Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Martin

We had an unusual stay-over on St. Martin.  First, we stayed more than two weeks.  There have been few islands where we've lingered so long.  Second, we had visitors for both weeks.  We have never had visitors back-to-back before.

Our daughter, Esther, and her friend, James, met us in Marigot Bay.  St. Martin is a divided island.  The northern part is French, and administered by France.  The official currency is the Euro, though US Dollar is  widely accepted.  Locals speak French, though we found that nearly everyone has good English. The southern part is Dutch, and administered by the Netherlands.  Their official currency is the US Dollar, and English is the main language spoken.

We really like the French part of the island.  Restaurants are extremely good, there is lots of excellent cheese and wine in the grocery stores, the people are friendly and helpful.

The week that Esther and James were with us started very windy, and that limited our activities a bit.  Gretchen and they visited a wonderful beach (Friar's Beach) one day while David waited on Callisto for the watermaker repairman.  We had a quite strenuous sail from Marigot Bay to Grand Case.  We also took a daysail from Grand Case to the small island of Tintamarre for some more beach time.  There was a running Pinochle tournament (David lost).   All in all, a very pleasant visit.

The day before Esther and James left us, Gretchen's mother, Lois, and her mother's friend, Pat, arrived on St. Martin.  Lois isn't much for clambering into and out of dinghies and so they stayed in a hotel near Orient Bay.  The weather had improved, and we enjoyed beach days in Grand Case and Orient Bay, and a tour of the main town on the island, Phillipsburg.  David was finally able to get a haircut in Phillipsburg, and has less hair on his head than he's had in many years.

It was a bit strange (and quite peaceful) to find ourselves alone together on the boat after all this activity.  We rested up for a day, and started our journey back south.  We need to be in Grenada by early May, to prepare for the hurricane season.  Our next stop is St. Barths.

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