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Date: 05 Apr 2010 02:47:49
Title: News & photos from St Martin

18:04.038N 063:05.707W

 

We are now in St Martin, and wondering why it is so quiet and all the shops are closed …. Whoa!!  It’s Easter Day we have just realised – so Happy Easter to all dear family and friends!  (not an egg in sight here….)

 

We finally made our way ashore in the dinghy to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour (Spanish Town) last Friday 27th, where Will (Grace) picked us up in a golf buggy and speeded us back to their aunt’s beautiful villa above Little Dix bay.  It was a wonderful reunion with Will, Frog, Tilly and Claudie, and we celebrated with champagne and an evening of all-the-lobster-you-can-eat (thank you Grace’s!), after clearing up shattered champagne bottle (Frog), mopping up a flood (Ali) and a broken toe (Ali).  We finished off with a few rum punches in the Goose bar before finding our way back to Talulah.  Sunday was a toe-up rest day at anchor!

 

On Monday we had a short sail SW to Cooper Island where we moored for 3 blissful days (and met up with Castafiore again).  We didn’t have to go far snorkelling…. Underneath Talulah was a shy octopus living in a large conch shell, nurse shark, a few large stingray hanging around, turtles, and we had our own resident barracuda (Cody – he was a big ‘un) who didn’t leave Talulah for 3 days, even following us when we went ashore (where he stayed and guarded the dinghy) or over to Castafiore for sundowners (where he hung around in a “hi guys, it’s only me, what’re we doing now?” kind of way), and then followed us back … we actually got quite attached to him. Dear sweet Cody. Such-a-shame-he’s-got-such-big-teeth-and-a-mean-faced-Cody. Even at night we spied him through the cabin emergency hatches, standing guard between the hulls, ever watchful and vigilant…..

 

On Thursday 1st April, on our short sail back to Virgin Gorda, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we spotted 2 huge splashes on our starboard side:  there were 2 large humpback whales playing and blowing only a hundred feet away from Talulah.  We could clearly see their long white fins, and marvelled at how close to shore (and us!) they were.  It was magical.  And our first sighting of whales in the Caribbean

 

After “checking out” (it’s farewell to the British Virgin Islands), we went to anchor in a calmer spot back at the spectacular “Baths”, watched the sun set on the impressive boulders, and tried to get a bit of kip before getting up at 11pm for a 14 hour night sail to St Martin.  Night motor I should say, a lumpy ride but not enough wind, and the little we had was on the nose.  At 3 am when I (Ali) was on watch I had a very close encounter with another sailing vessel ….   it had been a dark, cloudy night when all of a sudden an almost full moon appeared, at which point a mast and set of sails also appeared on a head-on reciprocal course, only a few metres away.  No nav lights, no-one in the cockpit, and no-one answered my radio call as I managed to steer Talulah offcourse within feet of a collision.  She also didn’t appear on the radar screen.  Spoooooky.  I radioed through to Castafiore who I knew had set off a few hours later than us, to warn them of this “ghost ship”.  1 ½ hours later I heard Jean-Luc on the radio shouting out to the same vessel to put some lights on – he had also nearly collided with her!

 

We anchored in Marigot Bay in St Martin at midday on Friday, and after checking in, wandered around town for a while before noticing the sky had turned black, the wind was really picking up, and it was time to head back to the boat.  We had a rough and very wet dinghy ride back, and spent the next few hours constantly checking our anchor, as was every other boat, as a squall hit the anchorage and the heaven’s opened.  Jean-Luc radioed through “’ello Talulahs, does this make you ‘omesick?  ‘iz like ze Solent, no?! Are you missing Surrrsex now?!”  Not a wink of sleep for anyone that night.

 

St Martin is barely 7 miles in each direction, divided across the middle.  The northern part is French, the southern Dutch.  There is a lovely story that the French and Dutch were so civilised that, rather than fight over the island, they had a Frenchman armed with a bottle of wine walk in one direction, and a Dutchman with a flask of gin take the other.  Where they met became the boundary, and the French ended up with a bit more because the gin was stronger than the wine.

 

 

Will & Frog and the Talulahs keeping the barman up late after our lobster feast.

 

 

Weird sunset!  Virgin Gorda

 

 

Dramatic sunset!  Virgin Gorda

 

 

Mellow sunset! (It’s funny how often the sun goes down around here.  At least once a day I’d think.)

 

 

Ali giving art lessons to the boat kids, with Dany (“Castafiore”) next to her, Cooper Island, BVI’s

 

 

A little bit of relaxing after a hard days teaching.

 

 

Talulah on a mooring in Cooper Island, BVI’s

 

 

“Oh yeah!  Well, If I’ve got a big nose, you’ve got a big mouth!”

 

 

How do you fly when your nose is so big it casts a shadow?

 

 

Cody! Our resident Great Barracuda, for three days lurking about under Talulah like a faithful hound, but in reality giving us the creeps!  “I just want to be cuddled.” He seemed to say.  “With teeth like that mate, you’ve got no chance!” we replied

 


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