Marigot Bay, Saint Martin
Position: 18:03.903N 63:05.749W
Date: Sunday 16th February 2014
I spent a lot of time looking at the charts of the lagoon and talking to other boats who had recently exited on the French side. It was becoming clear that it should be possible to head north across the lagoon, but there was no marked channel and no accurate chart to use so we would have to be very careful. On Saturday 15th we waited for what we calculated should be high tide and set off, gingerly, towards the French bridge. We touched the bottom twice, having to back off and search around for deeper water. By good fortune we arrived in front of the bridge just a few minutes before it was due to open, and by early afternoon we were free. After several weeks in the lagoon the feeling of claustrophobia was starting to become oppressive so to be out in the ocean again anchored in crystal clear turquoise water was sheer bliss.
Furthermore we were on the French side of the island just offshore from the attractive town of Marigot that had a distinctly French Riviera feel to it. It had some marvellous coffee shops, boulangeries, patisseries and restaurants and the supermarkets were full of quite splendid foodstuffs. Before we had arrived in St Martin we had been told by several people that the Dutch side of the island was the cheapest side so most people did their shopping there. On their advice we had gone to a large supermarket in Philipsburg to stock up, an experience that had been less than enjoyable. We should have waited until we were in Marigot as the advice we had been given was completely wrong. The French food shops were of a much higher quality and if anything a little cheaper than on the Dutch side.