Monday, September 1, 2014

Flashback Blog: Why We Love Sint Maarten/St. Martin

February - March, 2014

September 1, 2014: No, we haven't suddenly left Grenada in the middle of hurricane season! This is the first of a few "flashback blogs" that we'll post as we try to get our site up to date. Looking at the photos from earlier this year sure make us miss our cruising friends who've sailed off in different directions. Hope to see you soon!

Yep, we know we've said it before, but we LOVE Sint Maarten! We always manage to have a fantastic time in this island of dual personalities, and this year was no exception. If anything, we found all new reasons to love this beautiful island: hiking, sailing in the Heineken Regatta, TWO Mardi Gras celebrations... With all that activity, we needed a bit of down-time!

First, though, there were those hikes...

You may have noticed that Rene and I aren't exactly the first ones jumping off the boat in search of a good walking trail. :-)  Fortunately, we had other boats in Simpson Bay who were much more inspired than ourselves; Jo and John from Out of Africa and Mark from Sea Life organized a number of hikes around beautiful St. Martin. Our first hike was to Paradise Peak, where we were dropped off at what we thought was the trail head.
We started down one trail, decided we were heading the wrong way, and sent a scout to find the right one. We started on the new trail, saw some gorgeous views of all sides of the island...only to discover we were on the wrong trail again. After returning to our first trail, we ended up at the private resort of Loterie Farm...meaning we'd taken yet another wrong turn! It ended up being a comedy of errors, but we certainly saw some gorgeous scenery.

Not to be dissuaded by our first expedition, we joined the hiking group again at Des Froussards on the French side. We enjoyed a spectacular walk that began at Anse Marcel and wound through cactus-filled trails to a beach; it then circled around and up a hill to a road that ran alongside a garbage dump (John and Mark take us to the best places!), and finally ended in Cul-de-Sac Bay. Somehow we always get a lot more exercise with Out of Africa and Sea Life in the anchorage. They're such a good influence on us...we're going to miss them!

And now for the highlights of that "down time"...
  • Girls' day out to Sarafina bakery and Marigot mall
  • Cruiser potluck at the new Pink Iguana, a 100-year-old tug-turned-bar in Simpson Bay
  • Watching the planes land over the beach at Maho Bay
  • Rene's birthday dinner at Skipjacks
  • Thursday wine tasting at Corks & Screws; we hear this location has since closed down, but they're supposedly doing wine and/or wine & food tastings somewhere else. Something to find out next March...
  • Bratwurst grill night at Bavaria German restaurant
  • Watching the big boys at Palapa Marina
  • And of course...SHAWARMA at Little Jerusalem!!!

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