Caribbean Trip. Feb 20-Mar 3

February 20

Feeling a little sore from the mount gay rum the night before the majority of the day was spent in the sea recovering. This has become a regular and effective hangover cure for us during our travels….  Ivans Bar is part of the campsite where we stayed. It is filled with peoples tributes to the place whether they be a picture, a scrawling on the wall or an old t-shirt or hat generously donated. Its wooden upholstery is indented with numerous shells plucked from the ocean. From what I can see the majority of people who come to this small island of 200 inhabitants enjoy it immensely, with its white sand beaches and chilled out vibe. This is the impression that we first got from the island, although for some reason we felt awkward there, as if there was a hidden resentment felt towards us. This was made apparent by the chilly reception we got from the local people. This was compounded in the evening, when after an incredibly garlicky pasta dish we head over for some live music at the apparently world famous foxy’s. The music was really good, and we had an enjoyable night dancing and drinking, after meeting what has become quite a rarity, young people, in the form of 2 girls of 24 on holiday from London.

However our experience was somewhat soured towards the end of the night when we were confronted by a drunk local at the bar, who then proceeded to hurl racial insults at us. I won’t go into detail but the phrase ‘white british bastards’ was used on a number of occasions. Moreover on escorting one of the girls back to her dinghy at the pier, we stopped by a different local, and informed that this was his territory, that he would escort the girl back to the boat, and that if we did not back off now then we would not make it back to our tents as he would cut us. We made sure the girl got back safely! All the same though, not a nice experience.

February 21

We inevitably woke up with a hangover. The rain from the night before continued in the same vane, so we spend the day at Ivans outside playing cards. After this and a couple of dips in the sea, we went up the beach for a Pizza. On the most part our tent held up well

February 22

Having not drunk anything the night before we woke up feeling fresh, and feeling active. While Oli cooked breakfast Miche and I walked across to the next bay to pick up a couple of Kayaks. Jos Van Dyke is about 4 miles long, and we were situated in the middle on the south side of the island. We took the kayaks east along the shore of the island, and then about 500m out to sea to an uninhabited desert island called sandy cay. This was quite an effort as once we had been to the island and frolicked around for a bit a bit we had to come back as well. All in all the trip was about 6 miles, and with mine and Toms Kayak taking on more water then was probably safe, and constantly not wanting to go in the right direction, compounded with the relatively strong waves, we were all pretty tired at the end of it. When we got back we realised that Miche’s camera which had before been doing to the majority of the camerawork, was water damaged, and could no longer work.

That evening I cooked a pasta dish, which was given a good reception, before we indulged in another of the vats of Mount gay rum, which had been purchased a couple of days before. Oli went to bed early, but the other 3 of us stayed up, with myself drinking the rum sparingly, despite watching Tom and miche plough through about a litre and a half between them. Before long I turned in, with Tom and miche returning to the tent a little while later, and managing to fall into the tent, much to my amusement!

February 23

With the night before being the last on the Island we got up early, packed had breakfast, and returned to the Ferry leaving at 12 o’clock. We wanted to leave fairly early so that we could enjoy a relatively full day in Josiahs bay, our next destination. With Tom and Miche feeling a little queasy it was a welcome relief to have a bed to lie down on. After a much needed catch up with the outside world, the others went to the beach while I did some much needed catching up on the blog. After this we took a short 15 min walk up the hill where we found a slightly overpriced restaurant called the Tamarind club. Both myself and Tom enjoyed a good serving of Calamari, getting away from the beef burger, which has become part of our staple diet on this trip.

Josiahs bay is the most untouched bay on Tortolla, the main Island with the B.V.I, and is removed somewhat from the throngs of cruise ship passengers who disembark daily before swarming over some of the beaches. In Brewers bay, where we first stayed on the Island by 10 o’clock the beach in front of us was full of pasty white English people, which we slightly felt ruined the beauty of the place, which is for context stunning. This was not the case in Josiahs bay. We stayed at a Hostel called Near-d-beach hostel, which perhaps unsurprisingly was near the beach!!! We found the hospitality of the couple who ran it Vernon and Maria to be refreshing, from what we had experienced so far on the rest of the Island, with them being very welcoming and friendly. The Hostel backs on to a lake which is frequented by number of brightly coloured ducks and Moor Hens, with most accompanied by a number of ducklings, which was nice to see.

