Monday, March 19, 2012

Life in the Lagoon - Colours of St Maarten

The last week has flown by with preparations to leave St Martin brought about by the imminent arrival of our new sails and the impromptu and surprise visit from a long lost friend of Sims. Last weekend we were relinquished of our responsibilities to Cooking Fatt – the very sweet natured tom cat on Stingo with the return of John from a trip to England. It was good to catch up with John again and listen to his tails from the other side of the pond.

We went to a boat jumble on the French side where people lay out their wares (junk!) on the ground between the palm trees in the boatyard. Sim was in his element with all the different boat bits for sale and I barely saw him all morning. Luckily we just about managed to make enough money from our stuff to breakeven with all that he was spending!

On Sunday we had a lovely walk down to the gorgeous beach at Mullet Bay. Soft white sand and light turquoises seas make this beach a winner as long as you are happy to share it with all the others that think so as well.

At the start of the week it was time to knuckle down and start getting the boat ready to leave. Long lists were drawn up of all the things we needed to do and buy. Water, fuel and laundry all needed to be done. This week alone we have carried 90 gallons of water in jerry jugs to fill our tanks – back breaking work. As we don’t have a freezer we pressure cook meat in jars for use at later dates. We bought 10lbs of minced Angus steak from the cash and carry and spent the afternoon canning the meat into mason jars.

Then on Tuesday we got a message from Stuart. Stuart is an old friend of Sims from college days. Last Friday he was passing through St Maarten and they managed to meet up after 15 years of having lost touch. The message said he could come back and visit us again that day. So that afternoon we met him at the Yacht Club and he stayed the next two days with us. We had a great time. We showed him a little of the night life in St Maarten. I think he especially enjoyed Salsa night at La Bambas - the bar on the beach. Stuart wanted to have a look at some yachts for sale on the other side of the island so he hired a car and we drove over to Oyster Pond on the French side. Here felt a lot more Mediterranean compared to the Dutch side which has a definite American slant. We wandered around lots of boats and took lunch at a beach bar. That evening we took Stuart to Barnacles to show him where are the cruisers hangout. Later we went to Toppers where Sim had an amazing Steak. You have never seen a man as happy as Sim when he has a good steak! Thank you Stuart.

Thursday was Stuarts last day. After running a few errands in the morning and before his flight in the evening we took him along the runway, to the beach at the end. The Sunset Beach Bar and restaurant is the place where topless girls drink for free! Sadly for Sim and Stuart we saw no topless girls but we did get to see many planes land and take off. Stuart was very brave and held on to the wire fence that breaks the beach from the runway. The force of the engines roaring into life blew out the lens in his sunglasses. Clothes flog like sails in a gale, cheeks wobble and a sand storm erupts on the beach as people run into the sea to avoid the sting of the sand. Our friend Jon who has a metal detector would probably find a fortune there with all the bits and pieces blown about. We said goodbye to Stuart after a fun couple of days and got back to the task of getting the boat ready. The sails should be here anytime soon and all we hope now is that they fit!

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