S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Tuesday, May 30
Fort de France, Martinique

We arrived in Martinique last Thursday, after a brief visit to Dominica, and finally caught up with our friends Kim and David on Amanzi. We hadn't seen them since the British Virgin Islands, and once we raised them on the radio, we rushed down to their anchorage to enjoy a few days of potluck meals and lots of stories. Kim and David own a classic boat, which they took to Antigua for race week at the end of April, and they did quite well. David, who is a professional photographer, had lots of photographs of the beautiful (and expensive) classic boats that were there beside them, along with an accounting of how much some of these boats require in maintenance each year (one large sailing yacht cost half a million dollars to prep for its owner each spring).

Martinique is beautiful, and once again we are in the land of the baguette and cheap French wine. My French, however, seems to be deteriorating, not improving, as the weeks go by. More and more people are opting to speak to me in English rather than put up with my attempts at French. C'est la vie!

We are in the capital city today, shopping and doing some sightseeing, and we finally have an Internet connection. I had thought, after St. Martin, that it would be easy to find wifi for our computer. Instead we have to hunt down these sketchy-looking Internet cafes up some rickety back stairs. But they get the job done. Alas, our blog suffers, and the posting of pictures is pretty much impossible.

The day after we left Deshaies, that beautiful anchorage in Guadeloupe, the volacono on Montserrat erupted, sending a three-foot tsunami into the Deshaies anchorage. Our boat would have been fine had we been there, but I am glad we missed it nonetheless. Kim, who is a teacher in real life, interviewed a vulcanologist on Montserrat during their visit to the island, and she also gave me a great link to check out the volcano and see some updated photographs of the action on the island. See sidebar for links.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Saturday, May 20
Isles des Saintes, Guadeloupe
N 15 degrees, 52.67 minutes
W 061 degrees, 34.64 minutes

Sorry: the last few blogs are out of order. That sometimes happens when we post a bunch at one time.

I think I have written this about every place we have visited so far, but this time I really mean it when I say that Guadeloupe is my favorite island. The food is great, the land is verdant, the mountains are majestic, the water is clear and warm, and the people are quite friendly. Every morning, walking through the small town of Deshaies, we were greeted with a smile and "bonjour" by anyone we passed. People are very patient with my halting attempts to speak French and my deer-in-headlights response whenever they speak French to me. Even the woman who begged me to speak English so she could understand what I was asking for (French being her first language) was very polite about it.

Still, we managed to rent a car on Thursday, and we drove around the island to a series of dramatic and steep waterfalls in the rainforest near the southern volcano. The drive itself was worth renting the car, as the road we took ran along by the ocean for much of the trip, showing us beautiful beaches and seaside communities, interspersed with fields of banana trees and sugarcane and cattle.

The Chutes du Carbet are part of Guadeloupe's national park. From the parking lot you can walk along a paved (with mortar and stone) path for twenty minutes to the first falls, or you can take a rugged, two-hour hike through rainforest and into cloud forest to the more distant falls. We did both.

We were extremely impressed by how well-maintained the trails were, especially since admission to the park was free. The trail to the farther falls was steep, muddy, and subject to erosion, but walkways had been built over a few places, and rope handholds were installed on the toughest parts. In one place, where the land had worn to nearly vertical, a short flight of stairs had been built!

I did lug my hiking boots all this way in anticipation of some good hiking, but after months of wearing nothing but flip flops, my feet want nothing to do with closed shoes. Dean and I decided that, in spite of the rough terrain, we would wear our flip flops for the hike. Surprisingly, they were adequate, though the park wardens and several hikers warned us through a series of finger waggings and stern looks that we would need something sturdier.

Some aliens must have kidnapped Dean and replaced him with an imposter who claimed to love hiking. Dean shot up the trail ahead of everyone (we went with three other couples), hopped around the rocks at the falls like a gazelle, and then shot back down the trail again when it was over. While trying to keep up with Dean, I kept having to remind myself to stop for a minute or two to look around and enjoy the scenery, which was straight out of "Jurassic Park." Among the strangest plants were ones that looked like hostas and ferns, things you might see in any backyard, except these were twenty times their regular size.

The falls themselves were stunning. Both trails led to pools at the bottom of the falls, and we watched these narrow streams of water falling straight down towards us for 350 feet. The highest one appears red because of the high iron content in the water. According to my guidebook, it comes from the nearby volcano. We cooled off in the pool right below the bottom of the falls, and then started back down again, looking forward to the coconut and nutmeg ice cream that vendors were making in hand crank tubs near the entrance.

