|Anchored inside the logoon|
We left Puerto Rico behind (and all the wonderful new people we had been cruising with) on a long day sail to the Spanish Virgins and dropped anchor only for the captain to announce – “we have a weather window all the way to St Maarten – I think we should take it!” Gee Whizz! While a little disappointed that we were going to miss out on the rest of the Virgins and some of our old fav spots – there’s always next time right? Apart from Grenada, St Martin is probably the island we have spent the most time in over the years, so we have been looking forward to returning.
|A cloudy day in Marigot Bay|
After an easy night sail from Culebra, we dropped anchor in the beautiful Marigot Bay on the French Side of St Martin and took a dip in clear blue water, the first we have been in for a long while, almost since the Bahamas. I love SXM (the islands abbreviated airport name), both the French side and the Dutch. The superb food and the quaint tres chic charm of the French side and the lively, holiday feel of the Dutch. Whatever anyone might say, in my opinion the two are halves are beautifully paired. On either side the beaches are some of the most stunning in the Caribbean.
|Marigot Bay, St Martin|
The only thing that marred our time here was our own faux pas, (things change when you’ve been a way for a while) by checking in at the wrong place on the French side (the ferry port) and being charged more than we should (go to Island Water World on the French side peeps, in Port Royal). But we consoled ourselves in a patisserie with frappechinos, French pastries, magnificent macaroons and beer and soon forgot our woes.
|Oh my goodness the joys of the French patisseries.|
We decided to anchor inside the lagoon. From the French side there is unmarked channel to where the main cluster of boats chose to anchor – which puts you somewhere in the middle between the Frenchside and the Dutchside to make getting about easier.
can be bought from Shrimpy’s but make sure you get him to print out the
waypoints as the ones on the chart are wrong. We have been in and out this
route many times but it does get very shallow – we draw 1.7meters, the lowest
we saw this time was 1.9m. We have been through with a 1.8ft draft on our old
boat. It can be a little hairy. But if in any doubt people seem to go through Simpson
Bay bridge on the Dutch side and then through the Causeway Bay bridge dividing the
lagoon. Make sure you anchor in a sandy
patch as the bottom is weedy and winds can howl in the lagoon sometimes.
|Chartlet available at Shrimpys|
|Going through the Sandy Ground bridge on the French side|
It’s been great catching up with friends we have not seen for some time, at the St Maarten Yacht Club, at Lagoonies, and on each other’s boats.
Sim and I danced to some funky
beats at Lagoonies one night. We trotted along with Mark from ‘Sealife’ to see
the brightly coloured carnival parade in Phillipsburg on another. It was a riot
of feathers, sequins, glitter and scantily clad girls all shaking their booty
to thumping, deafening, whole body vibrating music blasting from the parade
We managed to catch the last boat jumble at Time Out Boat Yard and unbelievably
came away with a few pennies in our pockets rather than spending any.
|Catching up with Mark from Sealife and Lynsey and Darryl|
|All the amazing costumes at the Phillipsburg carnival|
|Last boat jumble of the season at Time Out Boat Yard on the French side|
While we would love to stay an revel in all things SXM and I am left a little wanting, we have decided to move on to points further south.
*Shrimpys is on the French side just before bridge going in. Mike is the main man around here who runs the morning net VHF 10 at 7.30 am and monopolises the laundry for cruisers on the island – he also has internet, water and spare boats parts and fixes outboards.
*Lagoonies – a great bar and restaurant – near to both Island Water World and Budget Marine, apparently also does laundry.
* You can get free wifi at any of the bars and restaurants or coffee shops. If you are staying for a while you might want to invest in Caribserve or Scarlet. But we find a Telcell sim card suits our purpose. $10 for the sim card, $32 for 2gb. The shop is on the Dutch side opposite the shell station.
|Shrimpys -before the bridge going in on the French side|
|Fantastic view visiting friends on the Dutch side|
|Sunset in the lagoon|
|Street corner in Marigot|
|Swimming in Marigot Bay|