Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fun times in St Maarten/Martin

The last two weeks in St Maarten have gone past in a whirl. After nearly 12 days anchored in the rolly Simpson Bay on the Dutch side, Sim and I could stand it no longer, so we lifted the anchor and took Alianna through the bridge and inside to the lagoon. The island is actually two countries living side by side. St Maarten is the Dutch side while St Martin is the French side. Once inside the lagoon we decided to anchor on the French side (because they don’t charge to be here!). The lagoon water is dirty with the run off from land and from the hundreds of boats that are anchored here at any given time. The growth that we acquire on the hull from sitting in this fertile water is unbelievable with more barnacles popping up every day. But the up side is that the boat sits calmly at anchor in the protected waters, at times you would hardly know you were on the sea at all. Peaceful nights are had with nothing but the howl of the wind and the noisy aeroplanes over head….did I mention that we are only a mile from the busy airport and right under the flight path!!

St Maarten/Martin is not like any of the other Caribbean islands; its busy, it’s social, it’s (almost) very westernized. Bars and restaurants are dotted along the lagoon and roads. Mega yachts gather in their masses. There is always something going on. But it is also a great place to work on your boat. It’s the marine epicenter of the Caribbean, this is where you will find all the parts you need or the people to do the job. We have a list of projects as long as your arm. But you have to remember we are on Caribbean time and nothing happens quickly. After 3 weeks of emails going backwards and forwards, we finally have new sails ordered. A big spend for us so very exciting (sadly this is the kind of shopping I get excited about these days, not forgetting marine stores and my old favourite – the supermarkets, which are excellent here). We have been in a working, fixing, mending, eating, drinking, social frenzy. Some days Sim and I go for a walk on the beach outside the lagoon with a swim in the sea and some time to chill out. Sim loves it, as the women generally take the French approach to swimwear and sunbathing. Last week a small brigantine called Tres Hombres tied up to the Yacht club dock. They had an open day so Sim and I visited the motley crew who despite their shabby appearances are trying to introduce an eco friendly, sailing cargo ship – which is not really a new concept at all but an appreciation for the old sailing days and their lower impact on the environment. With their engineless vessel they sail up and down the Caribbean, up to New York and across the Atlantic delievering fair trade with fair transport. and Good Luck to them.

Last night we went to a customer appreciation party held by Budget Marine, one of the big chandlers here. We met after it had got dark (shock horror we cruisers tend to go out when its daylight and return when it gets dark)and had a wonderful time with friends and a free bar (all night), free food (all night), free give aways, and a rock band!! Sadly we all thought we were rock stars too for the night as we took to the dance floor with a little too much air guitar but thankfully I don’t think anyone noticed as they were all doing the same thing!

1 comment:

  1. Could you add captions to your pix. I think it would be nice to know the names of the people and objects.