We took the long way back through the twisty roads of the parkland, and Dean, still in alter-ego mode, floored it around the mountains, causing yet another Canadian couple to accuse him of being a dead ringer for Jacques Villeneuve. The scenery, seen at lightning speed, was breathtaking.

Friday morning we left Deshaies, planning to make a snorkel stop midway down the coast at lunchtime and anchor for the night at the town of Barreterre, on the southwestern corner of Guadeloupe. Neither the snorkel stop nor the anchorage at Barreterre were much to write about, much less spend any time at, so we kept going, making it to the beautiful Iles des Saintes by late afternoon. We are in one of the more remote harbors in this group of islands, and there are only three other boats anchored here with us. It has been raining for most of the day, so we busied ourselves with chores, adding some diesel to the tank (at a whopping six bucks a gallon), catching up on emails and blogs, and making the most of the free water falling from the sky to get Montserrat's ash off the boat and our filth off some of our clothes. Moving through the islands so fast has made us a little short on everything, including water, and Guadeloupe has been slow to give up her resources (by this I mean laundromats). Even Nanny had laundry day easier than this; try washing towels in seawater! I finally just hung them on the lifelines and hoped the rain would continue long enough for the salt to run off them.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Tuesday, 16 May, 2006
Deshaies, Guadaloupe
N 16 degrees, 18.36 minutes
W 061 degrees, 47.86 minutes

David, my dear brother, I hope you will forgive me. I have seen more exotic birds in the past three days than you have seen in your entire life. And, here's the kicker, I can neither remember nor describe any of them. The sheer wastefulness makes me weep...

After our rolly night in St. Kitts on May 12 we got up eaerly to head to Montserrat. "But Montserrat has an active volcano," you say. Indeed it does, but the northern end of the island, being protected by the central mountain range, is inhabited and open to visitors. Our friends on Amanzi wrote us to tell us what an amazing time they had, so we were not sure whether we would stay a day and visit the volcano or just anchor for the night, moving on in the morning.

About twenty miles from the island, we started to notice a chalky, burnt smell in the air, and then we started to notice a fine film of ash forming on every surface of the boat. As we were headed SSE, the wind was from the SSE, and so we were downwind of the volcano the whole time. The boat was soon filthy.

We did enjoy the scenery during our sail. We saw a humpback whale as he made his slow way across our bow, and we were startled by a school of very small dolphins, only two feet long, who swam with the boat for a short while, jumping clear of the water and diving beneeath the hull, before they veered off and left as quickly as they appeared. The water was clear enough for us to photograph them swimming below our bow.

The small town in the northern end of Montserrat looked, from the boat, decidedly depressing. It took us an unusually long time to anchor, and during that time, a young boy waded out into the bay and started trying to get our attention. Eventually we got worried that he was trying to warn us away from some rocks, so I hopped in the dinghy and rowed over there. While I was rowing over he got out of the water, ran to where he'd left his clothes, balled them up, propped them on his shoulders, and waded back out toward me. It turns out he wanted us to take him to Antigua!

So we spent the night but left early on the 14th for Guadeloupe. We had a great sail for the first five miles, doing seven knots on a beam reach. That all changed when we got around the corner on the island, and we were beating into wind and waves for a while. Because the sun was rising behind the island and because of the ash in the air, we could not get a good picture of the volcano or the destruction it has done to the island's southern half. Whole towns have been buried and demolished, and many islanders have relocated permanently to other parts of the Caribbean or to England.

The wind died rather suddenly when we were halfway to Guadeloupe, so we motored the rest of the way, throwing buckets of water on each other to try to stay cool. We reached the bay off Deshaies, a small fishing village on the northwest corner of the island, by late afternoon, and we decided to stay here a few days. This small village is about two streets deep, with terrain that rises steeply on three sides. Immigration here is not too concerned about checking you in, and though there is an office in town, and new boats enter and leave the harbor every day, the officers do not keep anything approaching regular office hours. The good news is, checking in, when you finally do it, is free.

