Tuesday 21 February – Friday 16 March
Well I think St. Maarten was just as sad to see us leave as we were to leave, we spent A LOT of MONEY while we were there. The new dinghy and outboard motor which we are loving. A life raft and BBQ grill both of which we did not have before. Numerous miscellaneous boat maintenance parts from both Budget Marine and Island Water World (IWW). Several trips to the grocery store to provision since they have such a wonderful selection. A trip to Cost U Less a big box store, and several stops at Ace hardware which is more like a small home depot with home furnishings down here. Not to mention eating out more than usual, since they have so many good restaurants to choose from it was a hectic but fun 3 + weeks. We first checked into Lagoon Marina since it is located between Budget & IWW the 2 marine chandleries we needed to visit that 1st week. Friends George & Jan arrived the evening after we did, George had recently delivered their boat Wild Thing to Lagoon Marina, and now flew back with Jan to start cruising for a few months. We first met Wild Thing back in July 2010 in the Bahamas then cruised with them up in the Chesapeake and then back down the east coast to Florida and back to the Bahamas that 1st year. We were looking forward to meeting back up with them to start buddy boating again. The 1st week in St. Martin at the marina was busy getting the new boat things mentioned above, but we also mixed in several fun events. Finding my favorite spot in the Caribbean the Carousel, a Bar & Gelateria, we you can get the BEST Italian gelato !!! What a fancy place, never knew there was this much profit in selling ice cream but glad to make my contribution for them to stay in business. We rented a car for 2 days and on the 1st day drove around the island stopping at several spots along the way. The 2nd day (Sunday) we went to Loterie Farm to do another zip line, only this one had an obstacle course of hanging logs, rope ladders, or cables suspended between the trees and the zip lines that you had to walk across. It was a great time in a BEAUTIFUL setting. Loterie Farm is a privately maintained nature reserve with hiking paths, zip lines, a pool and bar lounge and a restaurant , a great place to visit. That Monday we moved out of the marina to anchor, while Wild Thing moved over to Simpson Bay Marina as they were having guests arrive that evening and wanted shore access easier for them. We talked to the dock master at the marina and he showed us a spot close by that he said we could anchor in, so we took the portable depth finder and went out to make sure where we could anchor. It turned out to be a great little spot, only enough room for 1-3 boats to anchor right outside the channel in front of IWW where we could pick up their WiFi signal and be close to the Simpson Bay marina. That week was busy running around with Jan & George and their guests Linda & her sister Debra. Hanging out at the St. Maarten yacht club watching the boats come and go timed with happy hour it is the place to be.
The Heineken Regatta was upcoming so a lot of events were focused on that and geared to all the boats and crew coming for this event. George got on a boat as crew, and that boat Chillin the Most wound up winning a couple of awards in their division. We also ran into quiet a few people that we had met down in Grenada, so it was fun catching up with other cruisers we knew. Another fun filled busy week went by before we knew it. The following week was a slower pace and we made several trips to the different stores stocking up on supplies at the duty free prices of St Maarten. Making plans to go to several anchorages around the island before leaving the next week. On Sunday Steve was greasing the bearings on the main sail when he discovered some wear & tear on the leech line at the reefing points. First thing Monday morning we take it into the sail maker to see how quickly he can get it repaired. Not for a least a week he says, so our plans of leaving are not looking good. We decide to still go and anchor off Grand Case on the French side Tuesday, it is just a short distance ½ way around the island. We make it out the 11 am bridge and are able to sail with just the Genoa sail getting up to Grand Case by by 1. Have lunch on board and Steve goes in to clean the lagoon scum off the bottom of the boat. He is surprised and disappointed on seeing we also have quite a few barnacles even with our new bottom paint job. Tuesday night we go into Grand Case for their Tuesday night street festival, still hard to decide where to eat so many good choices. Fun walking the streets and looking at the street vendors and shops and restaurants. Wednesday morning Steve & George want to rent tanks to finish cleaning the bottom of the boats but we find out the French will not rent you a tank. So we motor sail back down to Marigot Bay and anchor, Steve goes into the lagoon to the Dutch side and rents tanks. And Wednesday afternoon is spent cleaning the bottom of the boats. The original plan was to leave Thursday morning to start to make our way to Montserrat where we wanted to be on Saturday for St. Patrick's Day. With our main sail in for repair that plan got canceled as Steve did NOT want to travel 90 miles south and then 90 miles BACK north with out a main sail. So Thursday morning we went in for a few errands and to get internet access and stopped by the sail maker just to check on our sail. To our great surprise the sail was ready !! So change of plans again, we go to have lunch with Wild Thing as planned to get internet and decide we can now still make it to Montserrat by Saturday. Back to our boat get the main sail back up, Steve goes and checks us out and we are underway by 3. A fast motor sail to Anse Du Colombier on St. Barts arriving just before sunset. Predawn departure Friday morning, thinking we can make it all the way to Montserrat by sunset but the wind and waves were making for an unpleasant trip so we bear off and head for Nevis where we spend the evening at anchor with a 6 am departure Saturday morning for Montserrat to make it in time for the St. Patrick's day celebration.
Link to pictures; https://picasaweb.google.com/103931849054358791487/StMaarten?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMWEld-RwoHrEg&feat=directlink