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Last update January 06 2014
It's the beginning of December when we arrive into the lagoon of St Martin. We towed a sailing boat with motorproblems through the bridge into the lagoon and will stay here until after Christmas. In the meantime, we'll start the mantenaince of the inside of our boat.
Between work though we also did fun things. We met Rien and Petra Cat Double Trouble, we had Gavin and Mandy SY Secret Smile on JoHo for Sundowners. On Friday 13th, we went with our neighbors and their friends to a Chinese restaurent and Lagoonies Music night (not to be repeated on Fri.13th, as Rien, John and Petra all had stumach problems the days after). Furthermore, Ron of SY Argo came for a drink.
It's almost Christmas, I decorated JoHo, rigged two small christmas trees and hanged lights in the cockpit, super-cozy (and even John likes it!).
Petra and Sander arrived, soaking wet, on December 23th on JoHo. John picked them up from the St Maarten airport with our dinghy and the waves and wind were high, they got a salt shower. First things first, desalting, after that a delicious drink and then a lot of catching up to do. Welcome aboard JoHo, a different lifestyle for landlubbers part one.
Next day there is sun, nice weather for a change (we had two weeks of incessant rainfall before the arrival of our friends). We baked two cakes for the Christmas Day potluck and did our Christmas shopping. Late in the afternoon we went to restaurant / bar Lagoonies for our Christmas eve buffet.
Christmas Day begins with a Christmas breakfast aboard JoHo, then we quickly grab the stuff for the potluck organized by Gavin and Mandy SY Secret Smile as our neighbors Rien and Petra Cat Double Trouble came to pick up Sander. We followed with the three of us, the food, the gift and the liquor. There where approx forty people present, we ate, drank, played games and generally enjoyed each other's company. Early in the evening we went to Abraham for a take-a-away shawarma on board JoHo.
Second Christmas day is celebrated only on the Dutch side, everything on the French side is open and we took the bridge opening of 14:30 to sail out. Once outside there is a nice breeze from the right angle so we sailed to the bay of Grand Case about 3 nm away.
In the evening we strolled through Grand Case, once on board, we are prepared for the trip to St Barts tomorrow.
Gustavia, St Barts
It's Friday December 27th, it's still early when we sail out of the bay. The first part on motor and mainsail, currents and waves against untill the corner of St Martin. Once around the corner the Genoa is hoisted, the engine put to rest. The guys were happy when they caught a tuna (me getting a bit green from the smell of it), but tonight we have tuna and shrimp on the BBQ.
When St Barts came in view we saw an anchorage full of mega yachts, it was really incredible even for us, we've seen some but this was ridiculous. At least fifty of them at anchor and another 30 or so inside, over 50 meters WOW.
It was had to find an anchorspot, we tried Shell Beach, but went back to Gustavia as that turned out to be best for the four of us. That night we enjoyed all the lights from the mega yachts when we BBQ'ed.
After a rolly night we decided to have breakfast on the shore. Being curious about this French island with it's Swedish history where the Rich and Famous come together. If we come ashore you immediately get a bit of the European feeling of St Tropez . Red roofs where exclusive shops, bistos and bars are surrounded by palm trees . Everything looks good, well taken care of. After breakfast we rent two scooters to linger over the island. We drive on well-maintained roads from one point to another. Beautiful beaches, mountainous hills, salina 's, nature and of course nice cabanas and other real estate. And of course those mega yachts in almost every nook and cranny. Such a wonderful day of fresh air on the back of a scooter .
Late in the afternoon we decide to take a moment to shower at the marina showers. Sander would return the scooters with Peet , John and I would get to JoHo to get the shower stuff. Just before we get into the dinghy, like a twist of fate, John lets his scooter key fall into the water of the harbor. This problem can only be solved tomorrow. After the shower we walk through the capital city of Gustavia, St Barts, to a nice trendy place were we stop to buy a drink. Unfortunately, we do not meet the dress code and therefore are not allowed in. To the neighbor then, and there we are allowed. Sander paid thirty euros for two wines, a coke and a beer, and as we do not see any, it is us who are the Famous and were Rich (but spent the riches at the bar).
The anchorage is so bad that we decide to stay no longer. But first we have to check for the key of the scooter or retrieve it. I stay on board, John, Peet and Sander go to land to see everything done that needs to be done for departure. After 2 hours I see happy faces, with a story of a diver who works for the marina, that the key has surfaced and that everything has come to good and he didn't even ask for money!. So John in his dinghy with a bottle of wine as a thanks back to the marina, ends well all well.
We set sail and sail between the mega yachts to the island Fourchue. Here we stay overnight. We pick up a mooring. The water looks very inviting, we snorkel some before we go ashore.
Fourchue falls under St Barts and is a National Park, we land the dinghy on the beach and through bushes and grass we walk slowly up the rock. We climb to the top and the view is amazing. We see
St Barts, St. Maarten, Saba, Statia, Anguilla and not to forget our JoHo, 360 degrees fantastic!
After this effort , we could use a drink with a BBQ at the end of the day so that's what we do. Life is good and this island is really worth to stop for the night.
A day before New Years Day we sail underneath St Maarten back to the French side. This proves to become a beautiful ride with a nice view of the countryside. Now the circle is complete when we enter the lagoon again at the bridge opening of 17:30. It's bit busier than last time, but we manage to find a nice spot in the lagoon near the new bridge.
New Year's Eve Sander and Peet go to Philipsburg, we remain on board to make JoHo clean, whole and stocked up again and to try to get some rest for tonight. The plan is to go to Philipsburg where a large podium has been build on the beach. Philipsburg further boasts the biggest fireworks of the island. With a van we go there to celebrate into the New Year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, have a good and sparkling 2014.
I finished a special photobook, about our travels 10 years JoHo's travel from 2001 to 2011.
Curious ? Then click the link.
And if you're interested in sailing the BAHAMAS, BERMUDA, MALDIVES, BONAIRE or SURINAME have a look at our books at SAILADVENTURES where the books are available online.
You can always mail us for more info on these cruising grounds or cruising in general, we'll gladly help you out.
JoHo is on anchor in Lagoon de Marigot, St Martin at 18°02'8 N - 63°03'9 W.
Sailing the Caribbean mainly.
Our floating home and office is always ready for us to work for ourselves as writers and editors compiling cruising guides on our way.
We'll see how things will run, life's too complicated to plan anyways. Live life to the max, it can be over before you know it is our slogan.
John and Jolanda