Greetings from the Friendly Island of St Martin. We are docked at Simpson Bay Marina and Steven feels like he is in mariner’s heaven!! Imagine two marine stores in the same harbor!! Our stay here has been a welcome change from the Virgin Islands. There are actually people here with a sense of urgency and lunch is not a three hour ordeal. We love cruising in the Virgin Islands with the many beautiful anchorages and terrific snorkeling and diving but we must constantly remind ourselves that we are on “island time”.
Our passage from Virgin Gorda to St Martin was 9.5 hours and some how we managed to barely have enough time to drop anchor in Simpson Bay put the dinghy in the water, run in and clear customs, pull the dinghy on deck and make the 5:30 pm bridge opening!! Passing through that bridge into Simpson Bay Lagoon is a very humbling experience as you pass by dozens of megayachts all lined up and ranging from 150-280 ft. We held our breath and prayed that our exhaust stack was not peppering each one as we passed. The next challenge was our first attempt at med-mooring. We were told to slip between two docks and drop the anchor and then turn and back into a 20ft (our beam is 19’ 4”) wide space between two boats that were lucky enough to have finger piers. Mission Accomplished!!
We have been on the Island for a week and have managed to see most of the sites by jeep and dinghy. The beaches are beautiful and the restaurants are fabulous. We enjoyed the restaurants in Marigot & Grand Case on the French Side as well as Simpson Bay and Philipsburg on the Dutch Side. You will see Steven’s favorite spot in the picture gallery!!
St Martin has every yacht service imaginable and is a great stop for repairs, electronics and provisioning. Steven made a very big discovery while speaking with a dock neighbor from St Martin who works in electronics for megayachts. . We had been told by several people that in order to have satellite TV in the Caribbean we needed a 24” dish instead of the 18” mounted on Seabird. It is not so. In a matter of hours we had a new LNB mounted inside the Seatel dome and a new Galaxy Receiver on the boat and we are now TV enabled just in time for NCAA Basketball Tournaments!!
It is now February 12 and we are back in the US Virgin Islands. Prior to leaving St Martin on 2/10/06 we spent the night at anchor because the bridge at Simpson Bay has the first opening at 9AM and we needed a 6AM departure for St Croix. We planned to anchor at Simpson Bay but found it very crowded so we moved to Philipsburg and found it very rolly so we went to the French side to Marigot and found it just right!! Actually it was a beautiful night with calm winds and a full moon. It was our last choice because it meant clearing in and out of customs again but it turned out to be a breeze with minimal paperwork and no fees. We hit St Croix on just the right night as they were having their street festival called “Jump Up” complete with Jumbie Dancers, Bands and Food and Drink Concessions. The streets are closed to traffic and everyone comes to Christiansted for the evening. We were in St Croix for the best price for diesel in the Islands so the Jump Up was an unexpected surprise. After fueling up we headed for Leinster Bay in St Johns and will travel to St Thomas at the end of the week where we will remain for about a month before heading south in April.