Thursday, June 13, 2013

St Kitts – also known as St Christopher –Our Lucky Mojo?

St Kitts – formally known as St Christopher Island – is where we have been docked for the past week. I like this description of St Christopher – the patron saint from Lucky Mojo  ( - rather than the Wikipedia definition and was so tickled with it – I wanted to include it in my blog. I am not Catholic – I’m Episcopal – or as Ann Miller says: “Light Catholic”!!!
                                   SAINT CHRISTOPHER

The one-time Catholic patron saint of travelers, Saint Christopher -- whose name means "Christ carrier" -- is not mentioned in the Bible. While there may have been a 3rd century Greek martyr named Christopher, the story told of him is now generally acknowledged to be a 12th century addendum to the Christian canon. Christopher is typically depicted as a tall, middle-aged, bearded man with a staff who wades across a river carrying the Christ child on his shoulders. As the story goes, the extremely robust Christopher devoted his life to carrying people across an otherwise unfordable stream. One day a little child appeared before him and asked to be carried across. To Christopher's surprise, as he forded the river, the child steadily increased in weight until Christopher found his tiny burden so heavy that it was almost impossible to bear. When he asked the holy babe why he weighed so much, the child replied that he carried the world's sins upon his shoulders. As a reward for his service, Christopher's staff was miraculously transformed into a living tree, and Christopher himself became the Patron Saint of travelers.

Christopher was a widely popular saint, and was especially revered by mariners, ferrymen, and travelers. His feast day was July 25th, except in Greece, where it was celebrated on March 9th. In modern times a major center of his cult was in Italy and among Italian-Americans, a fact that did not stop the Vatican from de-canonizing him during a late 20th century purge of the list of saints. Saint Christopher medals and holy cards are more difficult to find now that his status has been downgraded to that of a mere legend, but they are still being manufactured and many Mexican and Italian Catholics still believe that his image is the best amulet to carry in one's wallet, wear on a necklace while on a journey, or hang from the rear view mirror attachment of one's car. The enamel and silver Saint Christopher medal shown here dates from the 1930s.

We are currently at Port Zante Marina just east of the cruise ship dock and get to see the throngs of passengers disembarking and scattering about the town in search of finding a day’s enjoyment. We hear the loud horn blast in the early evening – warning cruisers it’s time to return to the ship. 

We are within walking distance to the main town of Basseterre and all the local shops, so we haven’t rented a car and have mostly been hanging locally. There are three grocery stores just three minutes away, plus numerous other shops and eateries.

We arrived slowly – after ten engine breakdowns during the passage – on Friday, June 7th.  We had hopes of getting help with our engine problem from the most qualified engineer in town, David Ridsdale-Saw, owner of Indigo Yachts. Per Caribbean custom he doesn’t work on the week-end – so we were anxiously awaiting Monday – and his expertise at troubleshooting our difficulty with our fuel problem.

Monday came and went…..Tuesday came and went….Wednesday we scoured the docks hoping for a glimpse of him, talked to the people whose boat he was working on, talked to his workmen, e-mailed him and borrowed a phone to call him (no answer). In general we tried to do everything we knew of to get in touch once again (we had a five minute conversation with him on our Friday arrival – with a plan laid for Monday) – to no avail.

A glimpse of the school yard
We tried to get our minds off  his lack of communication, by taking a huge 20 mile hike to the Industrial section of town, to look for an air compressor or an adaptor to fit our bicycle pump – so we could re-inflate our sagging fenders. Our boat is parallel the dock – port side to – and the easterly trade winds were really pushing our boat into the concrete pier. We covered every inch of town – went into a dozen stores – with no luck at finding anything to help our plight. Finally we were directed to a “tyre” store (that's how they spell it here) almost opposite our marina – and we hand- carried our fender to them and they re-inflated it – no charge! We have found the people here very friendly and we are thankful for all the help we have received. We got back to the boat and realized that we had a small electric compressor that we used to inflate our air mattress and Cap fiddled with the adaptor and got it converted to work on our fenders, so that we could take care of that ourselves now. We readjusted the dock lines – making a better spring line configuration – and Voila! - Much less movement of the boat against the dock. The good part of that long exercise was that we found a fabulous restaurant on the main drag called El Fredo and stopped in on the way back to the dock for a late lunch and Carib. I had  creole shrimp and Cap had garlic shrimp and it was good!

