Road Bay, Anguilla
March - Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten
- What a great night's sleep! Zero roll in the
lagoon. Only problem is the jets that take off and land over
our heads onto the airport runway just a mile away, but luckily they
stop at around 2300. Its amazing through - huge 747's that
look like they are just coming right at you along the top of the
water before lifting off and buzzing the mast.
Martin is one island, but the southern part is part of the
Antilles (Dutch) and the northern part is
French. We are currently moored in the Dutch side (Sint
Maarten) of the lagoon.
place reminds me of Florida: beaches, strip malls, Burger
King, Pizza Hut, everything is priced in US$, hundreds of multi
million dollar motor and sail yachts. The lagoon, large
yachtie community, casino, and airport, add other interesting angles
to the atmosphere. Again, it's amazing how distinct and
different each island we visit is. What a contrast from Statia,
which is only 30 miles away!
we have to face it. We have cockroaches. First one a
week, then one a day.... we put boric acid all around in Antigua and
did some spraying, but we have hit recent highs of 3-4 sightings per
night. These are little guys, a bit sluggish, seem to be some
St. Lucian strain best we can tell.
Colleen mentioned, we bought various weapons of mass cockroach
destruction in St. Kitts. We went to work early this morning
taking all of the food, dishes, cookware, etc. out of the cabin and,
along with all of the interior cushions, placed them on deck.
I then sealed up the boat and let off a "bomb" which is
supposed to kill all cockroaches on contact in an area up to 5,000
cubic feet. Colleen headed into town with Dorothy from Gigolo to
explore the provisioning options and I worked on de-rusting and
polishing our stainless while I waited for the noxious chemicals to
do their stuff.
hours later, I re-entered and opened the boat and started
cleaning. I scrubbed all cabinets, corners, and areas behind
and under drawers and cabinets, and then added some special deadly
cockroach bait with a syringe thing. Hopefully this process
will kill them without killing us!
came back to the boat in the afternoon and we spent the afternoon
cleaning and re-stowing everything. I also did an oil and
filter change and major bilge cleaning with lots of oil break up
stuff and biocide - its getting a bit smelly and I think that the
"biologics" have taken hold following our fuel spill
disaster in St. Lucia.
is a huge snow storm in New England and many flights have been
delayed. Colleen went in to "Mailbox" a company
which provides communications services, and left a message for her
friend Steph who is supposed to be joining us tomorrow to call and
leave a message there is she is going to be delayed.
March - Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten
- We spent the morning cleaning and preparing for Steph's
hoped-for arrival. We learned from her Mom that her flight was
in fact delayed and that she won't be arriving till late tonight,
but at least she will make it - many flights are still not leaving
at all, we understand, because there just are not enough planes in
Boston even though the storm has pretty much passed through.
storm is affecting the weather down here as well. The wind has
clocked around from the normal NE to the South and is expected to
shift to the SW tomorrow before coming round to the normal E / NE
position in a day or so. There are also large swells forecast
from the NW and local wind generated waves from the S so good thing
we are in the lagoon - sounds like most outside anchorages are rolly.
Venla came in on the 1730 bridge opening and confirmed it was pretty
bad in the anchorages in St. Barts.
the evening, we went into listen to one of our cruising compatriots
play and sing at a local bar. Eileen Quinn is Canadian and is
cruising on Little Guidding which is anchored next to us. She
has cut two really funny CD's of yachtie tunes with lyrics like
these from "The Anchoring Dance":
perfect little parking place is easy to find
you got to do is read his mind
what your honey wants is hard to tell
the hand signals fail, you can always yell.....
CD's can be purchased via her website at www.eileenquinn.com
around 2200 we walked the mile and a half down the dusty highway to
the airport. Steph arrived on time at 2250 no problem.
We were lucky to get a cheap bus taxi back. Several
cockroaches were waiting for us in the sink. AHHHHHHHH I
thought at least they would be too ill to eat out for a few days!
e-mailed us a log of her trip. See Steph's
March - Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten
- I dropped the girls off at "Lagoonies", a local
yachtie hang out, in the morning where they caught the dedicated bus to the
supermarket. Whatever its shortcomings St. Martin is very convenient
for boaters. The supermarket bus comes right to the
dock and delivers you to the store which has the best selection we
have seen in the Caribbean for the lowest prices.
stopped by Budget Marine and was sucked in by the display, variety,
prices, and helpful staff. I got out of there spending
"only" US$200 after putting some stuff back on the
shelves. Everything is here.
off a few boat jobs and played with new toys and then whizzed in to
pick up the groceries - oh and the girls too. We spent the
afternoon poking around the beach and crashed a resort and hung out
by the pool. Nice.
