zoll und die Einwanderungsbehörde ihr Bürochen haben. Einmal steigt lediglich eine Tasche mit Golfschlägern aus. Da hat doch glatt jemand etwas zu Hause vergessen. Einen Golfplatz haben wir zwar nicht gesehen, aber man kann ja teure Golfbälle auch ins Meer oder in die Pampa hinauspfeffern, wenn man will. Sind die Golfschläger ausgeladen, so werden die dekorativen Flaggen von den Masten geholt, die Türen des Bambusterminals werden geschlossen, und der Feuerwehrmann fährt mit seinem Feuerwehrauto quer über die Insel nach Hause. Unweigerlich erinnert man sich an eine Miniaturlandschaft im Legoland.

Die Insel scheint so unglaublich einfach und normal zu sein, und trotzdem habe ich an keinem anderen Ort unserer Reise mehr fotografiert. Es ist wohl die natürliche Abgeschiedenheit einer Parkinsel im Meer, welche den magischen Reiz ausmacht.

Im Restaurants Firefly bezahlen wir für einen kleinen aber feinen Lunch 166 Franken, was uns beinahe schockiert. Schliesslich merken wir, dass es in der Schweiz wohl noch mehr gekostet hätte. Wir haben uns mittlerweile echt an ein anderes Preisniveau gewöhnt. Und, wen haben wir kurz und verstohlen beäugt, wen entdeckt? Es waren ein paar ältere Leute, die ihre Ruhe haben wollen. Einige Mittfünfziger haben genauso verstohlen zu uns herüber geschaut. Später stellt sich heraus, dass es unsere Nachbarn vom Katamaran an der nächsten Boje waren, haha.

Wir lieben Mustique. Wenn wir eines Tages unsere Yuana verkauft haben werden, dann können wir uns ja nach einer kleinen Mustique-Villa umschauen ;-).

Da war noch ein anderer ‘totaler Bringer’ in den letzten Wochen in SVG und auf Grenada: Es waren die am Baum gereiften Passionsfrüche zu 2.50 Franken das Pfund. Da gab es keinerlei Zurückhaltung!

Grüsse von den Yuana’s, jetzt in der Rodney Bay auf Saint Lucia