I woke up early and got up and glanced at the clock. It was 0444, not an auspicious time if you happen to be Chinese and superstitious. I'm not.
I had tried to sleep longer but wasn't sleeping, so got up and made coffee. I'm feeling great, and I had not for the past few days. Eating better and avoiding alcohol helps.
I left my kites out in hopes of wind and mild weather this morning, but have to pack and put things away before I go south. I should leave by about two this afternoon to be in Goodwood around six.
I changed my flight to Calgary from the 9th to the 15th, seeing as I will still be in Saint Martin on the 9th and although I return to Canada on the 9th and plan to drive up the next day, I want a few more days here before going west.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the
We were up at 0330 and had breakfast, then I went out to start the van. Ooops! I saw I had a burnt headlight. Odd, I thought because it was fine when I walked around the van to check last night in Barrie. Oh, well. We took Don's car instead.
We got to YYZ in plenty of time and are now in Montreal.
After a two+ hour wait, we boarded the flight to Sint Maarten and after four hours, the wheels touched at Princess Julianna. We disembarked in the heat, walked to the buses, lined up for customs, caught a cab, and arrived soon after at Sharon's Cell Shop to get a SIM for local data and phone.
Traffic was horrible, much worse than I recall from before, but we did get to her shop, did the deal, then headed for our marina on the French side. Again traffic was gridlock and we were stopped at the border by a check stop that seemed more interested in the driver than us, but we got to the marina and found the charter company office.
The boat was not ready, having just returned from a charter, so we went for supper at Plongeoir, a patio restaurant across from the marina. That meal cost just under $100 US and was not especially memorable. I can see prices have gone up. I can't do this too often.
Then the boat was ready. By then it was dark. We chatted with Ray and Florence, the charter staff, settled in, then called it a day.
I saw a bank that said 24 Hour Banking, but I
don't have that much time.
We slept well and awoke to a sunny day. Our first task was provisioning, and we wandered up to the Super U and bought supplies, then called a cab back to the boat as we had 24 litres of water to carry. I hate to buy water, but I also hate to get ill on a vacation and who knows where the boat's tanks were filled in the previous weeks.
We had planned on leaving around noon, but by the time we met with the charter staff, did a few errands and met with Mairin, my niece who is studying on the Island, it was three.
We left the dock, following orders from the charter manager who was standing on the dock and in charge of releasing the lines, which he did according to his own ideas, turning us sideways. We found ourselves being carried downwind over a mooring ball in the strong breeze. I waited in neutral until it passed under Santa Maria, hoping it would not snag. Once clear, I pivoted the boat and headed out without further incident.
We raised sail and tacked east towards Grand Case. We started under jib alone, then raised a reefed main, then full sail. After several tacks we made Grand Case, with a half-hour to spare before dusk and anchored. We're on the French side and flying a French flag, and I have to say I like being here.
If all the rich men in the world divided up
their money amongst themselves, there wouldn't be enough to go
We had arranged to meet Mairin and her friends at the dinghy dock at ten and when they showed up I motored in and picked them up. Once back at the boat, we raised anchor and moved out to Rochon Créole, a rock island at the mouth of the bay where, word was, decent snorkeling can be found.
We tied to a mooring ball, swam in, and covered the area over the next hour or so. We saw what there was to see, but compared to the BVIs, the spot had little coral and not much in the way of fish.
We headed back to shore mid-afternoon. Mairin and her friends, Jen and Matt, sat on the foredeck, picnicking as we motored back in. We anchored and dropped them off, then went in for a stroll, a beer, and a bite.
We were anchored near shore and among boats. One, a catamaran worried me a bit, but Don hated to move, so we stayed where we were.
A man who both spends and saves money is the
happiest man, because has has both enjoyments.
During the night, I heard Don get up and he said that a light was flashing in his window. We went up top and found we had brushed up against the cat (or vice versa) while swinging at anchor and the owner was flagging us.
We made adjustments and went back to bed.
In the morning, we talked to the owner, but he spoke only French and my French was inadequate to deal with subtleties, so he recruited a friend to translate and they came over. We sat in the cockpit and he explained that our bow had damaged a solar panel. Most boats do not have items that are easily damaged on the edge and are not harmed by a slight touch of another boat, but it was our luck to be beside a boat that swung differently and had overhanging parts. Fortunately he said the panel was only worth $130 Euros.
