Untouched by the anxieties of a world besieged by a pandemic, the Caribbean island of St. Barts is again busy preparing to party in the New Year’s Eve
In almost every capital city around the world heralding in the new year is going to be somewhat muted.
But not in St Barts. Superyachts are dropping anchor off the tiny harbour of Gustavia the islands capital and already the anchorage is near to bursting.
At midnight, tonight above Fort Oscar, the night sky will be lit up by an extravagant firework display. Over 40 superyachts will sound their fog horns in unison and that may just drown out the noise of the champagne corks popping out of the bottles.
This year even more superyachts are crowding into the anchorage and if there is such a thing as social distancing among the yachts then there is little evidence it is being observed.
Eclipse owned by Roman Abramovich is there as is David Geffen’s Rising Sun. Looking at marine traffic.com I have also found that these yachts are also close by:
- Christina O
- Le Grand Bleu
- Mia Elise
- Muchos Mas
- Odessa II
- Olivia O
- Party Girl
- Seven Sins
- Sycara V
- Victoria del Mar
The pandemic briefly closed the island in March, but by June it was back in business and no one cares to mention it at this time of year when the rich and famous flock to the island using private aeroplanes and superyachts
Restrictions are minimal. The island reports an average number of new daily cases that rarely tops two but that is only form within the 9,000 or so local inhabitants. No one has thus far died or been transferred off the island in an emergency caused by the virus.
Those arriving on St. Barts require a negative COVID-19 test to be taken no more than 72 hours before arriving.
Ashore on dry land, masks are encouraged on the busy streets and inside the famous brand name boutiques. The island’s restaurants can seat no more than six diners at a table.
Although an increase in visitors will almost surely mean an increase in COVID-19 cases, residents don’t seem concerned. Business is business, and these two weeks [over the holidays] are extremely busy and important for the island’s economy.
There’s easy access to rapid PCR tests and antigenic tests, according to Bruno Magras, President of the island, an overseas collectivity of France.
Saint-Barthélemy, abbreviated to St. Barts in English and St. Barths in French, first became a beacon to the rich and famous in the late 1950s, when David Rockefeller arrived and began buying land. In 1978,
The recording star Jimmy Buffett sailed into Gustavia in 1978 and announced during an interview with the New York Times that he was so enchanted he decided he would be buried when that time came along.
Considered to be the most expensive island in the Caribbean today, the island flourishes as an overseas collectivity of France.
Roman Abramovich the owner of the superyacht Eclipse purchased a portion of the former Rockefeller estate for US$90-million in 2009. Sotheby’s currently lists 20 properties for sale on the island. The cheapest is an apartment just 62 square metres on the market for just under US $3million. While the most expensive is over 20 times that.