Monday, January 4, 2016


Sometimes voices get in our heads and we can get a little worked up about the unknown. The dreaded Anegada Passage! St. Martin sucks! But we always wait for good weather conditions and we always like every place we visit so we need to just calm down during those fretful moments. We left the island of Anegada around 3:00pm and arrived in St. Martin some time in the morning. As soon as the sun went down we could see the bright lights of St. Martin on the horizon. We had plenty of moonlight for most of the night, lots of company on AIS to spy on, and a middle of the night meteor shower. The wind was only around 10 knots on the nose. The seas were pretty lumpy but only for a little while. There was so much to look at that Andy and I both commented how quickly our 3 hour watches went by. We were kind of dreading St. Martin after hearing from friends and reading other sailing blogs. But some really high winds were forecast so we knew we'd be locked in through Christmas and had just sort of resigned ourselves to it. Well, three weeks later we were still there growing roots! But we had new friends and newly upholstered salon cushions to show for it. In a lot of ways season two marks the end of cruising as a novelty. We've settled into a routine in which we know the boat, how to do things, and who we are as a crew. This is just our life for now. There's less pressure (and, unfortunately, less enthusiasm) to see stuff. So we have to make sure we keep moving in order to not let things get too routine to the point where we start asking ourselves what the heck we're doing out here. Three weeks in St. Martin was great but at the end we knew it was time to keep going.

We decided to clear in on the Dutch (south) side of the island. A large north swell was forecast and the French side is exposed to the north. It was so rolly in Simpson Bay that we decided to go into the lagoon as soon as Andy clceared us in. The bridge into the lagoon opens several times a day and you have to line up to go in. We didn't know that this huge gap between us and the boat in front of us is a big no-no so the bridge tender yelled at us. A lot of boats go in and out all day and it holds up traffic on the roads.

We got right down to business.


Being in the lagoon on the Dutch side was constantly entertaining. The designated anchorage is right near the bridge and all the mega yacht marinas. It is really cool watching the huge yachts try to dock. We saw a lot of close calls and kept the binos at the ready at all times. The huge jets from the airport took off right over our heads. It's an aural assault but we get plenty of quiet time and enjoyed the hustle bustle.

We made new friends with the crew of Sasquatch who invited us to the birthday party for one of their kids on explorer island. This was a very funny chocolate croissant eating contest. These kids can scarf when a prize is on the line!

We took the bus (which is just a minivan) to Philipsburg where all the cruise ships disgorge their passengers. 

With no effort on our parts the vendors dropped their prices by half. We picked up a cute dress for Cubby. 

And strolled the duty free shops.

Then bought a bucket of beer and enjoyed the beach.

The cruising kids like to gather on explorer island and act like savages after they do their school work. Spears, bows and arrows, trails and forts. 

I used to lay in bed at night watching youtube videos of the planes landing at Princess Juliana airport. So I was really looking forward to this outing. We took the kids from Sasquatch and Osler with us and they played and swam in between landings and take offs.

Big one coming in! Some fly in so low we felt like we could touch the belly.

The kids liked to chase the planes. A lot of people stand at the fence right at the end of the runway or on the beach just behind it to feel the blast of the jets as they get ready for take off. One airline in particular makes the most of it and spends a good 30 seconds on their run up with engines at full power. We saw people tumbling down the beach like ragdolls right into the big waves. A lot of people had to swim far out to retrieve their personal belongings. We've also heard horror stories about missing teeth and people coughing up blood. The jet blast is really strong. 

We try to keep up a few Christmas traditions while we're away. We had an improvised Wigilia by sharing oplatek and eating borscht with uzska. Yum!

Santa still visits us! Mom and Dad pitch in, too. 

Guinness 2016. We also got Monopoly for everyone and stayed up until almost midnight playing one night. Everyone went to bed broke and angry. 

We visited the French side which is less commercial than the Dutch side. Lots of cafes along the waterfront and little shops. And the view from Fort Louis of Marigot Bay is very pretty. I hope this is one of our only photos sitting on a cannon. I think there are a lot of forts on this next leg. 

After a little walk it's nice to have a cappuccino and a sweet in the afternoon.

A fun day at the beach with Justin and Jordan from Osler. They're so fit. And we're so...big and round.

Water delivery from Arthur. We tried to use the watermaker in the lagoon but it was really funky. We got water once from the marina but thought a delivery would be more convenient. But I wouldn't use that word again to describe dealing with Arthur. We couldn't wait to use up our "Arthur water" which had a pretty high total dissolved solids content. Ew.

Justin and Jordan came over for a New Year's Eve party while their parents enjoyed some alone time. The kids danced to loud music and then had a nerf fight followed by a kids' champagne toast, dinner and a movie. They went home just before midnight and we all managed to stay up to see the fireworks.

There was a barge right near us in the lagoon with a very impressive display plus fireworks from many of the big hotels all around the island. Happy new year!!
Jan 1 was a recovery day for all of us. Drew gave me a tour of explorer island while Cubby played castaway piglet with Bert.

It's fun to go to the Yacht Club for happy hour and watch the mega yachts squeezing through the bridge. Some of the crew are great sports but others are more stressed. The lady next to us kept exclaiming, "holy mackerel!" Holy mackerel, indeed. 

Looking back at our old photos we realize just how unbelievably disgusting our cushions were. It was absolutely shameful. We were thrilled with our new look and ready to travel in style and to yell at the kids every time they get near the cushions with food or pens.

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