March - Orient Bay, Saint Martin
- Notwithstanding panic-stricken calls from the Caribbean
Weather Center's David Jones
warning about the impending North Westerly Swells which will soon
(any day now for the past three days) make virtually all anchorages
in the North Eastern Caribbean "untenable", we putted out
through the bridge when it opened at 0900 and into Simpson Bay with
a huge mega yacht Bon Bon steaming up our bum.
was obviously rollier in the bay than in the lagoon, but plenty of
yachts were out there and all seemed to have survived the
We motor-sailed towards the eastern side of the island
and past the main Dutch town of Phillipsburg where we saw four 12
Meter sloops - including the two old Stars and Stripes vessels of
Dennis Conner fame - "racing" round the cans with tourists
we turned the corner, we were able to sail for an hour or so passing
the steep to and scrubby NE side of the island. Just two hours
after steaming out of the lagoon, we tucked in through the reefs
outside of Orient Bay, which is on the French Side of the island,
and anchored in 12 feet behind a spit of land and a reef on the
northern side of the bay. Just outside of the slop.
ARC boat Hakuna Matata was anchored right in front of us. The
owners are a young Finnish couple who are friends with Cheryl and
Heikki on Venla - the boat is the same as Venla as well - a Jonmeri
33 (great little Swan knock-off racer cruiser).
a chinwag with the HM gang, we dingied all the way across the bay to
check out the nudist colony on the far side. I was disappointed
that not one babe below 40 was spotted among the
"naturalists". I don't think Colleen or Steph saw
anything too exciting either. We took a long walk up and
down the beach (non-nudist all except for the easternmost
tip). Great beach but really a Euro holiday-makers Mecca - jet
skis, beach chairs, para sailing etc.
evening on Redwings with full moon overhead and no
significant swell to disrupt our sleep.
March - Gustavia, Saint Barts
- We left Orient Bay at around 0930 and were quickly
sailing hard on the 15 to 20 knot wind with a double reefed main and
a few turns out of the genoa towards St. Barts. Steph got
pretty quiet early on and was soon hunkered over the leeward rail
tossing her granola bar and coffee onto the awash starboard
deck. After that, I think she felt a bit better, but pretty
much stayed head down till we were just off Gustavia 2 1/2 hours
was a fairly choppy ride. Its only about 100 feet deep between St.
Martin and St. Barts and the swell is fairly steep too. They
call ferry between the two islands the "Vomit Comet".
Barts is the ritziest isle of the Caribbean - Mega Yachts, Cartier,
Rolex - no boat boys flogging bananas here. Great
dinner (thanks Steph) at a French restaurant before heading back
home for a somewhat rolly sleep.
March - Gustvia and Anse du Columbier, Saint Barts
- I spent the morning in the internet cafe uploading these
pages and e-mail and catching up on important international news -
like the status of Nomar's wrist and Carl Everett's
punctuality. Colleen and She-dog spent their way around town
and met me - multiple shopping bags in hand - at 1230 at "Le
Select" - a bar / restaurant near the docks where Jimmy
Buffet ate his famous "Cheese Burger in Paradise". I
had one. Pretty average actually, but a nice eatery all the
the afternoon we pulled up the anchor and tooled around the corner
to Anse du Columbier (Anse means cove). It's open to the NW,
but it does not seem the feared NW swell is ever gonna materialize
and now the wind is very much from the SW, so we expect it to be
even less rolly than Gustavia (which was a bit floppy, but not too
bay. Anchored in 20 feet - the hook is completely buried in
soft sand. Colleen and Step mounted an amphibious landing on
the beachhead and got pretty wet - there is still a lot of surge
even if the swells are not too bad. I stayed on board and
worked on the water maker which does not seem to be getting enough
raw water to do it's stuff. New filters, a ream out of the
intake, and a tightening of the belt to the high pressure pump
solved the problem.
of Paste Retains Title
the evening, we listened live on Armed Forces Radio to the Boston
College Basketball team (Steph and Colleen's Alma Mater) beat Pittsburgh for the
league championship. They are going to March Madness with a
March - Anse du Columbier, Saint Barts
- Hung out in the Anse for the day. It really is a
nice spot. In the morning, a mid-sized sea turtle swam around
the boat for about an hour or so. Must have been feeding on
the schools of little fishies that are visible over the side.