February 24

Not much of interest to report today, We spent the day at the beach, which has good quality surfing waves, but is quite rocky under the surface, and the run off is very steep.
Tom hired a surf board, and attempted to demonstrate his ‘finely tuned skills’. After a few waves caught he then managed to surf into the beach, injuring himself once again, and looking like a bit of a pillock. After the planes brakes failed when Tom was checking out the maintenance a few days before we decided to go and check that everything was ok with the plane in the evening before enjoying a Mexican meal, equipped with lovely burrito’s, and chicken fajitas, which went down an absolute treat!!

February 25

It has to be said that my experiences on B.V.I, had left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, and I think this is with good reason. The place is massively overprices, especially the Taxi’s who’s lobby, having become incredibly wealthy, have a huge input into politics. According to some of the people we have talked to they fund most of the candidates for the national elections, which seems like quite a strange circumstance. So with a slight downer on our visit we left the island almost Gladly with St Kitts and Nevis to look forward to.

Landing in St Kitts at around 4, and the difference between the islands were immediately apparent. For one, even the customs officials at the airport were much more friendly. Moreover Wilf the chap who’s Inn we were to stay at came and picked us up from the Airport, before waiting at the supermarket for us to pick up food. After settling down, having a swim in the very warm pool, we ate Oli’s marinated chicken legs, which must have come from a pretty big bird, as they took an age to cook because of their thickness. After this we enjoyed some very reasonably priced beer, at 3 EC per beer, which roughly equates to 70p a beer!! EC is eastern Caribbean currency which is used from Anguilla down to Trinidad and Tobago, and is roughly 4EC to every pound.

February 26

The first day in St Kitts went by with little to report. Oli Tom and Miche went into the local Town called Brassetterre. St Kitts as an Island which was more impoverished then we had initially imagined. It is still a third world country, which in many ways was good, as the prices of food, drink and Taxi was significantly cheaper. This did in many ways mean however that we probably spent more than we should have done!! One of the best things about St Kitts in my mind is the bus service that operates throughout the Island. The buses are just large vans filled with lots of small seats, and for a mere $2.50 EC, you can get al the way around the island. Pretty good value. The rest of the day was spent by the pool, which was quite a change from the permanent salty state that we had been in for the last 2 weeks.

I cooked Spag Bol in the evening, and we chilled out once more.

February 27

Today Oli and Tom flew to Antigua to Pick up Sam, Ollie’s girlfriend, who is coming out for a week. They left relatively early in the morning, as Sam’s flight from Heathrow came in at 3 o’clock. Meanwhile Miche and I headed into town to see what was what, and to make a couple of purchases. Having had my flip flops break in Normans Cay, and then my Loafers stolen in Jos Van Dyke, I was in desperate need of some more footwear. We found a really cheap and high quality department store in the centre of Town where I go some Diesel flip flops and some Hollister shorts. I don’t know how they could have been so cheap, and I don’t really want to know.

After this we wondered around for a bit, with Miche seeking a new dress, before returning to the original department store where she found a really nice one.

Tom, Oli and Sam returned back at around 6.30 after a slight delay at Antigua. I cooked some classic cuisine consisting of Tuna Pasta. What more could you want.

February 28

Today we travelled a short distance past the Town to Frigate bay to be disappointed to find it filled with more pasty British tourists. The beaches in St Kitts consist of Black and Tanned beaches as a result of the Islands Volcanic history, which I have never seen before and is of some interest from a geographical perspective. Despite the Tourists we had a good time. For the evening we returned back to Frigate bay, where there was a good value bbq, with some tasty swordfish and a good chicken leg. The locals are much more friendly in St Kitts, and they have a lot more time for you, which is very refreshing! The bbq was held at a bar on the beach, and after this we moseyed to another bar before turning in.

March 1

Horseback riding By Miche: Oli, Sam and I decided to do the 3 hour horse trek up into the hills behind Trinity. It was quite expensive, so we hoped it would be worth it! We paid Ruth, got our riding hats and walked up just a few meters behind the hostel, where the stable hand had our horses ready. We were joined by 2 other American couples. The horses themselves were rather shabby looking, (mine had a worm on it!), but we later learnt this was because they live outside on the mountain side and are not stabled at all. All 3 of us had dirty white bays, I had the largest, Oli the second. Once saddled up (western saddles), we left Trinity, following a guide up the path heading to the hills. Our guide, a somewhat crazy fellow, of whom we couldn’t understand anything he was staying, chatted to us all the way up. We walked, trotted and cantered through the fields/ grassland, past an old sugar mill ruin, lots of goats and even a monkey. As we got to the foot of the hill, the terrain changed and become lush forest – I was not expecting this, it was very similar to Dominican Republic. It was very steep in places, but a lovely ride, with lots to look at. Further up in the hills, we got to a locked gate, went through that down a very steep hill (poor horses, especially Sam’s who really seemed to struggle), to a little hut where we dismounted and were given cold drinks etc. On foot, we walked a bit further down. Our guide showed us a tree rope – I had a go climbing it and was rubbish, bumping into the side of the tree. Then Oli had a go and showed up everyone else by climbing right up to the top! We walked a bit further on to an open grassy spot where we were told the Chuck Norris film Missing in Action was filmed!

