Simpson Bay Lagoon
We were able to anchor right in the middle of the lagoon but the water is murky and not as nice as what we’ve been used to. When we cut from the channel to the anchorage we hit only about 5 feet of water which fortunately is just enough but very, very close! Thalia anchored nearby so that Enzo and Hugo could hang out more together. We grabbed a nice dinner all together ashore and were surprised by how american everything seemed. At the restaurant we felt like we were at an american chain restaurant. The southern part of St. Martin is dutch and very developed. Lots of tourists and planes landing continuously. The northern part is French.
The next few days we wanted to enjoy spending some time with our Jayana friends before they headed on. We also needed to get a boost pump for the water maker and bits and pieces of things we needed to fix or replace. The chandleries here are like candy stores and very, very well stocked.
Jayana was at the marina so we met up again with them and rented a car for a few days. They had some ideas for things to explore so we followed and had fun discovering Philipsburg for a stroll on the boardwalk and lunch, Malo Beach for a swim and watching/feeling the planes land and take off right next to the sand and an awesome sunset at Fort St. Luis where Sylvain flew the drone to capture another magical spot. Enzo’s drone has been having issues for a few weeks so he’s not able to fly it which is a huge bummer. Sylvain shared some footage for him to use in his videos but I think Enzo doesn’t feel right using clips he didn’t shoot himself.
For Jayana’s last night before heading off to the BVIs they had us all over for a final dinner and their famous dress up dance party. We put together what we had on hand and spent a great night dancing into the wee hours… we don’t know how they managed to get up and sail the next morning!
Since we still had the car we went with Thalia to a zip line place with a beautiful pool in the hills on an old sugar cane farm called Loterie Farm. Another family on a catamaran met us there and we got a chance to meet a very inspiring couple. Andreas, Guillaume and Worjek went for the extreme zip line and I took Hugo and Enzo on the regular one which was fun. The footage they got from the extreme zip was awesome! We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the pool with Elena, Caroline, Guillaume, Worjek and the kids.
On our way back to the boat we made a stop at the Carrefour to stock up on lots of good french food - mais oui! Great supermarket where for the first time I saw the cheese section separated; one section was american and the other french. Basically orange and white cheese on the american section and loads of choices on the french. What to choose!?
After about a week anchored in the lagoon we decided it was time to get out. The murky water and constant zipping by of tourists on zodiacs was quite enough. We sailed out at the 3pm bridge opening which gave us just enough time to sail around to the north at Marigot Bay, the french half of the island. It was a nice sail and getting to the outside was refreshing. Finally some clear blue waters again. The anchorage was vast with 9-10 ft deep water and lots of space for everyone. Our water maker needed a boost pump which someone started working on while we were in the lagoon. What was supposed to be a 1 day job, however, it ended up being more than a week fiasco. No fun but we still had some margin before heading up to the BVIs.
We also decided it was time to order new sails. Our original main and genoa made it much longer than we thought but it was time to replace them. The main was showing more and more wear and who knows when it would give and completely rip. Incidence has a sailmaker right in Marigot Bay who we went to talk to. It was a big investment especially considering we would eventually sell the boat but it was the right, safe thing to do. We put in the order and planned to come back to St. Martin a month later to have them installed.
While waiting for a new part for the water maker we decided to spend the weekend in some new anchorages not too far away. Grand Case is only a hour sail around to the East of Marigot so we headed over to find a beautiful bay with lots of turtles and a charming town. Lots of good restaurants and a gorgeous white sandy beach to walk on. Anais tolerated the backpack much better thanks to Enzo’s suggestion of adding an extra cushion for her to sit on. The bearing from the wheel on her wheelchair disappeared and the wheel no longer stayed on so we ended up using the big sand tires. We had to order a new wheel which Matt and Jessica would bring when they came to see us in the BVIs in May.
Not far to the north east of St. Martin is a tiny island called Tintamare which we made our way to after one night in Grand Case. As we expected, it was crowded with other boats but by 4pm most left and we had the little anchorage almost to ourselves. Andreas went with Enzo to explore the island which wasn’t much, but fun nonetheless. We spotted more turtles and big manta rays while snorkeling.
On our way back towards Marigot Bay we stopped in Anse Marcel, another small quaint anchorage with a beautiful beach. There were a few resorts and lots of water traffic including the flying jet streamers that was comical to watch.
We took the dinghy into the tiny marina to check out the beach and resorts and walk around. We tried getting wifi which wasn’t all that great. Enzo wanted to fly the drone and test it however it was officially broken, much to Enzo’s dismay. We weren’t sure what we could do and were especially bummed to not take cool drone shots for the rest of the trip.
We had to be here on monday morning so that the technicien could bring the new parts for the water maker and finish the repair. This turned out to drag on way more than we had planned and we were getting frustrated by the entire process. We were itching to move on and getting tired of a simple fix dragging on for so long.
Knowing the high costs in the BVI’s, we provisioned several times in the super market to stock up beforehand. We managed to find diapers for Anais which we also stocked up on. It hasn’t been the easiest to find them let alone ones that fit her properly.
Our Jayana friends were moving around their schedule so that we could meet up with them one last time in the BVIs and our window was getting smaller and smaller to go. The wind was favorable as well as the swell for the next few days. We just need the water maker to be finished so we could leave.
And it finally resolved and all the work for basically nothing since it was working again exactly as it was before adding the boost pump. They took it out and left everything as it was - what a fiasco. But we could now make water again!
We left at 5 that afternoon and headed into the sunset - it was a gorgeous afternoon, the wind behind us, our spinnaker up and sailing towards the BVIs to our next destination.