Saturday, April 7, 2012

St Martin Megablog - part deux

Another photo heavy blog post. You know the drill.... get your coffee or glass of wine/beer and settle in. We've been here almost three weeks and once we got most of our immediate chores done - computer fixed, phone working, packages shipped - we got around to exploring. We got the lay of the land from Fort Louis at the top of a hill overlooking Marigot.  

The water on the right is Marigot Bay, the body of water in the center is the lagoon.
The local beer. (This photo is for my friend Kim, a Heineken devotee.)

Fishing with hand lines near Happy Bay
We don't spend much time lounging around on beaches (really!) but we do love to check them out. The beaches here come in many shapes and sizes... as do the nude sunbathers on many of the beaches. (Sorry - no photos.) Cupecoy is a shallow beach backed by cliffs with little places to tuck in.



I know it's not a MANTA (!) but this eagle ray was beautiful to watch.
We snorkeled at Tintemarre and though we saw turtles and an eagle ray the coral was in really sad shape and there were very few fish. The island has just started to put in mooring balls to try to minimize damage to the reef. We dove on our mooring ball and found this as the base. Aside from the fact that it's not sitting on it's bottom, it looks pretty substantial.
 Mooring ball base at Tintemarre 
However.... it didn't stay where it was originally planted! They have no apparent limitations on the size of a boat that can pick up a mooring ball; perhaps this one was dragged across the seabed by a big boat in a big wind?

The windward side of Tintemarre
A sad ending to a boat's life
There's always lots of colorful junk (sea junque?) washed up on the windward side of an island and I came up with this little collection of bottlecaps. Our sailing friend Christina (s/v Sophie) has mulled over the concept of creating jewelry from sea plastic which is always overlooked in favor of the more elegant sea glass.... this handful of plastics should get her business started.

In between beach visits we (by 'we' I mean Skip) tinkered with our SSB. We can receive fairly well but still don't seem to transmit well. I think Skip just wanted a reason to empty the seat locker again and crawl in.

Take out everything....
....and crawl in. It's a tight fit.
This also entails pulling out all the electrical doodads from multiple storages spaces in the boat and covering all available counter space with them. Will this make the SSB work better? Stay tuned....

Boat projects are ongoing, much as house projects are on land. When we first arrived we saw a young couple working on this boat, a proa, in a nearby boat yard. On one of our trips through the bridge they were ahead of us and we watched them on their maiden voyage. A very cool looking boat!

There are mega yachts, super yachts and generally giantic boats of all sorts in the marinas on the Dutch side of the lagoon. Instead of just little dots of light from little sailboats (like ours) swaying in the night sky, the mega/super/gianto boats put on a light show. It looked like a mini Miami skyline (see 'Miami Nice' December 2010)

Nighttime in the lagoon.
We like to tune into whatever the local radio station is just to see what they're playing and what's going on in local politics. (It's the same old political power struggles everywhere) and we heard mention of the raft Antiki that was leaving through the early bridge one morning and is headed for Eluethera in the Bahamas. We zipped over in the dinghy to see them off. They crossed the Atlantic Ocean in this raft. Here's more about the venture.... It's pretty interesting/inspiring/crazy, depending on your point of view. 

An interesting contrast.... Antiki and a mega yacht both readying to go through the bridge.

Hope those eyes keep a lookout. 

She looks small out there.... good luck Antiki!
We finally got around to having a drink at a local hangout, Barnacles. A gathering of dinghies on the night we went was for an open mike night which turned out to be surprisingly good. The bar is kid-friendly with sea related movies playing all night. 'Overboard' ended and 'Jaws' started while we were there. Like kids anywhere in front of a big screen, the cruising kids were transfixed.

A massing of dinghies usually means a good sailing crowd. 
Evening clouds seen from Barnacles dock

We've decided to take advantage of the good weather to head for Antigua tomorrow though there's more to see and do here. It's hard to decide to leave but there's so much more ahead to see. Luckily we were still around to catch the Time Out Boat Yard's first Saturday of the month flea market. We walked around just enough to see that indeed one man's trash is another man's treasure. That didn't stop us from buying some stuff.... we got two quarts of oil for $4.... what a deal! Our big score though, was a free HP computer. It'll probably be worth just what we paid for it. It's similar to the one that died on us and took our charting program with it so we figured maybe we could create one frankencomputer out of the two. And like the guy who gave it to us said, if we didn't take it "it'll just go in the shitter." Nice.

He didn't say "Argh!" but he sure looks like he would/should. Is there cafe au lait, or rum in his mug?
We made another trip to the colorful Saturday markets on the waterfront on our way out too. I love the spice displays. Wait.... all those lovely spices and signs in multiple languages... and a sign for "Philly mix"? Go figure.

Patricia, the vendor with gorgeous French linens, told us she'd arrived in St. Martin by boat too. She and her husband and their five year old son crossed the Atlantic seventeen years ago with plans to sail around the world. When they reached St. Martin they found that their boat's engine was beyond repair. So they stayed. 

There are a lot of interesting stories out here. 

Linens from Provence
We topped up our fuel and water and caught the 2:30 bridge out of the lagoon. Next stop.... Antigua.

One last chore.


Eliza said...

The Cupecoy beach is so beautiful!

Cindy Barnard said...

Mad, your posts just get better and better.
LOVE that itty, bitty beach with the cliffs rising up behind. the raft peeps?...Wouldn't catch me on that! but fascinating story. Everyone DOES have a story. Sail well, be safe, be adorable. Xoxo

Miles said...

Where are the nude beach pictures?!

Also, the blogspot website must really be having some automated hacking issues. This is what I had to type in to prove I'm a human: elosrood isectsio. I think that's what is says anyway.

Miles said...

Yup, got it right.

Sylvia said...

Agree that the cliff beach is fantastic! I love reading about your adventures. Philly mix. LOL!

Kim said...

Maddie - beautiful photos as always. Love the beaches and the marine life! But, you KNOW I LOVE the Heineken pics posted in my honor. I hope you and Skip were each drinking one! Love you, girl! xoxoxoxo