2007-11-18

Photos from a helicopter tour of St. Kitts

A company (Leeward Islands Helicopters, apparently no website yet) just started offering helicopter tours of St. Kitts & Nevis this month, so about a week ago, my wife and I went for their 25 minute helicopter tour of St. Kitts. It was just awesome. We've been around the island several times by car, and there are nice vistas from several vantage points, but you just can't beat the view from a chopper. Here are some of the photos from our tour.

Golfview Estates with Half Moon Bay Villas in the background
St. Christopher Club with the Atlantic beach in the foreground and the Caribbean beach in the background
St. Christopher Club with Ocean's Edge Resort construction in the background
Frigate Bay
A view towards Conaree Bay, leaving Marriott
Golf course with the Marriott building on the left and Half Moon Bay Villas on the right
Floating above the rainforest
Neighboring St. Eustatius from above Brimstone Hill
Brimstone Hill Fortress with an outline of Nevis in the background
A view down the west side of St. Kitts with an outline of Nevis
A view down the west side of St. Kitts with a glimpse of Basseterre, upper left; the southern peninsula of St. Kitts merges with an outline of Nevis, top right
Basseterre and Port Zante
Bird Rock with Frigate Bay behind the hill
Calypso Bay development on the left, Horizons on the right
Horizons development with the Marriott and the golf course in upper right background
Frigate Bay with the Atlantic in the background: Marriott in far left, St. Christopher Club and Ocean's Edge construction on the right, Timothy Beach Resort in front right
A view of St. Kitts from its southern peninsula

20 comments:

verbatim said...

please DON'T take any offence but speaking from your photos this island is one of the uglier of the little antilles (it's like st. martin or croatian islands). It is missing lush tropical vegetation and nicer beaches.

It also seems that it is transforming into concrete jungle on every usable stretch of the beach (and buildings are build way too much into the sea). Not sure if this is the right way to become a "perfect getaway" as it is expected from those islands. It will only result in mass tourism. What do you think?

I especially like this picture "A view down the west side of St. Kitts with an outline of Nevis". On this picture an island looks very nice.

denis bider said...

I haven't been to other islands in the Caribbean except Puerto Rico and Turks & Caicos, so it's tough for me to say. I've written before that Turks & Caicos have much lovelier beaches, except that that is all they have. Compared to St. Kitts, we find the Turks & Caicos Islands quite boring, and others who've seen both appear to agree.

Some of your other criticisms I think miss the mark widely. Again, I haven't been to most of the other islands here, but "missing lush tropical vegetation" is something you can hardly say about St. Kitts. :) Most of the island is covered by rainforest. Part of our flight took us across it, and it was amazing to look at it, but my pictures don't do it justice, it doesn't look nearly as impressive on my photos as it does for real, so I didn't include any photos of it.

If you look at the photo labeled "Golf course" and the next one labeled "Neighboring St. Eustatius", there's half an island missing in between - including photos of the rainforest, which I think didn't succeed.

As far as development is concerned, I find it both welcome and necessary. There are two things to consider that are slightly at odds. One is the preservation of the island; the other is the well-being of its inhabitants. The inhabitants, some 40,000 of them, are in debt to the tune of US$1 billion. There's no way it's going to be possible to pay that back without development and more tourism. However, they are wisely trying to encourage those kinds of development that will bring the wealthiest guests. I think that's a good compromise in the sense that you get the most effect for the least sacrifice.

As someone who intends to be living here on St. Kitts, I welcome development with both arms extended. I'd much rather live in a place that is well developed to cater to people's needs, than in a place that's a pristine natural jungle. Civilization is friendly to human existence. Pure nature, not so much.

Perhaps I'll be able to snap a better photo of the rainforest if we do this flight again some time. This particular flight was at 2 PM and I notice that none of the photos looking west turned out very well because they were against the Sun.

verbatim said...

