Safena Log 23rd Jan - 1st Feb 2010 "St. Martin / Sint Maarten!"

s/v Safena's blog
Simon Ashley
Wed 5 Feb 2020 13:53
Well we have had a wonderful week or so in St. Martin / Sint Maarten!  We spent the first two nights on the French side in Marigot Bay.  Entering the cut into the lagoon there, the devastation caused by hurricane Irma was immediately apparent.  Unfortunately the French authorities have made relatively slow progress cleaning the mess up compared to the Dutch.  There are wrecks everywhere, debris and damaged buildings. The town looks incredibly tired.  It didn’t help that the weather was not good.  Grey and raining.  We cleared in at Island Water World.  The French islands have the easiest computer system for clearance by far and it is cheap!  We had a very nice pizza in the Fort Louis Italian marina yacht club restaurant.

After two nights there we moved round to Simpson Bay on the Dutch side.  We anchored more or less in the centre of the bay overlooking the beach.  The water is beautiful.  You are close to the airport runway.  There are enough jets landing and taking off to be interesting but not too many to be intrusive.  There are lots of Superyachts.  A relatively short dinghy ride under Simpson Bay bridge gets you into the lagoon.  It is amazing inside here.  Every yacht service imaginable, fantastic chandlers,  all sorts of bars and restaurants and superyachts everywhere!

Our first night there we discovered the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.  We met Desiree, a charming Dutch waitress who we got to know well over the next week.  What an atmosphere!  Everyone congregates for the 5 o’clock bridge opening and one can watch some massive yachts passing through a narrow gap.  

During the week we met up with Sue and John Hardy from Jack Rowland Smith.  We had not seen them since St. Lucia last year after the ARC finish.  We spent a few evenings together and also met their friends Ian and Patricia who were staying on board.  It was great tapping into John and Sue’s local knowledge.  They introduced us to a wonderful French bakery, La Sucriere, ideal for breakfast.  Also, we had dinner at LaGoonies, drinks and Latin dancing at The Soggy Dollar Bar, and Toppers Karaoke bar! Everywhere can by reached within the lagoon by dinghy.  We had some amazing evenings together, what fun it was!

Initially the weather was not great, grey and raining but then normal service resumed and we had glorious Caribbean sunshine for our last few days.  We swam, sunbathed, walked along the beach, ate lunch and dinner out, shopped in some very good local supermarkets, visited the amazing chandlers, and generally had a really relaxed and fun few days.  In many ways Simpson Bay is more Mediterranean than Caribbean but we totally get the attraction and loved it there.  We only scratched the surface and will definitely be back.

We did do some work, maintaining and cleaning as usual.  Despite the relatively poor internet connectivity, we did manage to do some banking and also order a new Tesla using an iPhone!

Clearing in and out on the Dutch side is more of a hassle and more expensive than the French side but after a few days in Simpson Bay we made ourselves “legal”!

We had planned to visit Anguilla for a few days but decided against it.  There were social media postings about a recent spate of yacht/dinghy burglaries and malicious damage in Road Bay.  This put us off.

For our last night in Simpson Bay we went back to the yacht club for dinner.  Once again, Desiree looked after us extremely well even including some drinks on the house!