Savannah to Antigua

Antigua

Deshaies

Isles des Saintes

Bequia

Grenada

St Barts

St Maarten

St. Barts

St Barts, or to give it the full name, St. Barthelemy, is a small French island to the north of Antigua. France claimed it in 1648, but then sold it to Sweden in 1784, and it remained Swedish until France bought it back again in 1878.

The language, culture and "ambience" is completely French, but some remnants of the Swedes still remain, for example in the architecture of some of the older buildings, and the main town and capital of the island is called Gustavia; this was named in honour of Sweden's King Gustav III.

Gustavia

Looking down on the town and port of Gustavia.

 

Anchorage off Gustavia

The port is small and many boats have to anchor outside. This is fine so long as there is not a north swell running.

 

I first came to St Barts in 1973. Gustavia was a sleepy little town and so few boats visited, we were able to anchor in the middle of the harbour. It's climb to fame started in the late 70s as it was a favourite hangout for Bob Dylan and Jimmy Buffet. Indeed they could often be found in Le Select bar, the source of inspiration for Jimmy Buffet's Hamburger in Paradise. Buffet is still a regular visitor to this day, but so are thousands of other people wanting to come to St Barts to see and be seen.

Old house

Gustavia is now a thriving, prosperous town, filled with up-market shops for the well-heeled tourists who come. However, if you look hard enough there are still a few old houses that have survived. Maybe this one is the oldest? The land it is built on, close to the port, must be worth a fortune.

 

Traditional house

A few traditional houses have managed to survive in among the new buildings, but I wonder for how long?

 

Fort above Gustavia

There is a fort on either side of the entrance, guarding the approaches. I was a little dissapointed to find that these cannons were made of fibreglass.

 

St Barts airport

The airport has a short runway, with the end very close to the hill. The approach is very scary to say the least, with the planes almost brushing the roofs of the passing cars.

Scary approach

I would rather arrive by boat!

 

Bucket St Bart's other claim to fame is the annual St Bart's Bucket Regatta. Click on the picture to see how we fared in the regatta.