Sunday, May 5, 2013

Hiking and Sailing with the Rents.

Julie's parents came down for a week during RUSVM's break between their spring and summer semesters.

I always get really excited when we have visitors in St. Kitts because not only do I get to show off this beautiful island, but I also get to experience many new parts of it myself.

Julie and I sat on our porch and could see her parents' plane coming in for a landing. How cool is that?

We waited just a little and headed to the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. When an airplane comes in, as American Airlines does everyday, it looks like every taxi in St. Kitts is there waiting for business. Julie and I entertained ourselves by reading all the taxi bus names and throwing out smart quips about each one.

I really like this taxi bus. I need to get one of these.

The DHL van showed up and as soon as he pulled out the UPS van showed up too.

Don't these taxi vans have character?

One car in particular looked like an overloaded clown car and when the passenger got out of the back seat he knocked the plastic wheel molding off and then fixed it but stared at it for some time. It would've been great to have my video camera for that one.

Clown Car??

"Darn thing, why do they make these clown cars out of plastic anyways?"

"Hmm, well it doesn't look too bad, I don't think she'll even notice."
Sorry guys Island Babble is everywhere, all the time. :)

Anyways, enough dumb humor. Alas the rents arrived.

Jim on the left and Patti in the pink.
After a good night's sleep we were up early and off to hike Monkey Hill and Sofa Stone. I have hiked nearly every trail here but somehow I overlooked this hike. I heard people talk about the Sofa Stone Hike but it was really cool to see it in person.

It does really look like a sofa too.
The view up there was really amazing too. I need to head up there when I know a plane is coming in for a landing and get some shots of it coming in for a landing.

The Hunt Williamson family again.

On the way up and back we had some friendly bovine onlookers, some with what had to be less than week old calves.
The small bull on the right is obviously not the little one's mother. The little one looks like a baby deer.
With Julie's parents thoroughly initiated to St. Kitts with a steep hike we planned for the next day's adventures. They were real troopers but Julie's mom had a little too much "fun" we said, but never once complained.

Now, a few month's ago I met an interesting man who followed the blog, Bruno. Bruno and his wife have lived here for three years and he wanted to join in on a hike I was leading. During the hike he mentioned he had bought a sailboat and I told him I'd really enjoy seeing his boat and he said, "Sure."

It just so happens that Julie's parents are experienced sailboat racers and I thought they would be interested in seeing his boat. Being true to his word, Bruno sent me an email stating that they would be taking out his sailboat the next day for a short afternoon sail. Talk about great timing! I was just as excited as they were to get out on the water on a magnificent 46 foot catamaran.

The dinghy we had to use to get out to the boat.
It turned out to be a fantastic sailing day as we set out from Timothy Beach and cruised over to Shitten Bay, (It's a historical figure's name I believe) where we moored the boat and jumped in for some of the best snorkeling on the island that can only be reached by boat.

We met some new expat friends on the boat and I got the chance to sail on a large sailboat for the first time. Julie's dad instantly got into sailing "mode" and helped offer some advice and lent a helping hand. He was definitely back in his element. Julie's mom said she never thought she'd be on a big sailboat again. They used to race sailboats in the Great Lakes and in the Florida Keys but this boat, according to Julie's mom was a whole different "animal."

Securing the dinghy
We had winds of around 17 knots and with just the jib or front sail up we were cruising at about 5 or 6 peaceful knots.

Julie and her mom, Patti
I didn't realize pulling up the anchor was such an involved process but it really is.

Pulling up the anchor.

To me this boat was high tech. Check out the dashboard! It has a really nice GPS map, depth finder, and electronic compass. The boat even has auto-pilot that will steer itself in a set heading. Cool.

Most of the water depth is around 60 to 70 feet along the coast and drops to a few thousand feet probably a mile out I'd guess.

We passed several other boats including this Leeward Islands Charters vessel. That's a big boat too.

Of course we had to take the grand tour of the boat. The boat has four bedrooms, one in the end of each hull and two bathrooms. You could totally live on this boat without any problem.

Looks comfy.
This was a tough crew. Just kidding. Here are two shots of some of the crew relaxing.

Moving around on this boat was really easy and the boat was really stable.

We arrived back to Timothy Beach just before the sun set. I liked this picture of Julie and her mom.

The picture below is Shitten Bay. In the center of the picture is the old boat that has been there quite awhile. It looks like a tug boat.

I got some awesome shots from the boat after we got back and successfully anchored. Here is the full moon coming over Timothy Hill. Cool shot huh?

And that wraps up our hiking and sailing adventures with the in-laws, or as Julie calls them, "rents." I think we did a decent job as hosts. In the first two days we did a lot and the sailing was probably the highlight activity of the week, at least for me anyways.

Thanks so much Bruno for having us. It amazes me the great people you meet in St. Kitts. Oh I almost forgot. Everything that I know about sailing I could write on a napkin but this book did help. Bruno did let me steer the boat for a little bit, although I believe the auto-pilot could've done just as well.