Sorry then about rainforest (i am crazy about them), I couldn't know :). I thought deforestation destroyed most of the natural vegetation cause some parts looks really bald (maybe too much cattle?). Erosion of the beaches is also visible so that this island doesn't have a law that prohibit building too close to the beach surprises me. Some safety margin should be neccessary.

I think that right development on those islands (that's only my personal view) is to create maybe 10 or so bigger resorts other place should be left to nature and inhabitants. When you attract too much tourists richer guests go away. And mass tourism those islands can't handle and doesn't create nice profits. There is problem with tap water, electricity and municipal waste. Especially the latter. But I understand big national debt issues.

Thanks for sharing information on your island. I always like those info. But for living only maybe Martinique would be appropriate for me... I need huge bookstores, real motorways, tons of shopping centres and french culture is the only not uptight in the area.

So you have no intends to return to Europe after you have created "enough" wealth or when you have family?

denis bider said...

verbatim: "I thought deforestation destroyed most of the natural vegetation cause some parts looks really bald (maybe too much cattle?)."

The easily reachable areas were flattened in the past for sugar cane plantations. Sugar production used to support the St. Kitts economy until the price of sugar fell so low that it now doesn't make sense any more to produce it.

The bulk of the island however is still covered by rainforest, inhabited among other things by some one hundred thousand vervet monkeys (or so I've heard).


verbatim: "Erosion of the beaches is also visible so that this island doesn't have a law that prohibit building too close to the beach surprises me. Some safety margin should be neccessary."

They do have some laws - I did hear about one of the local builders that they were required to conduct an environmental study of some sorts before starting construction on the beachfront condominiums. The laws don't appear to be extremely strict though.

Yeah, I wonder what's going to happen over time to our beach. There's not much I can do about it though. I can't do much to influence the plans; they were put in place before I got here.


verbatim: "I think that right development on those islands (that's only my personal view) is to create maybe 10 or so bigger resorts other place should be left to nature and inhabitants. When you attract too much tourists richer guests go away. And mass tourism those islands can't handle and doesn't create nice profits. There is problem with tap water, electricity and municipal waste."

I believe that's the plan. There's only one big resort here so far, anyway. Two more luxury ones are going to spring up at Christophe Harbor, at the tip of the south peninsula. Perhaps there will be another development over the hill from where we reside. That would make four.

The island is currently underdeveloped to my taste. With these two or three additional resorts, I think the level of development would rise pretty nicely.

With 10 big resorts though, I think the island would be pretty crowded. I'm not sure I want to see 10 - but it isn't my call, and it will be some time before that's even an option. :-)


verbatim: "So you have no intends to return to Europe after you have created "enough" wealth or when you have family?"

What's there in Europe for me? :-)

No, not really. Staying here is really nice. The one thing I'm worried about is the level of health care - I've heard criticisms of the local hospital from the Ross university veterinary students, so if anything happens, I would likely pursue an airlift to Puerto Rico.

As for schools, I don't know what the quality of the local schools is; I've heard positive as well as negative opinions. Perhaps the guy with positive opinions was more well-informed, as he actually had kids in the school system here. However, even if the schools aren't the best ones, I'd rather augment or replace my kids' education with homeschooling, than send them for socialist indoctrination to Europe or the US. Yuck...

verbatim said...
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verbatim said...
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verbatim said...

Thanks for adding rainforest photo. Rainforests really look pristine. Should be great for some hiking and monkey searching :)

10 was just some random number :). Just one more thought. Dunno what their plans are but if St. Kitts would like to attract more European guests and have more year-round tourism then they will need to change their nudity laws for sure - as Americans come in winter and Europeans in summer...

The one thing I'm worried about is the level of health care

Probably would be cheaper if one of your friends or your family back in Slovenia just reports you on your local municipality so Slovenia is paying you a health care (they don't really care if you live in Slovenia or not). Then they send you an international medical card and you can use it on french islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Not only it will be free for you but they have the best medical facilities in all of the Caribbean.

denis bider said...

verbatim: "Just one more thought. Dunno what their plans are but if St. kitts would like to attract more European guests and have more year-round tourism then they will need to change their nudity laws for sure - as Americans come in winter and Europeans in summer..."

