Saint Barthélemy (St. Barths)

Government Overseas Collectivity of Saint Barthélemy (France) St. Barts / French Flag
Capital Gustavia
Currency € Euro
Area 21km2
Population (2009) 7,448
Language French
Islands 1 inhabited
Economy Tourism (high-end)
GDP per Capita €26,000 (France, 29th worldwide)
Links CIA Factbook, Wikipedia Page

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Saint Barthélemy is a small island/country/département of France that is just to the south-south-east of Saint-Martin and is a small and quaint island. Historically it was one of the few in the Caribbean which did not participate in any aspect of the slave industry and that is reflected in today's culture and inhabitants. It has become a refuge for well-heeled tourists and caters to the big mega yacht crowd with a wonderful harbour surrounded by the main and only city of Gustavia. I have never seen a check in/out procedure as informal and easy as that of Saint Barths, although the Capitainerie in Marigot on St. Martin comes close. I've been through it many times now and most of the time one almost doesn't have to break step.

During one trip there I managed to trip while going forward to drop the anchor and break my little toe. I motored the dinghy in to the docks and went to check in and once (in)formalities were finished I asked in French if the harbour master could recommend a doctor with an X-Ray machine and explained that I thought I'd broken my toe. He said that the local hospital was my best bet and pointed it out to me, sitting on top of a small hill about a kilometre across the harbour. He stopped me when I limped off in that direction and said that he'd drive me there. He escorted me to the reception desk and explained my plight to the attendant, adding “Pas de problème, il parle Français” and, upon hearing that, the lady brightened visibly. I was then passed to a nurse in the emergency reception area, who looked relieved when the receptionist passed on the good news about my supposed language skills. When the doctor arrived a couple of minutes later my proficiency in French was the first thing that the doctor was told and everyone seemed quite happy. I then, in my broken French, stated “Je pense que j'ai cassé mon oreille.” and they promptly chuckled or smiled, which I didn't really consider an appropriate reaction to my plight at all. The doctor then (in excellent English) explained that I hadn't broken my “oreille” [ear] “orteil” [toe]. Anyway, they confirmed by diagnosis, took X-Rays, reset it and then told me all I could do was bind it up to it's neighbour for a month and by then it would heal. I had to come back two days later to pay the €50 bill as the accounting department was closed but they didn't seem worried that I'd sail off into the sunset. Somehow St. Barths seems to trigger medical problems, as on a later trip I had an acute abdominal attack (caused by my near-death dinghy engine incident) and ended up visiting that august institution at the top of the hill yet again.

For a map with clickable pictures from this site displayed geographically please click here