We were so fortunate to actually know someone personally here in St Kitts. Pia - our previous Lido Key neighbor –has a daughter attending Veterinary School here in St Kitts. Her name is Sara and she’s a beautiful 21 year old Swede. She was happy to make the trip to our boat and we shared a great evening together. We had Champagne and my Salmon Pasta and salad and spent hours catching up. She vowed to keep in touch and has. We have plans to meet up again Friday for an excursion to Mr. X’s Shiggidy Shack – a neat place on the beach that Cap and I had visited on a previous trip years back. Sara plays volleyball there and so it should make for a fun evening.
Love riding on the Seas!
So, here we are – Thursday – and FINALLY! - A visit from David and his technician Carl. They all got down in the “Hole” (engine room) and looked over the set up. David will come up with something – I’m praying. Cap is thinking of adding a “Day Tank” to the whole set-up – therefore by-passing the demand on the four other tanks, and hopefully solving the problem. There’s much work to be done and on “Caribbean Time” we are worried we will run out of time for our planned arrival date of July 1st with Crews Inn, in Chaguaramas, skirt the hurricane zone Even travelling non-stop, it’s impossible – it’s over 400 nm! So Cap goes about making alternate arrangements – crossing the “i’s and dotting the t’s” – he is extremely thorough with our little ship and his Captain duties. He’s always thinking of the next step. And he’s hopeful that the next step will be to continue the journey to Trinidad. But we are patient. We’ve learned that workmen in the Caribbean are just not like in the US – and you kind of have to go with their flow – or you just get frustrated.  We’re okay with that. We just want to get our Partners fixed and dependable again. We love the cruising life and can’t imagine being back on land again – even after all this! We can’t imagine sitting on a rocking chair on the porch, rather than sitting at the helm of our Kadey Krogen and listening to the sound of the waves lapping against our boat, the salty sea air smells and the gentle rocking motion that has become so soothing.

I think she just likes marinas!

Oh! Here’s David – back again for more information. He and Cap are in the engine room. Cap is telling the tale once again and David is listening intently. I tell him, as he enters, that I am writing about him in my blog. “I don’t make any promises” he says to me. Yet, I don’t get discouraged. He is British; he seems quite the gentleman – beautiful accent – excellent credentials. He has an Engineering degree and has been in the yachting business over 20 years and was Chief Designer at Camper and Nicholson – a very well known yard and a respected position. No one previously has guaranteed work and they all know we are moving on and cannot come back to complain. For now, we are putting our trust and faith in this man and his abilities as well as in the hands of the other Man - above.  

                   Some images of Basseterre, St Kitts - around town during our walk.


  1. Lavinia! Sarah here from the sport fish at Saba Rock. I'm enjoying your posts, and am just thrilled you and Richard are still moving ahead with your adventure. I'm sending you my lucky star that together, David and Richard can solve the fuel line mystery. SO incredibly frustrating. I empathize with your description of Richard coming up from the engine room bloody and having sweated out every last drop of excess fluid in his body. Paul has been there! Engine rooms weren't designed for men of their size, either. I tell myself that it's good for them - they like to feel and act like real men. :)

    I'm so glad you didn't give up! Keep up the posts - they're great! If you make it over to Nevis, have a drink at Nisbet Plantation for me. It's one of my favorite places on earth.


    1. Sarah - I am thrilled that you are reading my blog - and enjoying it! We were so fortunate to have met you and Paul and share such a great evening together. It felt like the start of a good friendship, it is always sad to have to move on. I hope we can keep in touch - we will definitely be back next year! xo Lavinia