St. Island Something or Another

St. Island Something or Another


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New diet…wine, cheese and bread! Thank you St. Martin!

St. Martin wasn’t quite what I expected. You wouldn’t know it according to this picture but they did have the most amazing cheese, bread and wine selections. We did finally get to clear into customs/immigration on the French side at Fort Louis Marina. No trouble there! We spent the majority of our time tromping around Marigot Bay, other than the day we bussed over to Philipsburg on the Dutch side.
Phillipsburg was a complete tourist trap. They had the cruise ships and all. So what it was duty free shopping; the prices were so high on everything that it didn’t matter. Trent knew it would be a zoo and I was up for anything so Lindsay, Dan and I made plans with Aqua Vida. Dan immediately found what he was shopping for but we had the rest of the afternoon to kill. Food sounded good but we knew we couldn’t afford what they had to offer near the cruise ship dock. About 5 blocks off the beach we followed our noses down an alley, next to a whore house (seriously!), and had the best fresh affordable lunch imaginable, plus we were thoroughly entertained by its patrons. I won’t go into details though!
Yes sir, we loaded up on cheese, wine and bread on our side of the island. We also had our fill of chocolate croissants. Delish! The French had great grocery stores and we found almost everything we were looking between Super U and Prime Cash and Carry, which was a wholesaler. I found it a little difficult to figure out what I needed once the shopping began because everything was written in French and then you pay with Euros. I have to say, the food was about the best thing about Saint Martin.

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We were fighting the urges to eat pastries all week. It happened more than once!

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View of our anchorage at Marigot Bay, St. Martin, from atop Fort Saint Louis. Trent and Dan are down there in the right corner.

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A little polite conversation with the coconut guy in Saint Martin won me a fresh all natural drink. The milk was sweet and warm. Once I finished that off he cut it in half for us to eat the fruit. It was like eating coconut jello since it was not ripe.

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Trent and Dan are loading up some beer on a rolling cart at Super U grocery in St. Martin. You have to bring your own bags here. It was only a mile walk back to the anchorage.

I could kick myself for not finding a beach but there weren’t any close by. Snorkeling off the boat certainly cooled us down in the afternoons. I scraped barnacles off the keel again. Those buggers grow fast! There weren’t any reefs but the dozens of giant starfish were nice to look at. We had a pet barracuda too. The hike up to Fort St. Louis wasn’t too interesting either. It seemed as though vagrants lived up there and it was pretty trashed, much like the rest of the town. There were a couple of nice restaurants, none of which we patronized, but the town itself seemed pretty run down. It felt fairly safe but we never went out at night either. I think I’m just more of an “off the beaten path” type of girl. I prefer the more secluded anchorages and private beaches. Trent’s the same, thank goodness. It was nice to pick up a few things and sail Pepper away to St. Eustatius (Statia).

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That’s Mount Quill on Saint Eustatius. Can’t miss it! That’s St. Kitts in the background too (next stop).

Bingo, Pepper was one of only 3 sailboats anchored at Statia. Did I mention that we sailed all the way here? Finally we’re going south, not East, what a treat! Vagabond went to St. Barts for a day because they needed water but it seemed like eternity since we saw them the next day in Statia. Customs/immigration was painless and they didn’t even charge us. We only have to pay $10 a night for anchoring in their National Park. This is the first time we utilized our stern anchor because a bad combination of ocean swells and position of the wind made being on Pepper unbearable. Trent nailed it, of course, and we had a comfortable night compared to our poor neighbors who were rockin’ and rollin’.

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Trent’s checking out the holding on the new stern anchor. It sure did make a big difference.

Early the next morning I packed up some water and snacks and we took off for Mount Quill. The volcano erupted 1,600 years ago and that’s when two islands became one, St. Eustatius. It was an incredibly steep hike that was super rewarding once we sat atop the peak. To give you an example of how steep our climb was, when the soldier crabs (hermit crabs) hear us coming they quickly tuck inside their shell, so as not to be noticed, but then they roll straight down the hill, poor things. There were dozens of crabs and you could hear them tumbling all around us. Anyways, we finally rested on a rock that overlooked into the lusciously green crater of the volcano. The birds were singing their songs. What incredible views!

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Just a cool shot of the anchorage from Mount Quill at St. Eustatius. You can’t see Pepper because she’s so close to shore but the mast is visible.

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We are literally standing atop the crater of Mount Quill looking down at St. Eustatius.

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One of the many soldier crabs that crossed our path up while hiking Quill.

Nothing cools you off after a sweaty long hike like a dip in the ocean. The sea turtles were out to play this week. Perhaps because they’re so elusive, I find them to be so fascinating and could watch them for hours but it’s been hard to do with so many other people fighting to see them too. In the Virgin Islands people would literally scream for their friends to come quick when one made an appearance and nothing sends them darting off into the depths of the ocean faster than a crazed tourist. Now that the number of tourists have dropped off it’s like they’re a whole new creature. They’re curious and unafraid. One swam right into my camera. I’m thoroughly enjoying myself here. You’ll see what I mean once you watch this video. Next stop, St. Kitts!

4 Comments

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  1. Laurie

    Monica, love, love, love your blog and reading about your adventures aboard! So happy for you and your friends and this wonderful sailing adventure and look forward to seeing and reading more. You capture your experience so beautifully. All the best, xo

    • Monica

      Laurie, This should probably be a private message but here goes. I am just so humbled to receive a message like this from you that I told my friends all about you. I always looked up to you and wanted to follow in your career footsteps, plus I just think you’re beautiful as a person with the most amazing heart. Wow this sounds like a love letter now lol but really, I think you rock and I so appreciate your sweet message about loving reading about our adventure. On a side note…as I was describing you to friends and telling them how much your message means to me, while on the dinghy going to Nevis together, Dan said to me, “Is she single? When’s she coming to visit?” Everyone wants to meet you know! Anyways, have a blessed day my friend. 🙂

    • Monica

      Yes actually, we have. We’ve seen people using them and had some lengthy conversations with those people too. We have scuba gear on board, are both certified, with 4 tanks but you wouldn’t know it because we never get the stuff out. One day! People that seem to have a hookah use it only for cleaning the bottom of the boat because that’s about as far as the hose goes. So in that way it would be nice to have. We can hold our breath for a pretty long while these days and can get by with just a snorkel. Nice thought though! You’re like a distant crew member!

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