Wednesday, July 1, 2015

St. Martin/Sint Maarten

After finally figuring out what the problem was causing our compass to go catty whompass on us we set our sights on the next island south. As soon as we were deep enough, Dirk threw the lines out in hopes of catching us a fresh fish. We still have some in the freezer but nothing beats a fresh one and in these parts people are known to catch some yellow fin and black fin tuna. After spening a couple hours pulling sargasso grass off his lures every 2 minutes he finally gave up. There were huge islands of this stuff floating about, so much so that we would have to stop and put the boat in reverse every so often to remove it from around the prop as it would begin to slow you down. Soon daylight came to an end and we said goodbye to the sun. Knowing we would have just a bit of moon to take us through the night
Goodbye Mr. Sun
It was a fairly uneventful night as we kept in radio contact with the various boats that made the trip with us. 13 hours later at 5am we arrived outside of the Dutch side and put the hook down in Simpson Bay to catch a couple hours of sleep before catching the first bridge opening of the morning.
The dotted line indicates the border
We decided to anchor on the French side but come in trough the Dutch side bridge and then through the French bridge at the border to settle in on the French side of Simpson Bay Lagoon.
Anchored between Grand Islet and Witches Tit
We had a hard time trying to sort out who charges what for what. If you anchor in the Bay or the Dutch side of the lagoon you have to pay a port fee and a $21.00 bridge fee for opening, plus other charges blah blah. On the French side you could go through the Dutch bridge go through the causeway bridge on the border and anchor on the French side and not pay for the bridge opening. And if you go to one place to check in you dont even pay the "port tax or fee" which is what We did. He went in, filled out a form on their computer, paid $7.00 and was done. Now that was easy. We did find a place to anchor in amongst what looked like derelict boats all around. We tried to anchor close to a boat that had people on them,safety in numbers, found a place right in front of, get this, the Witches Tit. Yes, for all those times we said it was as cold as a witches tit, we were wrong, it was pretty warm here. We stayed here for 12 long days waiting on weather fronts to pass. We passed the time by checking out one day the Dutch Side and another day the French side. We also found some Rat Packers that had been ahead of us for awhile and we finally caught up with them. One was having a new sail ordered and one unfortunatly had to have a new engine put in. Ouch......we also met some of the Rat Pack we had never met before and several other boats headed our way. Shrimpy's is a little place Right past this bridge that is a laundry service which I used twice. Not bad 13 US dollars a load, wash, dry, and fold.
Dave & Tanya and us checking out the town
I have never had someone do my laundry before but I didnt see any other option. No coin laundrymats. This gentleman that owns Shrimpy's also does the local cruisers net in the morning and allows you to tie up to his place to do shopping down the street. We found a great little grocery that we found great prices on lots og baguettes and cheeses along with salamis. They also sold buckets of pig parts, allllllll parts. Here is a bucket of snouts. Ickkkkk
Oink, Oink. This little piggy went to market

Yummy lunch
Stinky cheeses, some verrrrrrry stinky.
We also got turned onto passion fruit. We had never had one let alone seen one in person and thanks to s/v Amaroo, they told us to try one. Now were hooked.
Our new favorites, passion fruit
They arent very pretty and Dirk likens them on the inside as tadpoles. Ummmmmmmm no. They are very sweet and tarty and yummy. We also went and found a phone store so we could get a sim card for the phone to get some data with. On the way we passed this little place.
Says it all
As Phil from Duck Dynasty would say. " everybody's Happy Happy "On the Dutch side we found great marine stores that Dirk drooled over and we found another great grocery with great produce and of course baguettes.
Yummy Bruschetta
Wow, they even have a Welfare Road here.
Our favorite place on the dutch side however is Lagoonies where everyday but Sunday they have happy hour with half price beer and rum punch. The punch had a kick to it also. So everyday at about 4:45 we would pile in the dinghies and all meet over to discuss the days events and weather and such.
Dea Latis, Lequesto, and our favorite new hangout
Killer rum punches
And the Rat Pack group gets bigger
They had great appitizers and a plate that had onion rings, calamari, tuna fish pate, quesadillas and baguette. All this was about $10.00 and it fed both Dirk and I and it was dinner many nights. We became the usuals and one evening there the bar tenders gave us all a drink on the house as a thank you. We hated to leave but we had too. On the 8th we staged outside in Simpson Bay to prep for an early am departure. S/V Tempo joined us and we went into one last happy hour to bid farewell to the ones staying behind for now. Once we got back to the boat we put the dinghy up, tied the deck down and tried to get some shut eye. It was very rolly and not much sleep was to be found. Dirk ended up going to sleep on the floor in the salon wedged up against the seating. I just kept rolling around and around. Makes for a sleepless night and a grumpy Nancy. At 5:30 am we pulled anchor and set our sights south. Hopefully this would be one of the last night crossings we would have to do for a while. This is getting old.

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