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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ILE DE SAINT BARTHELEMY ........................



CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS is supposed to have called out to his brother Bart, in one of those romantic languages " Hey Bro, do you want me to name this island after you, or do you want the next one?" ............. "Sure, Chrissie, I'll take this one ............. Looks good" ............. And so the island of St. Barts got its name ......First owned by the SWEDISH and subsequently by the FRENCH and who knows who else in between ........... Today it is well and truly owned by the rich and famous for if " Happiness is not a purse ", it sure will be, if you buy it in St. Barts ............. Three cups of coffee with a croissant and a bottle of water cost us $US 47.00 ........ A real good time to leave town and go bush ............. Bush is better anyway, with spectacular views and panoramic vistas ............... We found Captain Arnd on the yacht "ZANSHIN" anchored in Anse de Columbier, who joined us in the exploration............ Actually he led the on-foot exploration .......

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Arnd even showed us the best snorkelling spots and took some wonderful photos of the two of us ............... Including that quick salt water hair wash with PRELL saltwater shampoo ............ Then up with the anchor and nip around the corner to enter GUSTAVIA harbour and clear in with Customs and Immigration ............... They point you to a computer and you fill out the form, all in French ............ And like a pro, I actually beat two French sailors at their own game .............. In and out of there in a flash ..............



Just do a double click on the photo below to sharpen the image and get the magnificence of this anchorage .............. ARITA is in there somewhere ............




The French islands are the most well maintained and a delight to visit ........... This one in particular where all the 'beautiful people' hang out ............ Even the trash (garbage) dumpsters behind the 'Capitainerie's office' were perfumed ......
Really wanted to see whoever does that .............. Now that would be one superb photo ................



The place would not be complete without the megayachts, both inside and outside GUSTAVIA ..............Some were of incredible size, with helicopters and swimming pools ........... There was also the blue-hulled sailing yacht "BRAVEHEART" and the now famous classic white sailing beauty "TICONDEROGA" built in 1936 in Connecticut ......... and then there was "BATTERED BULL"........ Now who would choose that name unless you really, really lost a bunch of money on the stock exchange ...... We are anchored outside GUSTAVIA and about to enjoy that freshly baked French baguette that Laurie is holding .................... With some small packets of new Zealand butter, of course ...........



One of the really remarkable things we noticed was the recycling that is done on the island ................. All trash and garbage is smokelessly incinerated and the heat transfer powers the electrical production and desalination plants ........ Old cars are crushed and shipped out and all other metals, plastics and glass are separated and exported ............... Just enlarge the industrial photo and check it out ............ Which brings us to the Cemetery ............. No, we do not have a morbid fascination for burial places ............. But they always seem to be right alongside the beachfront where we land the dinghy ............... And it is only recently that the penny finally dropped .......... This is usually the only place on the island where it is soft enough to dig ............ Who knew? ............



Even in the Cemetery, the French do it with such flare and panache ........... Everlasting flowers everywhere, and even some real ones and carpets of velvet grass ............. Unlike the earlier Swedes whose plots are stark and brutal like this one in the photo above ........ Now it is said that " You can't take it with you " ....... Well, go tell that to the yachtsman who put his sailboat right there on the beach next to the burial plots ................ Mast and all .............

Still, it is hard to believe that in all this time, no-one seriously challenged the French for the possesion of St. Barts, for when we visited the Fort on top of the hill overlooking the harbor, we found the cannons were not made of iron at all, but made of fibreglass and expanded foam ................ That's a 'cheap shot' if ever there was one ............

And just in case you were thinking of flying into St. Barts for a little boutique shopping or a little topless bathing on the dazzling beaches .............Well, better check out the video first ..............

video

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