A botanical garden is located a steep walk up a windy hill from the port control office. We braved the walk one morning, and we were both surprised by how beautiful the garden was. Unfortunately, we forgot our camera, and words can't do justice to what we saw. The garden had an incredible number of trees and flowers and birds and butterflies that I have never seen before, and a pond with the biggest koi I have ever seen. There was an open-air aviary for parrots where one could hold out some concoction in a little cup and the parrots would land on you to feed. Dean and I declined the option. One of my favorite flowers in the garden were the orchids, many of which were growing out of old and dying trees along the way. Dean's favorite part was birds: parrots, macaws, and flamingos in particular.

There is also a beautiful beach around the corner, and we took the dinghy there one afternoon. An old sailboat with its side stove in rested on some rocks near the edge of the beach. We walked down to it and took a look inside. Aside from what had been lost whenever this boat met its fate (probably breaking free from an anchorage or mooring during a storm), anything useful on the boat had been stripped by scavengers or tossed away by the sea. It was eery looking inside the boat and seeing rocks protruding through the hull--like walking through an old house that has been destroyed by fire.

One dissapointment in Deshaies is the pastry. We have tried two bakeries, but the pain au chocolat has not been as good as in French St. Martin. Still, we will keep trying.

Quite a Day

Friday, 12 May 2006
Ballast Bay, St. Kitts
N 17 degrees, 14.45 minutes
W 062 degrees, 39.51 minutes

This has been quite a day.

Last night I didn't get much sleep. Nor did Jill. There was a swell running, causing the boat to pitch and roll all night long. It was hot enough for me to try sleeping on deck. Then it rained, so I went below again, and we had to shut all the hatches. We put a fan on and slept in the "dining room," where the fan is, and it eventually cooled down. Then the lightning started. I went on deck and saw the liveliest lightning storm I have ever seen. There was absolutely no break between flashes, and it was to my left, right, and directly ahead. I was fairly certain it was coming toward us. It was far enough away that I didn't hear it, but I was still spooked. My last experience with lightning was in Vieques, and it was accompanied by a gust forceful enough to knock us down. Last night we were on short scope, as the harbor was quite full, and I was certain that we would drag in that kind of wind. I woke Jill for a second opinion, and she stayed up with me for a few hours to make sure we wouldn't be hit. We got our foul weather gear ready, but the lightning passed by, and we finally got back to sleep. Jill got up when the alarm went off at 6:00 AM and, sweetheart that she is, let me sleep in for a few extra minutes.

We got underway early today for a long sail to St. Kitts. We've been looking forward to this leg of the journey, having been promised that at the end of all that easting along the "thorny path," we would surely have a beam reach for the rest of our trip south. After all, that's the way the tradewinds blow.

If I ask the audience which direction the wind was blowing, they will surely know. "ON THE NOSE," they shout. Good audience. Our speed was not what we wanted. It was, in fact, about half as fast as we wanted. Awful. We hovered around three knots at times, and that was with both sails up and the engine running. That's not good. Our eight-hour sail turned into something more like an eleven-hour motorsail.

Then there was the fish. As devout readers will know, we haven't caught an edible fish since Conception Island in the Bahamas. We have to hide our faces from our friends, who catch fish every time out. And we have to accept with polite smiles all their helpful advice for how to catch a fish. We do follow the advice, be it sane or bizarre. When Paul on Dreamweaver says put two skirts on the lure, we put two skirts on the lure. When Menno on Eira shows us the lures that have been attracting all his mahi mahi, we run right out and buy those lures. When Marc on La Gallipote says to chant "venez, petit poisson," Jill repeats it all afternoon in a fancy French accent. She's even tried spitting on the reel, after reading a story about it in a travel book.

Today it was Menno's lure that worked (or maybe Jill's chanting in French), and with a "zingggg" the line started peeling off the reel. A fish leapt in the distance. Surely, this had to be a mahi mahi. I fought that bad fish for 15 minutes, brought it to the boat, gaffed it, landed it, admired the beautiful blues and greens, and then the fish promptly thrashed its way overboard, snapping the line and taking our new lure as a souvenir. Tears ain't in it. At least we hooked something. Perhaps this is a sign of good things to come.

About 2PM, we noticed dark clouds on the horizon directly in front of us. We both thought we would be sailing through a storm, but it seemed to pass us. Jill noticed, I kid you not, a WATERSPOUT spinning down to the ocean from beneath the cloud. I would have been petrified, except the spout was far away, and I knew the storm was headed directly away from us. We watched the spout for a few minutes through binoculars, until it went away.

