St Martin

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Thu 12 Feb 2009 13:28
18:03.14N 63:05.96W  Simpson Bay, St Martin
This tiny island is split between the French (Saint Martin) and the Netherland Antilles (Sint Maarten) - making things fairly interesting. In St Martin the currency is Euros, they speak French and have 220v electricity  - and in St Maarten, the currency is the Netherland Antilles Guilder, they speak Dutch and have 110v electricity. Luckily, some common sense prevails... there are no border controls, both sides are duty-free and you can use US$ and speak English virtually everywhere.
We are anchored in Simpson Bay a massive closed lagoon that is shared between the two nations. Most cruising yachts are on the French side, as there are no fees (for anchoring or to use the bridge). The Dutch side is more sophisticated, with large marina's and a bigger bridge. The access bridges have set times for opening (madly disrupting road traffic) and it is quite fun to sit at the Yacht Club on Simpson Bay bridge at happy hour and watch the megayachts "squeeze" through.
On Saturday we met up with Malcolm Maidwell, who sailed over to the Caribbean from Cape Town in 1962 in a 25ft monohull!  After some time in Grenada, he settled in St Maarten, where today his family run a very successful cycling and kayaking business. Malcolm took us for a tour around island tour which was very interesting.
Mike & Malcolm                                                                                                        Anse Marcel, St Martin
Orient Beach, St Maarten
The main attraction of this island are the great beaches and the duty free shopping. For the tourists there are extraordinary deals on jewellery, electronics and alcohol - and for the yachties, there are large chandleries with all kinds of equipment. Mike has been spending a lot of time browsing these stores  (just like a woman in a shoe shop!)  He has bought Indigo a brand new Mastervolt inverter which he is busy installing, and has also installed an additional freezer system which is highly efficient (we now have ice-cream on board! )
This morning we are "having breakfast France" - which involves driving our dinghy over to Marigot and indulging in a delicious pan au chocolat and coffee at our favourite patisserie. The also have free Wi-Fi, so we can catch up on news, weather, etc on the internet.