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Published: January 13th 2015
Whisper has been swinging at anchor in Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten since the 30th
of December. We arrived here around mid morning on the 27th
after leaving Leverick Bay, BVI about 5 PM on the 26th
Planning for our trip here started while we were still in the USVI. After getting repairs done to the boat, we decided to hang out a few more nights at the marina so we could watch the lighted boat parade and listen to the Barefoot Davis band at Tickles. We left Crown Bay on December 20th
, spent a few nights at anchorages in St. John, and checked into the West End of Tortola, BVI on the 24th
. Even before we left the USVI, it became apparent that the wealthy folks were spending the holidays in the islands. Large yachts, both motor and sail, were everywhere. We saw Rising Sun as we left Charlotte Amalie; Necker Belle and my new favorite, Sea Wolf, were anchored on the north side of St. John. One evening in Maho Bay, there was a lovely, Herreshoff style 30-35 ft sloop sailing around the bay. I assumed it sailed away to a different bay where the local owner had
a mooring. How wrong I was - the next morning we saw it on the stern deck of Sea Wolf! Right then and there, I wanted to charter that boat. Until I did some research. A week on Sea Wolf costs $180,000 plus expenses. Expenses include food, beverages, gratuity, dock fees and fuel. Anyone want to chip in?
When we made the decision to visit St. Martin/Maarten we hadn’t determined which side we wanted to check into – the French side or the Dutch side. At some point we picked the Dutch side. It turned out to be a good decision as most of the yacht services and stores are concentrated on the Dutch side of Simpson Bay Lagoon.
Upon arrival, we were exhausted from the 17 hour trip and had no idea how crowded it was in the Lagoon, so we anchored in Simpson Bay. It was pretty nice in the Bay. We could watch the planes land at the airport and had a good view of the sunset. But when the forecast called for 25+ knot winds, we wanted the protection of the Lagoon. The winds have continued to be on the high side or from
the wrong direction, with few weather windows for continuing our journey. So here we sit, with Whisper anchored under the flight path of departing aircraft from the Princess Juliana Airport. On any given day, there are about 85 departing flights, including about 19 to major cities around the world. That’s 19 large, loud, A320 passenger jets flying over the anchorage. We like watching airplanes - our daily routine now includes watching the Air France 777 jumbo take off while we’re having our sundowners.
Since we’ve been in Sint Maarten, we’ve been busy getting the lay of the land (or lagoon). We’ve learned where Budget Marine and Island Water World (the West Marines of the Caribbean) are, where we can get croissants and baguettes, where there is free internet, where the best happy hour is, how the buses work, where the groceries are, where to dump garbage, and where the mega yachts go for New Year’s Eve.
Simpson Bay Lagoon in St. Maarten is known for being a place where mega yachts hang out between charters. All the slips in the marinas are usually filled with 100-300ft boats. When we got here, it seemed like a ghost town. We
were thrilled to see Steve Jobs’ yacht, Venus, up close, and then it, too, was gone. Where did they all go? St. Bart’s for New Year’s Eve. We heard that there were so many yachts in the harbor at Gustavia that driving through the anchorage was like dodging lobster buoys in Maine. After the New Year, the yachts started coming back and watching them motor into the Lagoon at bridge opening times became another daily routine.
In addition to watching planes and yachts and eating croissants, we’ve toured around a bit. It’s about a half hour dinghy ride to Marigot, the capital of St. Martin. Our hike up to Fort Louis took a bit more effort than it did the last time we were here in 1995! But the view is still fantastic. Yesterday, we rode the bus to Phillipsburg on the Dutch side. All in all, there’s plenty to do here while we consider where we will go when the weather cooperates.
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