Blogs from Saint Martin, Central America Caribbean


From the ship it looks like the hurricane damage was overstated. It wasn’t until we turned out of the port and saw the cargo containers twisted like children's toys that we began to appreciate the force of the wind. Some palm trees had lost all their palms. Others had one or two fronds hanging limply. As we drove through the villages the extent of the damage was apparent. It has been four months and this is the first day of work for our tour guide Marie. The Island is 100% dependent on tourism. Most hotels are damaged. Great Bay may never open again. Vacant lots appear between houses with no roofs and some walls missing. Still, the vegetation is back, the flowers along the road side are in bloom and everyone is trying to get their ... read more

Saturday 12th March, 2016. Phillipsburg, St Maarten M woke up this morning to find both her eyes 'glued' shut with muck. After bathing with warm water she managed to open the left one. The right one was not quite so co-operative. D went to see what the situation was with tender tickets for Gustavia. He took one look at the sea and said to Georgia "this isn't happening is it?" her reply was that it was unlikely but not to say anything to anyone until the official announcement. About an hour or so later the Captain came on and announced that it was too rough to tender and the stop was going to be aborted. Luckily D hadn't even bothered to queue as he already knew the score. The upside to this was that we would ... read more
11.   Mullet Bay Beach
9.  M on  Mullet Bay Beach
2.    D at Rosie's, Mullet Bay

Effectivement, cette année nous avons eu une saison bizarre. La météo a été telle que nous n’avons navigué que dans les « moins pires » conditions, jamais les très belles, et le bateau a eu plusieurs petits bris qui nous ont obligés à changer nos habitudes (fuite du système hydraulique, annexe plus « dégonflable » que gonflable, membrane du dessalinisateur qui a rendu l’âme, moteur hors-bord qui arrête de tourner, bris du capteur de vitesse, têtière de l’artimon qui lâche en navigation…). Par contre, cette saison nous avons eu le plus grand nombre de visiteurs à date : mon frère et sa femme, ma sœur, mon filleul et sa femme et une de mes nièces; nous avons été gâtés car lorsque nous avons de la visite nous prenons des vacances! Et il faut mentionner que nous ... read more
Oh, il est temps d’aller dans une île française,
Le passage entre Nevis et St-Kitts
L’ancienne et la nouvelle!

Central America Caribbean » Saint Martin December 13th 2014

Chris’ Birthday!!! St Maartens is the smallest island in the world inhabited by two countries and it was divided in 1648! Docked at 8.00am and off the ship by 9.00am! We had decided to hire a car for the day (US$85) so picked up the first one we came across outside the Port area and headed off towards Dawn Beach and Orient Bay. Somehow managed to get lost, but we did nearly run over a couple of huge iguanas, stopped and discovered a pond with about 30 or so iguanas hanging around!! Ended up back on the main road, masses of white butterflies about (looked like snow!!) and headed on north, crossing over into the French side of the island! Stopped at Baie de L’Embouchure (I think!) and climbed up to the whale watching platform to ... read more
Sign at Maho Beach
View of Baie Oriental in the French half!

Saint Martin is an idyllic Caribbean island that has completely won me over during this visit. Things are a little complicated here, so let me explain from the outset this is the smallest land mass in the world to be split into two autonomous regions. The capital and the airport are within the Dutch Saint Maarten, and the northern half of the island is French and called Saint Martin. As far as the population is concerned, the Dutch part of the island comprises around 60% to 40% on the French side. However, this tiny Caribbean island has a little more French territory than Dutch. The Treaty of Concordia was signed in 1648 as both countries coveted this beautiful island, and neither was prepared to yield. Regardless, it is no drama whatsoever for tourists who come to ... read more
Bikini Beach
Bikini beach
Dusk in Orient Bay

Photos for this trip can be found through this link. Not much to say about our last day, but, of course, I won't let that stop me. There is only one photo of the day, and it was one we were waiting for all week. Even before we arrived, Ray said we would see an island or two from our Belair balcony, and so far he was really questioning his memory. Isn't it curious how much we blame on age? If a 40-year-old forgets something, his friends will suggest it's an age thing. When he's 60, he'll believe it himself. By the time he's 90, he comes to expect it. Whenever I forgot something when I was younger, I'd always suggest I remember that I did when I got older. Now, whenever I forget something, I ... read more

Photos for this trip can be found through this link. The Last Full Day can have several different feels depending on the attitude of the one experiencing it. You could try to do all of the things you missed in your visit, exhausting all your energy in full abandon, lamenting the speed of Time. You could concentrate on organizing your stuff, making sure you won't leave anything behind, and essentially submit to the lack of Time. You could work toward a sharing of the time in both activities. You could stick to your original plan and check off the things on your day's itinerary, marking Time in your regimented plan. Ray & I made no decisions regarding our Last Full Day; we simply proceeded in our usual timeless spirit. We had driven through the narrow streets ... read more
Blue Bee-atch
Sugar bird sanctuary

Photos for this trip can be found through this link. We took a rather relaxed approach to the morning, knowing that the bigger planes we wanted to catch coming into Princess Juliana Airport would arrive later in the afternoon. We stretched out our balcony breakfast, did some photos –me of France and Ray of yesterday's catch-- then spent some time getting to know Patsey, our housekeeper for the week. It's always fascinating to get to know how others live their lives, especially in such a different part of the planet that requires a different approach to life. So many similarities exist among the various differences that one would conclude that the only thing different is the sameness. After Ray spread out the two pieces of art he purchased yesterday at the Marigot Market, he decided he ... read more
Catch a falling plane...
Da Party Bus
getting ready to blow over the spectators

Photos for this trip can be found through this link. Day 5 on the island, and we're definitely getting into the timeless nature in the spaces of our day. We didn't have to be anywhere by any time, nor be anywhere at all except where we were at any time; but, to keep us current, we managed to be on time for our happy hour interlude. We started the day with our usual balcony breakfast of cereal, bananas, coffee and sugarbird companions. We watched early risers running the beach, and others trolling with their metal detectors for a chance at the big prize of someone else's misfortune. The beach below us was beautifully manicured for the day's destruction by rampant sun worshipers out to impress. The morning haze promised afternoon humidity, and we decided to ignore ... read more
Fort Amsterdam
Fort St. Louis
Marigot below

Photos for this trip can be found through this link. This morning I woke up and Ray was still sleeping. I decided to make a quick gallery of our suite for his daughter Lisa who was gracious enough to share this wonderful place with us. Her normal suite is 406, but, because of the change of week we had to make, we stayed in 404. She was curious to see any differences. When I was done, I looked back out toward the ocean. Ray had been telling me that on a clearer day we'd be able to see a couple islands on the horizon, but the weather of late prevented any such visibility. Magically there it was. No, not the island, but a beautiful rainbow arching over the hill on our right. As I hurriedly setup ... read more
Colorful Storm
Boo Hoo. Boo who?
Sugarbirds' Happy Hour

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