Since it was over the holidays we spent a long time in St Martin. Here are a few of the highlights….
Grand Case: Billed as the food capitol of St Martin it did not disappoint! We had dinner at the lolos (small outdoor bbq places) and each night were left licking our plates! We felt that the atmosphere in Grand Case was more fun than Marigot as there were more people out and about. We went to a Sunday afternoon beach party with a live band and ended up meeting some nice folks. One lady was cruising the Caribbean 7 years ago, came to St Martin and got off the boat to stay!
Stanley watching me swim.
Orient Bay: A long beautiful sandy beach. We saw tons of people playing in the surf and kite boarding. There is also a nudist section but I wouldn’t recommend it…shudder.
|Expertise:|| (5 / 5)|
|Selection:|| (4.5 / 5)|
|Customer Service:|| (5 / 5)|
|Value:|| (4 / 5)|
|Average:|| (4.6 / 5)|
The Sint Maarten Budget Marine is their flagship store and is likely one of the best stocked chandleries I have been in and the employees will go out of their way to make sure you’re happy.
I wandered in just to check things out and knock a few items off my perpetual boat repair shopping list. Lately we have been hard on dinghy items so we needed all new dinghy nav lights, an outboard hoist strap, dinghy wheels, UV thread and grommets. Out of my list we weren’t able to get an outboard hoist strap large enough for our 20hp Honda (though they do have the parts to repair our old one) and they did not have UV thread for some of Diana’s sewing projects. I did spend a significant amount of time just wandering and everything was well stocked and well organized. It was also easy to find folks to answer questions or point you in the right direction.
My second visit is what has warranted this review. I was troubleshooting our wind instruments in the morning. . . an ongoing saga. . . and was 90% sure the mast head wind vane was faulty. I wandered down with my likely faulty wind vane and was not able to get a bench test to validate my findings but they did understand my problem and helped me in the way they could. They did not have a wind vane alone in stock, but they pulled one out of a kit and ordered another to replace in that said kit. So I got to walk away with the part I needed the same day and they also offered to return if it did not resolve my issue! I really thanked the guy that was helping me and his response was; ‘We just need to make sure folks leave here satisfied, even if it means a bit more work on our part”. That is ludicrous!
This is the place to grab your spares, stock up and replace all those faulty items when headed up or down island. Thank you Lawrence, your customer service today made my week. So far all is well with our wind instruments now that the new wind vane is installed on the mast!
One of the biggest attractions on St Martin is the airport. We had seen an episode on the travel channel about crazy airports and this one had ranked in the top 10! So, in our first few days on St Martin we caught a bus over to the airport check it out.
It did not disappoint! The planes come in over this tiny beach and come down just after having reached land. There is a small fence between the road and the airport and people stand there waiting to be blown by the jet blast. I wish we could say that we were too smart to try it but curiosity got the better of us!
There are two bars where you can sit, enjoy a cold beverage and watch the double show of the big planes coming in and the people standing at the fence getting blown around. It made for an enjoyable afternoon!
Ryan watches as one of the smaller planes comes in.
Here she comes! Did I mention how low they get?
Seems pretty clear to me….
But we laugh at danger!
One of the big ones coming in.
It looks like you could reach up and touch it!
People feeling the blast! Guess they’re not any smarter than we are!
Enjoying the show
A fun couple from Canada we enjoyed our afternoon with.
After our restful and relaxing time in Anguilla we headed over to St Martin / Sint Maarten. The French and Dutch share the island which is kinda cool but also somewhat frustrating when on a boat. It meant that if we were going to go to anchorages on both sides we’d have to check in and out of customs and deal with clearing Stanley through two countries! So, we decided that we would go into the French side and then just taxi and use buses to get around the island.
Our first stop after a nice ride over was Marigot Bay. We found a great spot to drop the hook that was convenient to town and dinghy distance from the lagoon which is in the middle of the island.
Downtown Marigot with Ft Louis above.
Marigot as a town was okay, it had some fun shopping and a few restaurants but seemed to shut down every day after the cruise ship folks left back to their boat. It did have Ft Louis above it which gave excellent views of the harbor and the island.
View of Marigot Bay from the Fort.
View out over town.
For Christmas we moved into the Marina Ft Louis and treated ourselves to some calm and air conditioning! We got the boat decorated and it even started to feel a little bit festive! We kept up the tradition of gorging ourselves Christmas morning having a huge breakfast with cinnamon rolls as dessert! We had even been able to do some shopping and had a few presents for each other.
Getting in the Christmas spirit!
For Christmas dinner we went out with our friends from Te Mana who had Kirk’s parents visiting as well. It was a delicious dinner with great company and all in all we enjoyed our Christmas.
A lovely sunset on Christmas.
Heather and Kirk from Te Mana.
Enjoying our dinner.