After spending over a month enjoying the British Virgin Islands, it was finally time for us to move on. We staged for our 80 + nautical mile trip to St. Martin by spending our last night in the BVI in Gorda Sound on Virgin Gorda. At first light on April 25th, we were underway for St. Martin. Our first waypoint put us just offshore of Richard Branson’s private Necker Island.
From there we had very mild seas and sunny skies all the way into Marigot Bay, St. Martin. By the time we were securely anchored with Pilot’s Discretion’s tired crew ready to go ashore, customs and immigration had closed for the evening. As a result, we hoisted the quarantine flag and settled in for an evening aboard. I would go ashore first thing the next morning and deal with the immigration formalities.
On April 26th we cleared in at the Marina Fort Louis. The clear in procedure could not have gone more smoothly. Once the formalities had been taken care of we set out to explore by dinghy. The island is divided French from Dutch by a waterway and bay. If you transit by dinghy, there is no requirement to clear from the French (St. Martin) side into the Dutch (St. Maarten) side. There are rows and rows of waterfront restaraunts, all with dinghy docks and all very pet friendly.
The entire island has much to offer, so much so that we will not have as much time as we would like to explore, given our insurance induced requirement to be in Grenada by the end of this month. With that said, we are making the most of our time here. In addition to our dinghy exploration, we rented a car and drove around the island, scoping out the various beaches, bays and marinas.
First, we stopped in Maho Bay, on the Dutch side of the island, where the runway is only steps from the bay. The boys watched, in awe, the planes landing just over the beach, a route that Randy has flown many times previously.
After lunch on the Dutch side of the island in Oyster Pond, we walked around
“the pond.” Oyster Pond is actually a well protected inlet and home to Sunsail and Moorings charter companies. There are many mooring balls available in the pond.
Returning to the French side of the island, we visited the famous Orient, Anse Marcel, and Grand Case beaches.
After daylong beach hopping, and indulging in French and Dutch culinary cuisine, we hiked up to Fort Louis, overlooking Marigot Bay. The boys enjoyed running around exploring the fort, as we all enjoyed another glorious sunset and spectacular views of boats in the harbor below.
We will very definitely spend more time here when we return north up the Caribbean chain of islands after the next hurricane season passes.
For now, we are spending most of our time on the French side of the island. This weekend, we will cast off our lines once again. Our next stops will be St. Barts and Statia, until then, au revoir.