I agree. In this respect, things are a bit too traditional.

You are probably right that the location would be more attractive to European visitors if there was at least a beach where people can sunbathe and swim in nude freely.


verbatim: "Probably would be cheaper if one of your friends or your family back in Slovenia just reports you on your local municipality so Slovenia is paying you a health care. Then they send you an international medical card and you can use it on french islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Not only it will be free for you but they have the best medical facilities in all of the Caribbean."

Great, so I escape the Slovenian income taxes, and then have the rest of the Slovenian taxpayers finance my expensive health care! :)

This is exactly the sort of behavior that leads to the perpetuation of the socialist state. I don't wish there to be any doubt that I do not wish to participate in the socialist system, neither as a contributor, nor as a recipient. People who oppose the system in principle but adapt to it in practice only help to perpetuate it. This is like paying the mob for "protection"; payment only helps to cement their grip on a community.

There is no other way than to reject the system out of principle. Only when more people do this, and do it vocally, do we have a glimpse of hope that some day the systems will change.

denis bider said...

verbatim: "Thanks for adding rainforest photo. Rainforests really look pristine. Should be great for some hiking and monkey searching :)"

You don't have to search long around here to find vervet monkeys. :-) Drive on the south peninsula, and you see them on the road...

Anonymous said...

Well Done Denis. Your honest and ethical response to Verbatim about gaming the tax/socialist system to one's advantage evidenced your own integrity.

Julia & Cory said...

Sadly, the helicopter you took these pictures on crashed this past week, and they have been unable to recover the pilot or his business partner who was riding with him. They are presumed dead... I've heard only very nice things about the pilot (Mike)...very sad.
http://www.leewardislandshelicopters.com/

denis bider said...

Oh, my... That's sad. :(

I heard that a helicopter crashed on a medical trip to Saba, but I didn't know it was Mr. Huttenlocker's.

I wonder what happened to cause the crash.

Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

St. Kitts is not missing lush tropical vegetation or nice beaches. I've been there and I know and honestly it is one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. You need to visit and see for your self, take an island tour. You won't be sorry

Anonymous said...

Hi Dennis,

Have you considered making these pictures available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page. These are some great shots of St. Kitts and at the moment there are hardly any photographs of St. Kitts there. You would be doing all of us a service and the world can give you credit for the shots. Best,

TheMufffinPost.com

Atalinder said...

Hello.
Thanks to all for all the information.
Is there still any Helicopter tours of St.Kitts.
If yes then please let me know the name of company.
How long is the tour?
How much they cost?

If no tours are avaliable even then let me know.

Thanks

denis bider said...

Hello,

I'm sorry, but I have no idea.

I haven't spotted any helicopters in a while, though.

Atalinder said...

Hello Denis Bider.
Thanks for your message.
I need little more information.
I want to celebrate my GF birthday. Where is the most romantic place for dinner. ( I want to sit ON the beach and eat dinner and celebrate her b day ).
Also please tell me from where I can get the water scooter or water jet?
And I want to rent a motor bike or Scooter. Where can I find them cheap.

Thanks.
Thanks a lot
Atalinder

denis bider said...

Atalinder,

I'm sorry, but this is a private blog. I might help you with a thing or two if you were courteous and friendly, but you are piling on requests as if this is a tourist info service. You'll need to do the research yourself. I wish you success in planning your date.

Calypso Bay said...

It seems that Calypso Bay is also a beautiful spot on the other side of the world as it is in Australia. Lovely scenic photos you have there!

Ryan said...

Great shots. I spent a week there earlier this year. I didn't do the helicopter tour, though it looks like I should have. Cheers!