Today I decided to see what's changed on South Friar's Bay since I'd last been there. It was sooooo quiet. Now that we're out of season (mid-May through mid-November), cruise ships are only coming in on Mondays & Fridays, and every other Wednesday (next month, the schedule gets all willy nilly). This Wednesday was the Wednesday without a ship, and it was heavenly. While it's certainly good for many businesses in the islands when cruise ships are in port, all the traffic & extra people can be quite disruptive for those of us who still have day-to-day "normal" activities to take care of. It's kind of nice to have the summer to recharge and get ready for the new tourist season. It's also nice to have our beaches all to ourselves again, if only for a few months. Those of you visiting off-season may be frustrated by the quiet, but if you know where to look (St. Kitts Happens!), you might be surprised at how much is actually going on.
I skipped Shipwreck simply because I'd already been there Sunday afternoon. Sunday brings a band from 4ish to 7ish, and it seems like just about everyone who lives on the island is there, so if you want to hang out where everyone else does on Sunday, head to Shipwreck (their happy hours are popular too). It's also one of the few places that is always open, even in the summer, cruise ship or not (although they close early - at sunset/6:30ish). My favorite meal there? Veggie soft tacos. Next door to them is a Stand Up Paddle Board operation that rents boards, does SUP tours, and offers yoga in case standing isn't challenging enough for you - call or message them.
Then I was off to Mongoose, The last time I was there was in 2011, and Ivan (Mongoose) and I got into a very interesting conversation about St. Kitts & U.S. politics. The bar was closed and no one else on the beach knew when it might reopen. If you bring a beach towel or chair and plop yourself in front, you'll probably be all by yourself.
Next up? The Godfather Music Beach Bar. The proprietor, John, is in the music industry here, so that's his bar's signature. The bar (no food) is open regularly on Sundays for some casual liming (sometime after 10am), but the focus is on special occasions from full moon raves, to hookah parties, to mini concerts by known or up-and-coming artists.
Tina will likely be there too, and she's a fabulous photographer. Last week, I stopped in at the Full Moon party to say hi and took a whole bunch of photos that resulted in nothing but blackness and smears. This was hers. If you'd like to have her cover an event or do a private shoot for you, you can reach her at www.scenekittsphotography.com/.
Next up was Sunset Beach Bar & Grill. Olivia takes the summer off from cooking, so you'll just get drinks unless you're part of a group that gets in touch with her ahead of time and asks her to whip you up something. She'll rent you some chairs though and has some nice shade umbrellas already up and waiting.
A bunch of people, some from the Plein Air painters group (meaning "in the open air"), which is part of the larger iFlamboyant group, come to paint on Wednesdays (from 10am to noon). iFlamboyant is made up of creative people who have "come together to promote art, craft, and fashion in St. Kitts and Nevis, and to encourage each other and learn." Today there were three painters, including Olivia. The focus is on acrylic paints. BTW, all the paintings are for sale.
Anyone can come and paint; all you need is your own paint, canvas, and brushes, which you can buy at Harper's Office Depot in Basseterre. In season, Donna Leonhardt teaches very casual yet informative classes, so if you're finding your inner Picaso isn't quite coming out, maybe she can help. You certainly can't beat the view from the studio.
The Discovery Beach Bar is next, and if you go there, you're going to meet Morsi (and maybe his dog, Dynamite). I had a lot of fun with him. He's quite the entrepreneur and very welcoming. He asked me not to tell you a lot about the place because he wants you to "discover de experience," but I have to tell you something. The first thing I noticed was the vegan option on the menu. Yes! He said he's an "alkaline" vegan. I have never heard of that, but when I looked it up later, I discovered that Bill Clinton follows that "diet." You don't overcook the vegetables the way many Ital folks do (you steam them), you don't eat starches (or provisions), and you focus on the nutrients in the food. Everything must have greens in it, and he only uses coconut oil (from his own coconuts) to cook with. He even made me a drink with greens in it; it included callaloo, which I love. I could only hope none of it was still in my teeth afterwards. If it was, he didn't tell me.
Since most patrons want something more than veggies (because they don't know any better), he also serves up seafood & the "best" chicken wings on the island. I'll have to take his word for it, but I like that his idea of seasonings is not things you "shake" out of a shaker, but ground up herbs or other foods. So he has items like ginger chicken wings or passionfruit chicken. His vegan meals follow that rule as well, so (again, unlike Ital food which can be very bland), his food has some oomph. I'll return with my husband, and we'll try something and report back. We can even camp there - that's right Morsi rents 4 surprisingly substantial tents with big airbed mattresses inside them. The bar has solar panels for lighting & refrigeration, and Dynamite will keep watch over everyone. Morsi whips up breakfast, lunch & dinner pretty much any time and every day, so you won't go hungry.
I must disclose that he gave me a free t-shirt (and that healthy beverage), but I would have said I enjoyed myself anyway. I mean, how can you not like a guy who points out that he doesn't have stools at the bar because he wants everyone to look at the beach? A guy who doesn't have wifi because he has beach-fi. He wants you to communicate with the beach & sea. He wants you to relax. Amen.
That left Carambola Beach Club. Jam Rock used to be next, but when they said they were moving back to Frigate Bay, they meant it in the most literal sense; the building is gone. Carambola and Beach/FlyBoarding/Paragliding Addiction, the water sports business next door, were both locked up tight, so I borrowed some pictures from cruise critic to show the place when it's in its glory. Carambola is currently only open for lunch on cruise ship days and open for dinner Tues-Sun. If you're wanting water fun, Beach Addiction is always open, but they're not necessarily manning a tent in a specific place, so call them.
And then you're at the end of South Friar's Bay! I don't cover it here, but South Friar's Bay also offers good snorkeling just feet from the beach, just watch out for sea urchins in the nooks & crannies when you're wading. Considering I was working, it was a rather relaxing afternoon. Now it's your turn. Breathe.....