And so it began, the RUZZENE CARIBBEAN EXPEDITION.
From a phone call with my big brother and a crazy idea that all my siblings would come and stay with us onboard (…as if that would EVER happen), to my siblings ACTUALLY coming and staying with us onboard, in the Caribbean!
When I suggested to my brother, John, that he come to us from Australia to personally deliver my new credit card, fearing it may not get here due to the unreliable mail system here in the Caribbean, I was actually joking!
I never in my wildest dreams imagined he’d actually think about it. And what’s more, he conned my other brother as well as my sister to come along too and I can’t tell you how excited we all were that they were coming to visit us.
I’m so proud that they made such a huge effort and I’m really grateful to all their spouses who were so cool to let them come! Surprisingly, flying from Australia to the Caribbean can be a logistical challenge. Obviously, there’s no direct route so it’s a matter of at least 2 stopovers and long ones at that. When we last went home it took us 48 hours to get there, not to mention a shed full of dosh. So it’s a big deal to get here.
I did, however, have one concern. Both of my brothers are coffee heads. I’m talking major coffee heads here. I don’t think a day goes by without them starting their day with a morning coffee, but not just any coffee. You gotta understand that they are coffee maniacs. One even owned a popular Sydney cafe for 24 years. So having 2 coffee connoisseurs come onboard a boat that only serves instant coffee just isn’t going to cut it! You’ve also gotta understand that the Caribbean isn’t coffee paradise and we don’t find cafes with good coffee pretty much anywhere. So I wasn’t sure how that would all go.
I thought it was only fitting to commemorate the family event by having some Pierina t-shirts made. Not that I thought they would be fashionable enough for them to wear back home, but more to acknowledge that is was a big deal to us that they made the effort to come out!
The Ruzzene adventure started with a 3 hour sail to St Barths, one of my favourite places in this world, where the water is just as luxurious as the houses and the shopping! It was a fairly rolly but short passage and considering none of my siblings are sailors they handled it really well.
Now I know St Barths has a reputation for being where all the rich and famous hang out but you don’t have to be either of those to hang out there. Obviously! But it’s also a place where I feel that anybody can easily fit in…and we all did that so well!!
We walked around the town and visited some of the flashy shops as well as the second hand shop, always a must! Had gelatos, walked the dock lined with some of the worlds most luxurious yachts and had the obligatory hamburgers in paradise and drinks at Le Select, one of the main bars in the centre of town. Oh, and the coffee. Our coffee freaks were able to satisfy their coffee finding mission once again!
We couldn’t leave without taking a dip in the beautiful water at the closest beach to town, Shell Beach. Not because it’s the closest, but because it’s so stunning. You know, that crystal clear water kinda beach aptly named due to the fact that the beach is made of tiny cracked up shells, not to mention a pretty slick restaurant that didn’t really fit our budget but that lure of the smell of rich fragrant coffee was too much for my brothers to refuse!! plus it was great to use their outdoor shower!!!
The next day we anchored around the corner at the Bay of Colombier which has come to be one our favourite bays in the Caribbean. It’s where we found one of the most beautiful properties I’ve ever been to, although it’s rundown and quite derelict now. The house is an architectural artwork and it is incredibly sad to see it literally falling apart.
It is hard to imagine that anyone with the means to acquire such a property, which is surely unique in all the world, would let it fall into the disarray it currently sits.
It was one of the Rockefeller’s many estates and it’s all beautiful stone, lots of glass and wood and I’m totally in love with its design, not to mention its location. It’s on a large peninsula with a stunning sea view and Gustavia on one side and this beautiful, isolated bay on the other where the views have to be seen to be believed!
There’s remnants of walls, docks and terraced levels that were once strewn with palm trees and sun loungers that I imagine were occupied by the rich and famous of its time. It’s really just amazing, or at least my imagination thinks so!
We left chic St Barths and headed to the island of Anguiila where none of us had been before so it was pretty exciting.
Anguilla was settled by Arawak speaking Indians around 2000bc but was colonised by British settlers around 1650 and has been a British overseas territory since 2002. The years in between were strewn with slavery, famine and sugar cane plantations and it’s now a popular destination for expensive holidays. Not having a car meant we spent most of our time on the coast and it didn’t disappoint, in fact, its really beautiful.
We spent some of our time at Roadtown just chilling at the beach where John thought it was pretty cool that they named a bar after him!!
And the coffee. They had coffee, real coffee, so the boys were again happy. It was also the first place we got to that had some wifi so my siblings had a bit of a wifi frenzy while they could!
There’s a tiny, stunning island a few miles off Anguilla with the imaginative name of Sandy Island which we decided we needed to take a look at. We arrived early in the morning and to our amazement we found that there was nobody else there (a rare thing in any Caribbean bay), so we had the whole place to ourselves. And it remained that way for most of the time we were there, how lucky was that?
Sadly, Cindy had to be back home while the boys were able to stay a while longer. We decided we would do a sibling trip to accompany her to St Martin where she was to fly out. So we hopped into a cab that took us to the ferry and boarded the loudest ferry I’d ever been on.
We walked around Marigot and then headed to dinner and hotel for the night where Cindy left at the crack of dawn the next morning. I was so sad that she had to leave but was grateful for the time that we had together. John, Dennis and I then headed back on the ferry across to Anguilla and back onto Pierina.
Back in Anguilla, Pierina was anchored at Little Bay which has this cute little beach. We stayed here for a few days of more swimming, snorkelling and beach bliss before sailing back to St Martin.
So our next stop was Baie De Grand Case in French St Martin. We arrived in total darkness so had no real idea of what we would find the next morning. I LOVE the excitement of that!
Looking out over the deck the next morning I was surprised to see such a long beach fringed with typical bright Caribbean coloured buildings that had wooden decks that seemed to hang out over the sand. While it looked like a fairly nice place from the boat, once we were ashore we certainly didn’t expect what we found!
We all quickly felt there was something special about this place. I felt the calm, quant personality of this little town descend on us all and we kinda couldn’t get enough of it!
We walked around and found some great little shops as the quest to find great coffee continued, and was found at the Love Cafe, a cute cafe right on the beach. One of those places you could spend hours in if it weren’t for the lure of the gorgeous water almost lapping at your feet, enticing you back into it!!
We snorkelled Creole Rock where we found these crazy fish! They were just so cool. They seemed to be all over the area and they just wanted to swim with us!! Most fish tend to swim AWAY from us, survival instinct tells them to do so to stay alive but not these guys, they were legends and it was great fun swimming with them!
Our last day and evening together was spent having fun in the water and ashore.
We managed to organise a street party on the boys’ last night! Not really, it’s just what happens on some evenings here! Evidently, my brothers are still tarts!!
As they left that evening, I reminisced about the time we’d all spent together. They embraced all of it and took everything in their stride, from a rolly first voyage to trespassing on private luxury properties to lying on white sand beaches.
For me, to have my sister and my brothers all come to visit us and live a little of the adventure we are on, was something I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. I love these 3 people so much!
Thanks for creating some fantastic memories onboard Pierina for all of us!
Let’s hope we can pull off The Ruzzene Pacific Adventure next!!??