Blogs from Sint Maarten, Central America Caribbean

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Geo: 18.0404, -63.1042 We made it to Sint Maartin a few days before the start of the Heineken Regatta. We had signed on last year and had so much fun as Water Taxi volunteers that we decided to factor this year's regatta into our cruising plans. It works out quite well, as the Heineken Regatta falls on the first weekend in March, which is just past the middle of our season, this becomes our northern-most point. From here, we head south again. The route we take is a funny one. Like many cruisers, we want to be around the 12 degree line (Grenada) for hurricane season. So we leave Grenada and head north from December to March/April while the winds tend to blow from the north. We turn around and head south again, just in time ... read more
Arrival in SXM. BWB - Big White Boat
BWB - These are for you, Mirko!
BWB


Nous avons une vie sociale assez bien remplie à St-Martin. C’est ici que se croisent sans doute le plus de navigateurs; de par sa situation géographique, elle constitue une étape dans les navigations. Séparée des îles Vierges au nord-ouest par le grand passage Anaguada (pas moins de 14h), et située au nord de la chaîne des Petites Antilles, l’île de St-Martin est donc un lieu de repos, de réparation, de préparation et un des points de ravitaillement des plus complets et des moins dispendieux de toutes les Antilles. Pas surprenant d’y retrouver autant de navigateurs de partout autour du monde! Quand nous avons quitté Antigua début décembre, nous avions fait des réserves de céréales (Bran Flakes pour ne pas les nommer) et de salade de pamplemousses en conserve; nous avions pris tout ce que nous avions ... read more
Les BB à bord
Chacun a son passe-temps favori sur Absaroque
Les quatre mousquetaires Poupier et Cie et nous


Nous sommes le 22 janvier, je suis un peu en retard pour vous souhaiter la Bonne Année! Vous savez, dans la vie, on fait parfois des choix … discutables. Nous avons consulté Mason, le spécialiste des éoliennes dans le lagon; et, malheureusement, nous devons changer le contrôleur de notre Air Breeze. Nous sommes donc partis à la recherche sur Internet. Mason nous avait parlé de 240$ pour un kit de réparation et nous avons trouvé le contrôleur sur AliExpress (devinez d’où ça vient) pour 147$, livré sans frais en moins de 10 jours. Cela nous semblait alléchant et nous avons fait quelques vérifications avant de nous engager. Et, bien que nous soyons le 19 décembre, temps le plus achalandé de l’année, nous avons passé notre commande à un vendeur chinois. Toujours est-il que le 15 janvier, ... read more
Cadeau de Noël pour Absaroque
Souper des Fêtes
On conserve les traditions :


Captain’s (B)Log So, here we are! 18°02.005N, 63°05.004W. Still in St. Maarten, still in Simpson Bay Lagoon. Getting a little bit looney, but you knew that already. Where have we been this past month? On St. Maarten, 2 trips to Phillipsburg, 2 trips to Marigot (4 for Kathy), and 1 trip to Grand-Case. Off St. Maarten, one ferry ride to Saba (SayBah - goats), and another ferry ride to St. Bart’s. Otherwise, we have been on the boat, fixin’ stuff. It hasn’t always been pleasant, except for the warmth and lack of snow. We arrived December 27th and our dink engine died. Had to buy a new one. Then a week ago, the dinghy (named Shout) popped one of its tarts (seams) and we bought a new one. Although we had problems with our generator in ... read more
Approaching Saba
Ladder Bay anchorage
Welcome to Saba


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, ... read more
Boat parade
decorated tug
Rising Sun


Wednesday 5th November 2014 With an area of only 37 square miles, St Maarten is the smallest landmass in the world to be divided between two governments, France and the Netherlands. The French name for the island is, of course, Sant Martin, and the Dutch call it St Maarten. Today we visited the Dutch southern half of the island, where the cruise ships dock, in the capital, Philipsburg. Philipsburg is small, compact and very Caribbean in atmosphere. Since it is actually the largest development on the island, the rest must be very unspoilt and not over- developed at all. In other words, this is an island we would like to visit again to explore properly. The day started so well for us. We found our “lost” mobile phone. This morning, whilst getting the passports out of ... read more
Early Caribbean architecture
Walking down Front Street
Courthouse. 19th century


Friday 31st October 2014 THE ATLANTIC OCEAN, ABOARD NCL “EPIC” Before we left Funchal we were able to buy poppies, which was unexpected and pleasing. We shall wear them each evening on the ship. At the port there was no customs check, either going into the port in the morning i.e. entering Portugal, or leaving in the evening. We had been reminded by ship announcements, to take passports ashore for customs checks but then carried them around all day for nothing. This is amazing (a word that our friend Pat says, quite rightly, is over- dramatically used), but not in this instance. There are passengers of 54 different nationalities (and the majority are non-European) and crew from 67 different nations on this ship. Open borders even for non-Europeans? No customs? What is going on? The Portuguese ... read more
Atlantic sunset
Sunbed War  Veteran
Our cabin


Photos for this trip can be found through this link. It was Tuesday, Day 4 of our trip to St. Maarten, and Ray and I must have been getting a little too far into the laid-back feel of the place because our relaxed apathy was turning into outright laziness, like the best part of a day is swinging in a hammock. We were slow to move in the morning, and even when we finally got down to the car, we weren't sure of where we were headed. I worked on some of the France pictures as we lounged around our digs, and we got to meet Patsey, our wonderful housekeeper. The entire staff from desk clerk to bartender (that's the hotel hierarchy, isn't it?) were exceptional personalities with an honest desire to help make your vacation ... read more
Radisson Bark
20140513_0047-072914pers1crop


Eventually arriving in St. Maarten I wondered - would this really be worth it? Should I have just flown straight to New York and be done with this palava of getting there? After all, I had just taken an 5 hour overnight flight from San Francisco on a boring old plane, waited in a mostly closed Miami Airport without WiFi for another 5 hours, and then boarded another fairly old boring plane for 3 hours to an island that from the face of it seemed much like Fiji - bad infrastructure and potential for hassling, and this was also hurricane season! - but boy was I wrong, this island was amazing!!! The apartment I was staying it wasn't that cheap, but then it came with a kitchen, free WiFi, a huge double bed, air-con, satellite TV, ... read more
View from the apartment
Dutch-French border


So this had two names after it the normal island title and frankly could have been equally BOAT WORK or TRANS-ATLANTIC PROVISONING. Both Gill and I were not really looking forward to this part of our trip, but as with all things, it was absolutely essential. St Maarten has two halves – one Dutch and one French, which obviously creates two very different styles of island. After a strong wind forecast and a rolly few nights in St Bart’s we decided to go into the Dutch side and the safe anchorage of Simpson Bay Lagoon. This was a wonderful change as the boat didn’t move and we could get a peaceful night’s sleep, or so we thought! We eventually rolled into bed about 11pm and were awoken at midnight with the biggest and loudest music we ... read more
Lisa's work research!
Boy did good!
Gill's new baking skills




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