Having altered course and changed plans to make the best of our malicious wind, we were rewarded with a great sail down the west coast of St. Kitts, passing up our original anchorage because of the swell, and racing along to get the anchor down in a beautiful, mostly empty anchorage with five minutes to spare before sunset. There are only five other boats here, no roads, no houses, and no lights. Just as the sun went down the moon peaked up above the mountains. Lightning is, once again, in the distance. Jill whipped up broccoli, ziti, and beans for dinner, followed by a Belgian candy bar. All would be perfect, except for the swell, which will once again keep us up all night.


Thursday, May 11, 2006
Gustavia, St. Barthelemy, French Antilles
N 17 degrees 53.95 minutes
W 062 degrees 51.28 minutes

Ten years ago today I took my first ride in a sailboat, Arcadia, Dean's 23-foot Sea Sprit, which he kept at a dock in Charlestown. I liked it.

Five years ago this week (give or take a few days,) I took my first ride on Delilah, attempting to deliver her from Fort Lauderdale to Boston. That second sail didn't go quite so smoothly (literally--I yakked my guts out). Yet here we are, jouncing around outside Gustavia Harbor, in search of the glitterati. I suppose some would argue that it's downright unfashionable to be in St. Barts in May, rather than December or January, but I'm just glad we have a place to anchor just outside the tiny harbor, and for a mere 4 euros a night.

We made the 15-mile trek from Sint Maarten to St. Barts yesterday, taking advantage of the island's lax immigration policies to spend our first night on a free mooring in a small bay on the northeast corner, where there is nothing ashore but a beautiful beach and a steep hillside full of wildflowers and cactuses. Anse de Colombier is part of the Marine Reserve in St. Barts. Boats are encouraged to tie to moorings rather than anchoring, which can destroy coral and seagrass. Dean was more than happy to comply, as it meant he wouldn't have to pull up the anchor this morning.

Anse du Colombia, which is on land once owned by Nelson Rockefeller, is so remote that it can only be accessed by boat or by a narrow footpath that winds around the steep shoreline from the nearest town, one mile away. The views from the trail are beautiful, and the snorkeling in the bay was quite good. There were lots of starfish, and I watched a sea turtle eating the grass beneath our boat. We hadn't been swimming for a whole week, and I snorkeled for so long that I could hardly move last night. I dragged myself to bed at about 8 o'clock.

We got up early the next morning to motor the two miles to Gustavia. The anchorage here is very convenient to town, and we spent the day looking at beautiful clothing we can't afford to buy and reading menues of restaurants at which we can't afford to eat. We also found a small beach near the town to have our picnic lunch. It was quite nice, and loaded with shells, but they were all exactly the same shells, so I only grabbed a few.

We stopped in for a drink at Le Select, in spite of our guidebook's hints that we might see Jimmy Buffet there. Locals claim that he wrote "Cheeseburger in Paradise" while anchored in this harbor. That's all well and good, but I was put off Jimmy Buffet forever by my sixth-grade music teacher, who taught us most of the lyrics to "Margaritaville." Of course he couldn't have sixth graders singing so openly about a drinking binge, so he replaced the word Margaritaville with Snoopyville. As a result, the song made no sense to me, and that bugged me. So did my sixth grade music teacher. Jimmy Buffet never had a chance.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Ah, the injustice of it all. The Yankees are up 2-0 against the hometown heroes--the Sox. Jill and I are watching Gameday on the internet. No audio, no video, just text. We do have the Eagles playing on the stereo. I'm not sure that helps much. We leave with the next tide (actually, at 9:30AM, when the bridge opens) for St. Barts. Then, points unknown. Here's Jill...

We are having a tough time extricating ourselves from Sint Maarten, even though staying in the lagoon breaks my rule about choosing an anchorage where we can swim off the boat. The proximity to chandleries, Internet, French pastry and wine, the Heineken distributor, and other friends who are in no hurry to leave has made us slow to up anchor.

I think tomorrow we will actually do it, and sail fifteen miles to St. Barts to become the poorest people on that oh-so chi-chi island. May is an extraordinarily unfashionable month to visit, so I suspect we will not be running into the more famous jet setters, just your ordinary rich people and a few other cruisers who have come to gawk.

More news as we see fit.

Thanks, Margot, for the comment. C'mon, folks, let's get those comments going... Don't make us write our own comments.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Saturday, May 6
Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten, etc.