Approaching Gustavia, St. Barths Motoring Zanshin I toward Gustavia in St. Barths. I'm coming from Anse Colombier and will anchor outside of town.There's always lots of big ship traffice, from cruise liners to megayachts.
[17°54'49.15"N 62°52'17.37"W (facing SE)]
Approaching Gustavia, St. Barths
Anchor in St. Barths Antique fisherman anchor on display at Gustavia in St. Barths. The fisherman anchor, despite being very old in design and hard to stow on deck, is still used on many boats because that sharp pick digs into many surfaces that modern anchors will just bounce over.
[17°53'44.48"N 62°50'55.63"W ]
Anchor in St. Barths
Boats in Anse Colombier Boats in Anse Colombier
(2009-02-27 20:30:11 DSC-N2 [f/8.0, 10/5000s] ISO 160)
Boats in Anse Colombier
Lone Ranger)"> Lone Ranger Lone Ranger
[17°54'28.94"N 62°51'49.8"W (facing NE)]
Lone Ranger
Turtle in Anse Colombier Turtle in Anse Colombier
[17°55'29.06"N 62°52'14.67"W ]
Turtle in Anse Colombier
Twisted lines My spot in Anse Colombier on St. Barths was close to shore and during the night the wind died down and Zanshin I turned around this mooring several times. In the morning the wind picked up once again and after spending an eternity trying to untangle the 2 mooring lines I'd used I gave up and cut the lines so that I could depart.
[17°55'21.71"N 62°52'13.2"W ]
Twisted lines
Yet another rust bucket. Yet another rust bucket.
[17°54'20.78"N 62°51'56.52"W (facing SW)]
Yet another rust bucket.
Promenade on St. Barths The main promenade and megayacht dock in Gustavia on St. Barths. During the season the whole length is full of megayachts similar in size to the one in the distance, but the anchorage is open to the swell and sometimes rather uncomfortable, even for the big boys.
[17°53'57.65"N 62°51'3.4"W (facing SE)]
Promenade on St. Barths
St. Barths emergency care This is where I headed off to in order to get my broken toe x-rayed and set.
[17°53'39.59"N 62°51'2.72"W (facing SW)]
St. Barths emergency care
St. Barths Megayachts A typical example of the type of megayacht med-moored at the promenade in St. Barths during the season. The crew is always immaculately attired in uniform and seems to spend most of the day doing nothing but cleaning the yachts.
[17°53'55.02"N 62°51'1.65"W (facing SW)]
St. Barths Megayachts
Med-mooring in St. Barths The large yachts all med-moor in St. Barths. The anchor(s) are dropped and set, with the help of divers from the port, a long way into the port and then the boats are backed to the dock and once they are in place the whole arrangement is tightened. This way quite a few boats will fit in a short space and this is the system prevalent in the Mediterranean, hence the name.
[17°53'54.34"N 62°51'1.28"W (facing NW)]
Med-mooring in St. Barths
Flamands Beach on St. Barths The picturesque Flamands (Flemish) beach on the windward side of St. Barths.
(2014-03-18 14:24:15 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/7.1, 1/100s] ISO 100)
Flamands Beach on St. Barths
Gustavia exterior anchorage Zanshin is in there, too - in the distance.
(2014-03-16 12:08:24 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.0, 1/160s] ISO 100)
Gustavia exterior anchorage
Landing at St. Barths This aircraft just cleared the roundabout at the top of the hill and is aiming for a touchdown on the short, sloping and very difficult St. Barths airport runway.
(2014-03-16 12:47:29 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/6.3, 1/125s] ISO 100)
Landing at St. Barths
Rays of sunlight at sunset Another beautiful Caribbean sunset seen from St. Barths
(2014-02-25 18:13:55 NIKON D7100 with a "70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6" lens. [f/10.0, 1/250s] ISO 100)
Rays of sunlight at sunset
Wide stern of Serene The stern of Serene is wider than my boat is long!
[17°54'27.54"N 62°52'10.73"W ]
Wide stern of Serene
Colombier looking at Fourchue and St. Martin From atop the hill overlooking Anse Colombier on St. Barths one can see Ile Fourchue in the foreground and St. Martin in the background.
(2014-03-18 15:33:42 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.0, 1/320s] ISO 100)
Colombier looking at Fourchue and St. Martin
Fourchue anchorage Boats anchored in the lee side of Ile Fourchue, belonging to St. Barths.
(2014-02-23 17:24:11 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/640s] ISO 100)
Fourchue anchorage
Keith and Kendra post-dive Keith and his daughter Kendra on Zanshin after our dives at Ile Fourchue.
[17°57'21.65"N 62°54'23.13"W (facing NW)]
Keith and Kendra post-dive
Ile Fourchue shoreline with stranded cat The barren shoreline of Ile Fourchue with the remains of a stranded catamaran on the rocks.
[17°57'21.87"N 62°54'18.34"W (facing NW)]
Ile Fourchue shoreline with stranded cat
Ile Fourchue from above Looking down on the anchorage with Zanshin from the top of the hills on Ile Fourchue
[17°57'27.24"N 62°54'1.66"W (facing W)]
Ile Fourchue from above
Airplane approaching Desi capturing a plane coming in to land at St. Barths airport.
(2012-03-05 17:07:39 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/7.1, 1/1000s] ISO 125 Focus 1.50m)
Airplane approaching
Agathe and Desi toasting Agathe and Desi toasting to happy hour aboard Zanshin in Anse Colombier, St. Barths.
(2012-03-06 18:19:08 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/3.8, 1/60s] ISO 800 Focus 2.24m)
Agathe and Desi toasting
Desi and Agathe on St. Barths Taken from the hill above the port of Gustavia on St. Barths.
[17°54'0.49"N 62°51'1.98"W (facing S)]
Desi and Agathe on St. Barths
St. Barths Cemetary This is by far the most colorful cemetary that I've ever seen. Despite the tropical climate the flower, for the most part, won't wilt as they are made of plastic.
[17°54'15.2"N 62°51'9.16"W (facing NW)]
St. Barths Cemetary
580 views since 2017-02-04, page last modified on 2017-04-18.