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We’re not having a lot of luck in our Gustavia anchorage. I already wrote how the other night, we had a large charter cat drag into us at 1:00 AM. I should mention that the individuals on that boat neither apologized to us at the time nor did they come around in the morning to make sure that there was no damage to our boat. Instead they quietly slipped away, moving to another anchorage. Not cool! Coincidentally, we found them on a mooring at Colombier Bay when Rebecca and I went there to explore. No, I did not go over to confront them about that… it just wasn’t worth the time and effort.

Last night was equally fun though. We spent the majority of the night on watch, making sure that we didn’t bump into (or vice versa) the two charter boats which came in yesterday and anchored on each side of us. On several occasions we had to physically push one of the boats away! Although frustrating, I really can’t place much blame on those guys for this. With the wind all but having died, the boats in the anchorage were just bobbing around randomly, none riding on their anchors. And because we’re in relatively deep water, each boat has enough rode out to allow it to intersect with their neighbors. Perhaps it’s time for us to get out of this anchorage?

Colombier Bay has a beautiful sand beach.

There’s also a bit of surf to play in.

We’re unsure what the remains at the west end of the beach are from.

Our “friends” from the other night. By the way guys, you really shouldn’t attach to a morning ball like that.

Rebecca humors me with a few bikini pics.

I have no idea what this huge mega yacht was thinking trying to anchor this close to the beach. Eventually even they decided it was crazy and moved out to deeper water.

Time for one last swim before we head back to our boat.


  1. Is this anchorage more crowded than most or is this pretty typical?

    • Three issues which make it not so cool:

      1. It is pretty crowded (more than typical I would say)
      2. Pretty deep unless close to shore (25+ feet)
      3. Lots of mooring balls

  2. Hey Mike,
    I can’t tell from the picture as it’s kind of fuzzy on our IPad but what is wrong with the way they are tied up to the mooring ball?

    • If you look at the pics again you’ll see that they ran one line from the starboard bow cleat, through the mooring pennant and then over to the port bow. The problem with this is that the line can chafe through as the boat saws back and forth as it moves in the breeze and swell. A better way to do it is to use two separate lines: From the starboard bow, through the pennant and then back to the same cleat, repeating the same process with a different line on the port side. This eliminates most of the potential for chafe and gives the redundancy of two lines. Although we had already figured this out by the time we got there, the woman in charge of the Warderick Wells Marine Park in the Exumas made certain that all the captains complied with this on their moorings.

  3. There is one very effective solution to the bumping-at-anchor problem. Unfortunately it wouldn’t work for you….
    Sail a slightly industrial-looking brute of a yacht with a really thick steel hull. Bonus points if the paint’s a bit scuffed and it has hefty steel rub rails strong enough to put a decent gash in gelcoat. Beefy external chainplates can also handle this job, if you have a wood hull. Anyone who fears their insurance broker will stay clear, and those who do come too close can scratch up their own hull all they like- yours won’t be harmed!

    I keep hearing very good stories about St. Barths, particularly about the (apparently less developed) southern coast. When we finally manage to get down there, I’ll take your advice about staying well clear of anything with a charter banner….

    • I like the steel boat idea!

      So that I am clear, I don’t mean to paint all charter boats with the same brush. I am positive there are some captains with way more experience than us! With that said, it’s pretty hard to avoid them. We didn’t anchor beside them… they anchored after us. It’s not like we’re going to raise anchor and go look for a new spot in a crowded anchorage as the daylight is disappearing.

  4. While the anchorage sounds a little unpleasant, the surroundings are amazing! Love the pictures!

  5. Thanks for humouring the rest of us with the bikini shots!

    You say that is not how to attach to a mooring ball. That is the only way that I have seen, so what is wrong? There are very few mooring balls anywhere that I go, (and none are ever free), they have a rod through the middle and a ring on top, and you tie onto the ring. What else do you have in mind? It seems my education on such matters needs improving!


  6. Mike & Rebecca,

    1 – The anchorage in Gustavia sucks (ok, ok, you already know that…)
    2 – My experience in most of the French-speaking islands was meeting some great sailors (often at the worst times – aka 3AM and/or in the middle of a squall), who did NOT understand how to anchor.
    3 – Yes, it makes for a long dinghy ride to Gustavia, but I slept much better on a mooring in Anse de Colombier.


  7. The pics look beautiful.
    All your problems with the charter boats are worrying me – i’m taking my Intermediate Standard course on a charter in the BVI’s next month. I hope we don’t annoy everyone like these guys are. And just to confirm, the cat’s mooring problem was that they used one line from port bow, through the mooring, and up to starboard (and not 2 separate lines), correct?

    Be well, have fun, and thanks for all the blogging.

    • Hey Matt. Don’t stress about it. I’m sure you’ll have a blast. The stupid people are few and far between.

      As for the mooring question, exactly. Use two lines as I described to AJ here.

  8. There is one Chesapeake anchorage (Chesapeake City) where I have learned to hang fenders every night. Bumps are that common. Always a small late-arriving power boat.

  9. Cheryl, Mike and Mikayla - Reply

    Hi, guys! We’re having our own anchoring challenges in Cartagena. We had to re-anchor 6x the other day. Of course, the first three occurred when Mike and I weren’t on the boat. Sure glad Mikayla is such a great mate. The bottom here is slicker than snot. Once anchored, we still have to worry about the speed freaks who zoom through on power boats. Anse de Colombier is a lovely place to anchor. Mike and I hiked to Colombier and the other lovely village beyond it.

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