Light winds and choppy seas made for a bouncy trip from St Barts to St
Martin. We anchored in the capital, Philipsburg, to complete the formalities,
and then went to explore the town. It was geared to entice trade from well
heeled cruise ship customers, with every second shop being a jewellers.
Philipsburg was also the first town we have seen since our arrival in the
Caribbean that has allowed high rise development. Following a very rolly night
in the anchorage we moved into Simpson Bay lagoon, where we knew we could be
sure of some calm water!
Access to the lagoon was through a lifting bridge. Once inside, we were
surrounded by some of the largest superyachts we have ever seen. This has given
rise to countless marine services and the best chandlery we have seen for ages.
As we approach the end of the sailing season, the superyachts have apparently
bought up all available spares, (according to the chandlers) meaning that
our search for something as simple as a fuel filter has been rather
Approaching the blue opening
high rises and superyachts!
The calm water in the lagoon has meant that we could finally complete
sanding teak that was only accessible from the dinghy. With several coats of
varnish applied, we are well on the way to completing the job. The wind has been
too strong for us to patch the hole that appeared in the mainsail though.
The calm water has also allowed us some uninterrupted sleep. On the
downside, the noise from being anchored 500m from the end of the run way, and
the constant pleasure boat traffic has shown us how peaceful some of our
previous anchorages have been!
We celebrated Pete's birthday with a meal ashore, and a trip to the first
cinema we have seen! The town has an American feel with more high rise and
Yesterday, we took the dinghy to the other side of the lagoon. St Martin is
divided between the Netherlands and France. We are technically anchored on the
Dutch side, although we can see the border from the boat. The journey took us
past numerous wrecks and semi sunken vessels, one with just the mast and rigging
sticking out of the water. It was hard to believe, when we tied up in the dinghy
dock on the French side, that we had travelled such a short distance. The town
was typically French Caribbean full of character and charm, and a real contrast
to the bustle and noise to the south. The anchorage just outside the lagoon
looked tranquil and attractive, and did make us wonder why we had spent the week
anchored where we were!