Monday, April 11, 2011

Sunset Beach Bar - On the beach, on the runway!

In St Maarten, the planes practically land on the beach and where there is a beach; there is also a beach bar. So what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon then on the beach; on the runway and at the beach bar. This may not sound like a great way to spend the afternoon, but it is awesome experience to watch the planes land and take off right next to you.

A road crosses the end of the Juliana airport, on the other side of the road is the beach that looks out to the Caribbean Sea. Far off in the distance you can see the planes approaching as a tiny black spec in the blue sky. As they get closer a crowd develops on the beach and watches as the plane gets closer and closer, bigger and bigger, until the sound is deafening and the plane is almost on top of you. You feel you could almost reach up into the sky and touch it with your finger tips. Then before you know it, the plane has whooshed past you and is screeching to a halt just a few hundred meters away.

If that’s not enough excitement for one day, then try standing behind a bowing 747 as it powers its engines to full thrust before releasing the breaks and taking off. Anything that is not tied down blows into the sea, a sandstorm erupts blasting your bare skin with a thousand tiny pin pricks and the force physically moves you. We were told it was a good idea to take a snorkel mask so you can watch the event rather then turn away to protect your eyes. In between landings and take-offs, our thirst is quenched at the Sunset Beach Bar where flight arrivals and departures are written up for the day on a surfboard and where topless girls drink for free. Lucky for me I had Sim and our friend John from catamaran Stingo to keep me in drinks! We finished the evening with Happy Hour drinks and dinner aboard Alianna.

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