Statia aka Saint Eustatius

This is a small island, part of the Dutch Antilles and famous as a trading port. I guess the island was not suitable for plantations. It is no longer duty-free but somewhat incongruously has a huge oil terminal and lots of moored tankers. There is no good anchorage. There used to be visitors buoys off the main town of Oranjestad but none were to be seen now, so we anchored in suitable depth, rolling heavily. It was calmer next day when we went to check in at the port. Sort of Handwashing facilities were provided. There is a steep climb up from the port area up to the main town, where you find picturesque half timbered buildings and neatly laid out streets all meticulously labelled with street names but no signs giving helpful directions (e.g. to the airport or anywhere). Everywhere was extremely quiet and sleepy as we wandered round the pretty town. Not sure if this was due to virus – there are warning signs everywhere – or the funeral of a local dignitary – flags were at half mast.

There is Fort Oranje on the upper level which is being restored, great views from the ramparts. Statia commemorates “the first salute” by a foreign power of a warship of independent USA by the guns of Fort Oranje in 1776.

ANITA ran across the island and climbed the Quill, the extinct volcano. Interesting path through the rain forest to the rim of the crater, steep climb and great views from the highest point.

On Monday we went to check out, to be told by Customs at the Port that we had to go to Immigration at the Airport. A kind person gave us a lift. Immigration at the airport said the island was now closed to yachts. We pointed out we were already here and wanted to check out. But she told us we had to do that at the port, apparently we should have used the phone provided there (it was broken and looked like it had been for some time). We did grump a bit about the wasted journey and set off to walk back only to realise that it is such a small island that it wasn’t that far at all. We finally managed to check out when Immigration lady arrived at the port, then went for lunch at the cafe there. We didn’t realise this would be our last meal out for 2 months. We watched a couple of yachts turned away while we ate, so when we departed next morning we were the last yacht at Statia.

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