After a night spent rocking and rolling amongst the crowds of boats in Anse du Corossol just outside the harbor of Gustavia, St. Barts’, we were informed by the Capitainerie that we were in fact on a private mooring ball. Apparently there are no public moorings in Gustavia. Well that was bad news as we would have to leave right away but which turned out to be very good news as we ended up discovering a wonderful bay just minutes away. Anse du Colombier is a secluded bay surrounded by steep, craggy hills that enclose a perfect beach.
A look at Anse du Colombier
Perfect in it’s soft creamy sand. Perfect in that it can only be reached either by boat or hiking in on a tiny trail from Anse des Flamands and of course perfect because there were plenty of available public mooring balls for the taking.
As I picked up a mooring close to the beach I heard someone laughing in the water close to the ball. I looked down and realized it was one of a group of Germans that we had met while anchored close to Pinel Island, St-Martin. It is so common to find oneself bumping into the same boats as you cruise around the islands. It’s such a great way to meet people who are enjoying the same spots as you and also a great way of learning the area as everyone shares information. We were thinking of changing moorings and since they had been in the bay longer my swimmer let us know which area of the bay was more protected.
After a relaxing breakfast and a morning of work, I decided to check out the trail that leads to Anse des Flamands. I feel it is important to actually experience activities that I am going to recommend to our guests. How else do I know what level of fitness you need or the best clothing and preparation required? There isn’t a wharf in Anse du Colombier so if you want to take the trail you either have to beach the tender or swim in. I chose to swim as it really wasn’t that far and it was a beautiful day. Plan to take a water bottle, a set of dry clothes, small towel, hat, camera and most importantly good shoes. I’ve got a pair of “Keen” water/hiking sandals that are great for sailing, hiking and perfect for swimming in waters where there might be rough rocks, coral or sea urchins. You definitely don’t want to step on those. Once all of this was stuffed in a dry bag I headed off to shore in bathing suit and swimming goggles.
Leaving the boat for shore.
I knew from the cruising guide that the walk should take about ½ an hour and take me along a ridge to the beach at Anse des Flamands. The cruising guide did not prepare me for the beautiful and dramatic hike that took me along the edge of cliffs above pounding clear jade coloured waters.
Now for that hike…
It is a single path that winds high above the water’s edge on the windward side of the island. You have a dramatic vista of Ile Fourchue in the distance.
Ile Fourchue through the cacti
Closer up you walk through tall cacti, flowering shrubs and climb over and through outcrops of volcanic rock.
Massive volcanic rock with carved steps.
I passed several land turtles in their gold and amber shells, bright green lizards speeding into the undergrowth and even a baby kid with her mother goat who was tattooed with a white heart on her side.
Wild life along the way
What I didn’t meet were crowds of people. It was so soothing to be out in all this nature quietly hiking through such dramatic scenery. After about 20 minutes of a reasonable climb the beach of Anse des Flamands came into view.
After about 20 minutes hike Anse des Flamands came into view
Anse des Flamands
Another gorgeous beach but this time with crashing waves, the same golden sand but surrounded by colorful village houses and sweeping, modern villas. I decided to walk through the village and then take the beach back to the trail.
A walk to the village of Anse des Flamands
The village has a few little shops, guest houses and hotels and has that truly “St. Barth’s” feel to it. Quaint, charming, relaxed and oh so sophisticated. Flowering shrubs and palms vie for space.
A villa in Anse des Flamands
Flowers along the way
Signs warn residents and visitors alike to be careful of the turtles and lizards. The pace is most definitely relaxed.
Once through the little village, I headed for the beach. People were having drinks under umbrellas at one of the hotel beach bars. Sun bathers were enjoying the last warm rays and a determined single jogger was working up a sweat. Since the day was getting on I decided not to stop but walk the beach and head back so not to walk the trail in the waning light. I passed the same turtle that I head met on the way in. Seems I was definitely making better time than him as he had move about 3 feet since our last meeting.
As I mounted the last bit of hill the masts from moored boats came into view. Almost there and all that remained was a final refreshing swim back to the boat. All in all a wonderful way to spend a few hours off the boat discovering a bit of St. Barts.
Welcoming view of masts from Anse du Colombier
Final climb down to the beach