Bonjour from Saint Martin! (That’s one of 3 French words in my vocabulary.) I haven’t been doing much blogging lately because I’m trying to write for a magazine. I’m almost ready to submit my article! When there’s a huge gap in my resume one day when I have to go back to work I’ll at least be able to refer to the blog and hopefully some other publications. I think this experience will count for something too. Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to. But we’re in Saint Martin now so let’s talk about being in a new country!
So the British only gave us a month to cruise in their islands and we had until the 15th to move on or buy a $200 visa. While waiting on a weather window Kaylee, Ken and Danielle (Aqua Vida) convinced us to follow them to Anegada for a few days. I’m so glad we did one last island instead of sitting around Leverick Bay in Virgin Gorda. Though their free hot showers was a nice amenity! I’ve never seen so many conch and lobster on any island like at Anegada. None for the taking though but it sure was tempting. Anegada is known for their spectacular reefs and long secluded sandy beaches so we spent hours in the water pretending to pick out our seafood dinner that we never got. 😉 Only locals are permitted to fish and that’s unquestionably because they want everyone to spend $50 on a lobster dinner. We did some price checking and that seemed to be the going rate.
The weatherman anticipated some lighter winds which was still projected to blow right on our nose and we took it. With 7 other boats in our fleet we ended up on an uncomfortable 79 mile passage over to Saint Martin. If the forecast would have been accurate we would have been alright but winds were stronger than expected. We arrived in about 22 hours and plopped some burgers on the grill at 10 o’clock in the morning. We read to discard any and all fresh produce and meat before entering the country, that there could be a hefty fine for having it onboard. It was too rough to cook while underway and we just couldn’t throw our two little remaining patties away. We were starving and it really hit the spot! Then a quick swim, sun shower and the excitement of being in a new country revived me enough to get me through check in but I was still so sleep deprived.
You see, Trent caught a nap before the sun set so he did the first night watch until around 2 a.m. and I did the rest of the morning. Trying to sleep on the settee was challenging because when Pepper went over a swell she’d crash down on the other side making my body levitate. It’s hard to sleep under those conditions. The center of the boat is supposed to be the most comfortable when in motion and it wasn’t near the deafening roar of the engine either. You still have to use earplugs and there’s no way you can hold a conversation anywhere down below either when that engine is revved up. I admit to passing out for a few minutes on my watch but I always set a timer in case I do. Depending on the conditions I’ll set it to buzz anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. I was playing angry birds on my tablet when I drifted off. I need to get one of those Kindles with a back light! I had already finished a book earlier that afternoon. It was a half moon, clear night and there was lots of traffic on the water.
At about 5 in the morning I was becoming really lethargic so I did some stretching to get my blood flowing and threw out a fishing line. There’s nothing like the zing of a fishing pole to get you going that early in the morning but no such luck. Right after the sun peaked out over Saint Marin, Trent had just woke up, and pod of about 20 dolphins showed up. They were super frisky too. Dolphins are always playful but not like they were on this particular morning. We ran up to the bow to give them some attention and they started jumping completely out of the water. If only I had the energy to grab my camera! It’s like the more excited we got the more they wanted to show off. I just love when they turn sideways underwater and look at me. They’re so smart. That was one heck of a dolphin greeting, as Kaylee would say, in Saint Martin. Those dolphins did it right!
Here’s a funny story for you. Saint Martin is split between the Dutch and the French. Our guide books told us to anchor on the French side and check in with them too because the cruising and immigration fees are by donation. Sounds good, right? First we rafted up to Vagabond again because dinghy motor theft is high and we felt like we could keep an eye on our favorite buddy boat, have more fun and share one dinghy. Little salt is still on the deck and the motor is locked up to the life rail in the cockpit. Dan’s dinghy is a little less valuable and he volunteered his boat. What a guy!
Once we felt good about our combined anchorage holding we loaded up in Plan C (Dan’s dinghy) and went to shore and securing locked it to the dinghy dock. We hopped on a bus….and ended up on the wrong side of the island! We were so tired from our crossing, no one slept, that we knew where we needed to go and must have been in a daze on the bus that we let them take us to a Dutch Budget Marine store. The Canadians (Dan and Lindsay) speak a touch of French but there was some miscommunication. We needed to check in on the French side, also at Budget Marine. Turns out the one we needed was now closed for the weekend and we’ll have to wait another day until they open again on Monday. So we made it safely to Saint Martin but wound up on the wrong side of the island. It was an adventurous mishap that took the rest of the day to figure out. But now that we’ve seen a good bit of the island we know what to go back for and what kind of shopping to expect. Still in good spirits, I can’t wait to see what else this place has in store for us!