Tuesday, 21 April 2015

St.Martin and Anguilla. A visit with Sammy.

  After five rolly nights at St. Barth's it felt good to up anchor ( 7am. Sun. 29th March) and sail the approx. 16 nm down wind to St.Martin. It also felt good to be arriving at the next port of call within daylight hours, I much prefer to be tucked up in my bed at night, all night, asleep, than be on watch out on the high seas!

 The Island of St. Martin in made up of two countries, the Dutch side called Sint Maarten, and the French side, St. Martin. Fortunately, the powers that be have made it easy for cruisers and visiting tourists. Once you have checked in with customs/immigration in either country you are then free to move around the Island at will, on land or by dingy. That's not the case with your boat though. When moving it from a French anchorage to the Dutch side, or vice versa, you must clear customs with both countries.  

 We had decided to clear in at Simpson Bay Lagoon on the Dutch side. There is a swing bridge which has set opening hours for in-bound and out-bound boat traffic. We made the 11.30am opening and were thru into the huge lagoon.  The lagoon has many marina's, full of mega yachts, and is also a popular spot for cruisers because of the many boat stores and services offered here.  We anchored near what turned out to be one end of the airports runway and so had both small and large planes taking off overhead thru out the day, kind of neat actually.

Sammy's plane over Maho Beach

The next day was spent on boat "stuff" and stocking up with food in preparation for the arrival of my birthday present the following day. Sammy!!  She arrived right on time and with a big smile on her face, is it any wonder.  We were able to leave the dingy at a bar right across from the airport terminal, which saved us from having to take a bus or taxi ride. From there we walked past the airport to the other end of the runway, which ends at Maho Bay. The planes come in really low right over the beach here. They also line up here before take off and people hang on to the chain link fence( which separates the runway from the beach) for dear life as the planes rev their engines for take off. Its hilarious to watch ( safely from the sidelines) as anything on the beach, including people, gets blown into the sea by the jets engine blast. We were standing on the beach as Sammy's plane came in, it felt like I could have reached out and touched it, amazing! So, a quick walk back to the terminal and we were inside in time to greet her.

My birthday present arrives!
  Sammy and I took the local bus in to Philipsburg the following day. This is the port where the cruise ships come in and the shopping is supposed to be good but we were a little disappointed with it.

Sammy on Sandy Island
 The following day had us leaving Simpson's Bay and making the short sail over to Road Bay on the Island of Anguilla. Anguilla reminded me a lot of Barbuda with it's beautiful long white sandy beaches, the only difference being Anguilla has much more development with many upscale homes and resorts. While there we spent one day on tiny little Sandy Island where you can rent beach loungers and be fed a very nice BBQ lunch. We also rented a car for the day and attempted to visit as many Anguillan beaches as possible. I think our favourite was Shoal Bay, what a beautiful beach and view.

Ian hard at work, Sandy Island.

Walking on beach at Shoal Bay, Anguilla

Anguillan sail boats heading out of Road Bay
Dinner on beach - Road Bay, Anguilla

View from Fort Louis - Marigot Bay in foreground with Simpson's Bay Lagoon beyond

 Sammy's week was drawing to a close so we sadly headed back to St.Martin, this time to Marigot Bay which is located at the far end of the Simpson Bay Lagoon. Marigot is the capital city of French St. Martin, a very busy town with lots of shops and restaurants  and a large vendors market at the waterfront. The view from the top of Fort Louis is fantastic looking down onto Marigot town and Bay and out across the lagoon in the distance.  And then, a week later, another trip back to the airport to say goodbye ( I much prefer the arrivals from the departures!)  We loved having you Sammsy, anytime, anyplace, please come again soon.

Next up, Culebra.  

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