Our ride back down to Trinity was very fun. The guide, Oli and I started doing lots of galloping. The only problem with this was that we had to wait for the others to catch up, but this did give us the chance to take in some spectacular views of the mountain side down to the coast. Wanting to gallop some more, we waited in anticipation for the green light from the guide for a suitable flat point. As soon as he said ok, Oli, Sam and I raced over the dusty track, knocking into each other kicking up a huge amount of dust behind us – seriously good fun. It took a hard pull to control the horses that seemed reluctant to restrain themselves from their new felt freedom! It was only when we got back that we found out Sam had been doing the whole thing without stirrups, so she had done extremely well not to fall off. Oli’s shorts had ridden up a bit, and so the back of his legs had essentially been waxed! But none of these problems diluted the fun that we had – $50 well spent. All that was left was to rub it in to Tom and Dom but true to form, they were both still asleep when we got back into the apartment; the gloating would have to wait.

March 2

Sam and Oli went into town early to get some more clothes with Oli getting a new pair of Quicksilver board shorts for only $49.95 EC (£11) and Sam paying for lunch. After this the other 4 went to Brimstone Hill Fort, while I stayed at home as I was feeling unwell. They flagged down one of the buses that dart around the islands and for $2.5 EC (£0.50) got driven the 10 miles north to the Sandy Point, at the foot of the magma formed hill. The buses on St. Kitts are all individually owned and oddly are smaller than the taxis! They are small mini-buses that their owners have uniquely styled. With word art on the front saying things such as ‘RASTA MAN’ and ‘BIG BOY’, the alloy wheels, ridiculous sound systems, neon lights and other in car entertainment systems, you would be forgiven for thinking you were in someone’s private vehicle!

The walk up to the fort took around 30 mins and followed a beaten lane through some of the jungle/rainforest. On the way up there, they were not aware that they were being watched by hundreds of pairs of eyes. Only when Miche needed a rest did Oli notice the vervet monkeys looking at them! These monkeys were brought to the island when the british imported slaves and apparently they are alcoholics, gaining their thirst for alcohol from fermenting sugarcane. A few photos later, they made it up to the fort entrance and for $20EC were allowed to roam the grounds of the fort. The fort had been set up by the English as a base to protect the sugar plantations that were helping to fund a lot of the industrial revolution back in Europe. It was built by imported African slaves and had an impressive number of cannons that came in useful when fighting off the French – which we won, importantly! A stunning view from the top. After an orientation video and a brief look around the gift shop they made it back down the hill, past the St. Kitts fat club who were out on a walking trip up to the fort. Another personalised bus brought them back to Trinity.

March 3

Today was our last planned day on the island and after checking out a t 11 o’clock myself and Ollie took the bags down to the town, where we were to embark on the ferry to Nevis. The girls had gone earlier to sort out a couple of girl issues and joined us later with Tom taking the plane over to the smaller island of the country. The plane trip took only 3 minutes, and he flew low over us as we were waiting on the jetty for the ferry. The ferry ride took around 40 minutes, and we stood on the stern in an outside area, with the rest of the passengers inside.

Once we got to the island, we got off the boat and were met by Daniel, who owns a small motel/ apartments called Daniels Deck. The place was pretty nice for the 12.50 a night that we were going to be charged. However the room was really hot, hotter in fact than outside, and with the outside air temperature at around 32 degrees C, it was baking. We dropped our stuff off, and after having a couple of rum and cokes, we headed along the road by bus to a restaurant renowned for its local rum punch called Sunshine. The rum punches called the killer bee certainly lived up to their reputation, and after having a substantial meal, we headed outside where a large fire had been built on the beach. Here we met a local man, previously a club owner in the UK, who had unfortunately lost his wife to cancer, and was left with nothing. The girls talked to him for a while and consoled him, although they were a bit upset by the experience. After this we went back to the apartments, where Oli and Sam went to bed early which turned out to be a mistake. We stayed up drinking for a while outside on the terrace, while Oli and Sam sweltered in the boiling room, which must have been topping 38. Once we did decide to go to sleep we were much better placed to do so, and I got a relatively good sleep, while the others only got a couple of hours.

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