Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten
Position: 18:01.948N 63: 05.847W
Date: Saturday 25th January 2014
On Friday morning we slipped the mooring on Fourchue and set out for the island of Sint Maarten. This one island has a dual personality with the southern part being Dutch (and called Sint Maarten) and the northern part being French (and called Saint Marten). On the way we were overtaken by an unpleasant squall with winds up to 35 knots and heavy rain. Fortunately the weather cleared just as we closed the island and we were able to find our way into Simpson Bay where we dropped anchor.
There was a lot more rain and associated wind that night and so on Saturday morning we decided to venture into the large lagoon that occupies a considerable part of the centre of the island. This is completely protected from the sea but to get there we had to wait for a bridge to open and let us through. Sint Maarten is an important centre for yachting with just about every facility you could need for boats and so we were planning to spend a couple of weeks on the island. So we decided to check in to Simpson Bay Marina to use as a base for our trips to the various marine stores.
Being enclosed the water in the lagoon is muddy, brackish and warmer than the surrounding seas, perfect breeding conditions for mosquitoes. This was rather worrying as we knew that Dengue Fever is endemic to the area. What we didn’t know about was a new viral infection called Chikungunya that is spread by the same mosquitoes that carry Dengue. It has broken out in St Maarten during the last year. It has also been reported in St Barts but whilst there we had been blissfully unaware of its existence. So now we will be on insect watch, with nets at the windows and all limbs covered whilst out at night.