0930 we made another amphibious landing assault on the beach and
hauled our craft way up above the steep high tide line, before
setting off on a short hike. We scrambled up the bluff
overlooking the bay and trotted off along the dirt path that skirts
the bay to the North of Anse du Columbier. Big rollers on that
side crashed to the beaches. The path eventually joined the
road network and we headed towards Gustavia with a view to
ultimately making a circuit. The island was very quiet municipal elections
are being held and just about everything was
the boulangarie / patisserie at the halfway mark was open. Hot pain
chocolat and coffee made a great break. We continued up to the
top of the hill overlooking the Anse - beautiful view of the boats,
outlying islands, and St. Martin and Anguilla beyond - and then descended via
another dirt path back to the beach.
return, I suited up and went for a dive off the NW tip of the
bay. This is the first time I have ever dived without a
buddy. I know its not the safest thing, but otherwise it seems
I will hardly ever get out there as its tough to get Colleen to take
the plunge even though she seems to enjoy it once she gets down there. Saw more turtles and lots of fish, though the coral was
not too colorful. Nice way to cool off though after the hike
and get a bit more exercise.
the afternoon, we propped up the cockpit table and got the cards out
for a serious Redwings hearts session. Steph,
remembered getting blasted when she met us in Thailand, but soon
became reacquainted with the rules and had some good hands and even
finished ahead of Colleen in the final tally.
March - Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten
- We made a snap decision to leave the anse at 0830 to head
back to the lagoon in Sint Maarten. We've got a lot of stuff
to get done before we head off for the Virgin Islands and Steph
needs to be there anyway tomorrow to catch her flight, so might as
well get in there. To catch the 1100 bridge opening, we
quickly hauled up the anchor and motored out towards St.
Martin, unfurling the jenny and lashing down stuff as we went.
We had to make an average of almost 8 knots all the way to make
it. The 20 to 25 knot NE breeze on the beam helped us get
there with a few minutes to spare. We were first in line back
into the lagoon.
we threaded our way through the boats at anchor, I spotted our
friends on Tango Two on the far side of the lagoon. Although
nobody was on board when we arrived, we anchored up nearby and soon
enough, "The Borg" (T2's little saltbox tender) putted up
to Redwings with Jim, Anna, and the now not so little
Tikopea inside waving. We last saw them in November in Las
Palmas just before we crossed the Atlantic. Tiki was then 9 months or so,
but seems much bigger now at 12 months. They came aboard and
while all of the old farts caught up, Tiki clamored all over the
cockpit now walking and half talking.
the afternoon, we headed off to do a bit of land exploration and
caught a bus to Marigot on the French side. Like the other
islands we have visited North of Guadeloupe, St. Martin is scrubby
with few trees, and damn hot when the sun is out. Its not very
fun waiting around at dusty bus stops and sort of diminishes one's
appetite for exploration. The wait for the bus was not really
worth it as we left Marigot within 1/2 hours of arriving - touristy
cheezy strip town. We boarded another bus for Grand Case,
which is supposed to be the "cutest" seaside town on the
island. Another strip of restaurants and shops along the
beach. We hunkered down at a beach side bar under umbrellas
and drank the afternoon sun away emerging only after dusk.
Beautiful beach and sunset and the town looked a lot better in the
cool of the evening as well. Fantastic French meal on a
terraced restaurant overlooking the anchorage.
March - Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten
- Another day, another robbery. There seems to be a
yacht-focused crime epidemic in St. Martin. Every day one or
two break ins and or stolen dingies are reported on the morning VHF
Net on channel 14. Most of the time, the targeted boats are at
the edges of the anchorage and or unlocked, but one was broken into
at the dock last night with a crowbar. We feel pretty safe,
but certainly our level of caution has increased.
soon as we were done listening to the various goings on on the radio
nets, we started in on preparing the boat for our passage to the
Virgin Islands and on towards the Bahamas. St. Martin is a
duty free port and an easy place to get stuff done, so we decided to
plow through most of our prep work here. Brought the propane
bottles in to be filled in the early morning and then took the boat
over for fuel and water. Got a nice rain while at the fuel
dock and opportunistically scrubbed down the boat as well -
ahhhhhh. Steph got a better view of the "real" boat
life - up anchor, jog off fuel dock, try to tie up with the help of
brain dead fuel dock girl, diesel, water, gasoline, visa card,
scrubbing, swearing, stressing (not to bad really - we are actually
getting pretty good at all this) and then back into the narrow
channels and out into the lagoon only to run aground two times
trying to find our way back to deep water. Normal cruising
life. Not just sand beaches and snorkeling.
clear of the two meter mud banks, we decided to anchor a bit closer to
the action to avoid long wet dingy rides. We found one
reasonable hole, but just as we went to drop the anchor, Colleen
indicated that the gears on the windlass were slipping. I ran
up and loosened it manually, giggled it, and got it to stick again,
just as a huge windy rain squall descended upon us - "drop the
anchor" I yelled as I rushed back to take the helm. We
got the chain out, but ended up very close to another boat, whose
owner gave us dirty looks out through his portholes as we sat
huddled under the dodger waiting for the 30 knot winds and whipping
rain to subside. As soon as the sun came out again, we hauled the
anchor back up and headed for our old spot - I sleep better with a
bit more space to swing.
soon as we were anchored, I took off to check out and to try to find
some replacement door latches for our aft head (the latch broke the
other day and we were completely locked out - had to crowbar it open
- luckily not much damage to the wood). After waiting in line
to check out, I was informed that it would cost us US$13.50 in port
fees. What!? Fair enough but there was no notice on
check in of any fees nor any mention of them on our entry forms
etc. Unfortunately, I had only US$2 in my pocket so I guess
we'll have to check out tomorrow.
to the chandlery. Found some of the stuff on "the
list", but not the right size latches, so I set off on a
mission to explore all of the hardware stores of the island.
Walked to a few nearby - no dice. Bused to Philipsburg,
checked out three more and another chandlery - no have. At
least I was able to get some cash at the bank in Philipsburg.
Relatively empty handed for a morning of running around, I rushed
back to the boat at around 1430 as I knew I had to get Steph to the
had her bags packed and was sitting on the side of the boat looking
rather panicked and waiting for me - they thought I had
forgot. No. Just trying to get as much done as I can
with the time I've got and to go with the flow. Off we went
and this time dingied right up to a dock across the street from the
airport and all went smoothly with Steph catching her flight with
time to spare.
and I then rode all the way back through the lagoon to the marina,
retrieved our propane tanks, and headed to the supermarket for a
major provisioning. Long day, but we are all ready to get out
of here tomorrow and head up to Anguilla for a day before taking off
for the Virgin Islands. We've got to keep moving now. We
need to put in about double the distance over the next six weeks to
make it to the US by early May as we have over the past six weeks.
March - Road Bay, Anguilla
- The good news is that when I went to check out this
morning, the "money man" was not there so they let me go
for free. So we are up US$13.50 over where we thought we were
yesterday - we actually ended up making money on that basis today as
we did not spend anything at all (a "zero day" - we've got
to try to get more of those in to keep the spend in bounds of the
through the bridge at 0900 and off towards Anguilla to hook up with
Tango II for dinner and ready the boat for our passage tomorrow to
Virgin Gorda. I put out all three fishing lines right away and
by 0930 we had a small tuna on board. Good enough for dinner
so brought the gear back in.
quiet sail with genoa only up Road Bay, Anguilla, a British-controlled
low sandy island just NW of St. Martin. We pulled up next to
T2 and dropped the hook. As we are only here for the night,
and had a lot to do on board, we decided not to check in or go
spend the afternoon servicing the winches, jurry rigging the head
door, and generally dicking around with the boat while Colleen
gabbed with Anna on T2.
evening fell, lots of boats came into the bay including several
large old sailing ships. One from Islesboro, Maine anchored
right in front of us! Dramatic sunset with golden rays
bursting around a dark squall line.
meal and fun with the T2 gang. We're off tomorrow at 0600 for
our longest passage since the big A.
Tiki, and Jim in "The Borg"
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