St Eustatius, also known as Statia, is a tiny island, only about 3 miles wide, with around 3,000 inhabitants, lots of wild screeching red parrots, roaming donkeys and small flocks of wandering goats. Although so very small it is a country in its own right, part of the Dutch group of islands in the lesser Antilles.


The reason we ended up in this funny little place for the night was that St Kitts doesn’t have any decent anchorages in the North and we decided that we wanted to break up our journey to Sint Maarten / St Martin (the dual Dutch / French island). So we had two shorter sails, one of only 22 miles to Statia, and one of 35 miles from Statia to Sint Maarten.


So, what do you do when you’re in an entirely new country for just one night? Well, if you’re us, you walk to the nearest, architecturally pleasing bar and strike up a conversation with a chatty guy who turns out to be a 62 year old Welshman, jack of all trades builder-come-craftsman-come-women’s-fashion-designer-come-plumber-come-heavy-metal-club-owner who owns an original Nicholson 45’ that he took out for the first time in a Force 8 with only 4 hours experience to his name but managed to sail across the Atlantic with. Turns out that he’s been working on the redesign of the bar we’re in and the hotel across the road that it’s part of, The Old Gin House. He shows us some of the building he’s done, all with his own two hands, and, upon hearing that we are only there for the night, promptly whisks us off in his jeep to give us a whirlwind tour of the little place.


He shows us the views out to Sint Maarten, St Barts, St Kitts and Saba, he takes us to the old stone English Arch, he shows us the shoddy architectural work with bad detailing that we all giggle at. He takes us round the town and gives us a blow by blow review of all the local restaurants, takes us to an ATM, shows us the church and the old slave road and then leaves us, somewhat dazed, to go and have dinner.


He had also informed us that we were anchored illegally, as we were meant to take a mooring buoy (oops). But, we push off as planned by 8am the next morning so, hopefully, no harm no foul.