The wind is usually on the nose when going from BVI to St Maarten, so while we were waiting for a wind free night we sailed over to North Sound on Virgin Gorda and anchored off the beach of Prickly Pear island. Charlie enjoyed his usual romps on the beach and we enjoyed swimming off the boat. We joined friends Dan and Jackie onboard ‘Chill’ one evening to watch the movie 27 Dresses and made our usual visit to Saba Rock for happy hour. The perfect weather window was only a few days away.
We scheduled Charlie in to the vet for his export papers on January 19th. I took him in the taxi while Paul got the propane tank filled and picked up a few provisions. We all went over to clear customs and then we went for lunch at a restaurant to celebrate my birthday, since we’d be sailing overnight.
We headed out about 1430h to begin our motor to the Dutch side of the island of St Maarten. The seas were perfectly calm as we watched the islands of BVI slowly disappear behind us as night fell. It was a simple motor and no fussing with sails. What I found most fascinating about the trip was the traffic. Yes, traffic – boats going in both directions. We must have seen at least 30 other boats pass us through the night, not to mention the ones that filed in behind us upon arrival. We anchored on the Dutch side of the island by 0700h. Paul went ashore to clear us in. He mentioned the customs and immigration officers on this island to be the nicest he’s met so far.
Once we were cleared in we enjoyed mimosas to celebrate our arrival to a new island and my birthday. P gave me a nice surprise gift of the first 4 seasons of Downton Abbey (at the time of this writing we are starting Season 3).
In St Maarten we ran into fellow Salty Dawg boats: Kalani, Kalunamoo , Judith Arlene and Chasseur. After our first explore of the island and a walk for Charlie, we joined everyone at Lagoonies in the lagoon for happy hour. It was fun to reminisce and hear everyone’s adventures so far.
We recovered our sleep over the next few days, discovered a few good pastry places, and spent lots of money at the Budget Marine (the biggest in the Caribbean). Since we were anchored in Simpson bay, we had a good snorkel over to the reef (swimming distance) discovering only so-so coral and fish – but surprise, an old auto graveyard with pieces scattered about. Curious about what boat sunk there and when.
We also had a few more events at Lagoonies with our friends while we waited for a Fed Ex package to arrive. Oddly enough the package ended up being sent via UPS so the Fed Ex office wouldn’t accept it. Lucky for us we happened to be having a pastry at the café next to the Fed Ex office when the UPS guy called. So P went out to the street and was able to get the package directly from the UPS driver.
We were happy to finally get the package so we could plan to continue down island on the BVI export permit for Charlie before it expired. We left Sint Maarten on January 29th and sailed directly to Antigua.