Deciding responsibility is always an issue, but I figured since we had anchored last and the cost was low, the best thing was to pay and be done with it if there would be no further repercussions.
However, the boat is part of a charter fleet, so the managers had to be involved and so we waited around until they came and visited, palavered, and left. I'd have just handed over $150 US and been on my way, but...
Anyhow, we were now free to go and sailed to Anse Marcel, a nearby bay to anchor and to check out so we could go to Anguilla. Anguilla is another country and each country requires exit paperwork from whatever country was the last port of call.
We went in, checked out, and walked around the Riu resort nearby until we were thrown out. Cell coverage there was terrible.
The multitude of books is making us ignorant.
In the morning, we raised anchor and sailed for Anguilla. It was a straight downwind run to the south tip of the Island and then a close-hauled reach up to Road Bay. We arrived around noon and checked in, then wandered around.
We needed groceries, so I hired a cab and we rode up to the Chinese Grocery, where we found a good selection for reasonable prices, then returned to the boat.
We had considered going ashore again for supper or after, but were weary and stayed aboard for the evening.
The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to
We were up early and I was at the customs door at eight, the time advertised as opening time, but they did not appear until half-past. I checked us out and we lifted anchor for Saint Martin again. We could have stayed another day, but it costs $56/day for permits and we had no place special in mind.
The first leg was straight downwind and then we were close hauled on jib alone for the crossing to Saint Martin. We made Marigot on the second tack and Anse Marcel, our check-in destination on the third, although we decided to motor in the last little bit to save time.
We arrived just before the office opened at two and I checked us in again. Ten dollars.
When I got back to the boat, Don mentioned that a cat had been washed ashore during the night when we were goner and a rescue boat was there. Seems a mooring ball had broken loose from a mooring. We left, headed for Orient Bay, or someplace nearby.
Along the way, Don read the guide and got worried. He could see that Orient Bay might be a bit risky. I already knew that and that we could manage, but headed for Tintemarre, an island off the shore where anchorage was available. Mooring balls were available there.
We swam ashore and walked around the island. I was barefoot and although I seldom have problems, there was a sort of small sharp pebble that made walking unpleasant. Nonetheless, we walked to the south shore and back. When I went o to put on my flippers, I discovered I had lost a strap. We searched in the shore break with no luck.
We spent a rolly night at anchor, but I slept well enough.
An ostentatious man will rather relate a
blunder or an absurdity he has committed,
We untied and sailed downwind to Orient Bay. The swells we up and the wind strong. Once at the entrance, we dropped sail and motored in and back, then raise sail for Grand Case again. Not knowing the charts and the boat, Don was reluctant to go in further. I had already scoped the bay out and was not worried about approaching the shallower snorkeling areas, since there was plenty of depth, but its no fun going anywhere the crew/owner does not enjoy.
Tomorrow, we return to Marigot, so we want to be close by overnight. We arrived there and went ashore for a stroll and a bite. I have given up on eating in restaurants, preferring my own cooking, but Don wanted the ox tail stew.
Try as hard as we may for perfection, the net
result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness.
The sail to Marigot took less than an hour, but when we got there, a huge yacht was blocking the entire fuel dock. We waited a half-hour, but when a fuel truck showed up, we gave up and went to the charter company dock to tie up.
Docking and tying up was the same gong show with the manager shouting orders from the dock. I finally said politely to let me drive the boat. I landed perfectly, but, of course, no one was ready with lines. They missed catching the boat and then fussed around a lot. I could have done, and have done, a better job single-handed. I'd have just dropped a loop on the stern cleat of next boat, gone forward to catch the bow, and been done.
We were five hours early for the flight, but Don was worried and wanted to be at the airport right away. We caught a cab to Sharon's and returned the SIM, then I asked the cabbie how much for an island tour and the time required. The Island is not very big. It's fifteen miles tip to tip.
We agreed on a price and then drove around the island for an hour, giving Don a better idea of the terrain. I'd been around the island before, years back when Frank and I anchored there for ten days.
We arrived at the airport about three hours early and caught our flight without fuss. Our take-off was delayed a bit, but we arrived at YYZ on time.
We caught the shuttle to the car. Minus ten felt chilly after plus twenty seven at SXM.
Don drove to the farm. As we approached, snow began to fall. We were home. .
People ask for criticism, but they only want
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