For the first time in a long time, we have not moved the boat in days. The lagoon is a hangout for cruisers from all over the world, and the cheap bus system makes it easy to branch out and visit other settlements. There is a lot to do here, and we have been able to take care of a number of items that have graced our to-do list for ages. "Eat lots of chocolate croissants" is not on that list, but we have managed to do so anyway. We also treated ourselves to dinner out with Val and Menno from s/v Eira (m/v Dreamweaver babysat their kids) in French Saint Martin, which is still just a dinghy ride away. We found a great bistro near the water, and the prices were extremely reasonable, especially following the sticker shock of restaurant prices in the Virgins. The creme brulee was exquisite, and big enough that Dean and I could have shared it (note that I say we could have, not that we did).

Even though the Simpson Bay Lagoon is chock full of cruising sailboats, this is considered the beginning of the slow season for the island, and especially for the lagoon, which has built itself into a haven for megayachts. What makes a yacht a megayacht, you ask. The presence of a helicopter on the back deck is a good start, as is the need for a pilot to lead a yacht through the swing bridge safely. At present there are only a handful of huge yachts in the marinas, but we are told that in February and March the marinas pack them in like high-end sardines. Some cruising friends we have met along the way are even planning to come back here in December to look for jobs as crew on the bigger boats. We hear that there are always jobs available for those who want them. We'll see how tempting that seems next spring, when our funds are low and our return to reality is imminent.

Simpson Bay recently starting charging all boats a fee for anchoring here. The amount is based on boat length, so our fee is rather modest--$10 per week. Bigger yachts pay more, and the biggest ones have to pay a bridge fee. We found out recently that the charges are in place to help pay off a loan that the U.S. gave Sint Maarten several years ago to widen its bridge. The bridge itself was in fine working order, and wide enough for most boats, but poor Bill Gates had to go elsewhere when his boat couldn't fit through, and Simpson Bay sought to fix the "problem" post haste.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Gad Zouks!

Monday, 1 May 2006
Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
N 18 degrees 02.504 minutes
W 063 degrees 05.671 minutes

We decided to move to the lagoon on the Dutch side today. As it is a lagoon, boats must enter through a bascule bridge that opens three times a day. We had to clear out of the French side first, so we planned on making the midday opening.

We dinghied into town early for our usual breakfast of pains au chocolate and coffee (to which we decided to add croissants). After breakfast, we strolled over to customs and immigration to check out. Uhhh. The office didn't open until 9:30 AM, leaving us with not enough time to make it the 9 miles or so before the bridge opened. Hhhhmmmm. We decided to go with the flow, so we walked up to the fort overlooking Marigot Bay. It was quite lovely, but left us both a little tired, as it was already unbearably hot. In time we cleared out and were on our way.

We anchored in Simpson Bay, motored in, did our customs and immigration paperwork, went to Shrimpy's for a little wi-fi action, and then to the beach near our new anchorage. The beach in Simpson Bay is not nearly as nice as the beach near Marigot Bay. And there are weeds, for which Jill doesn't care much. We lazed about until just before 5:30 PM, the next and last bridge opening.

Suddenly, what had been a quiet anchorage started to look like the starting line of the America's Cup, as boats appeared from nowhere to begin jockeying for position for when the bridge opened. What was the rush? I don't know, but Delilah wound up near the back of the line. When the bridge opened, the boats leaving the lagoon had to come out first, and so every boat in line to get INTO the lagoon had to scramble out of the way, and then scramble back again to get through the bridge all at once. After all that we were last in line.

Tonight is one of the final nights of a string of holidays on the island, and spring carnival in St. Maarten. We met up with friends on m/v Dreamweaver to take a bus over to the capital for the "zouk," the big finale of bands and dancing that took place in a large field surrounded by booths selling barbecue and drinks. The zouk started at nine and is supposed to end at four in the morning. We made it until midnight.

We could pretend that the highlight of the evening was actually the music. It might have been, had we not stopped by one booth that had a TV in the corner...PLAYING THE RED SOX VS. THE YANKEES IN FENWAY PARK! We sat down just in time to see a brilliant Sox double play. Then the pitcher hit Youk, and a few minutes later Ortiz homered and brought in three runs to put the Sox up 7-3. That made seeing Damon in a Yankees uniform almost bearable. We gave a big whoop when Ortiz's ball made it over the fence, only to be met by glares of the other patrons, who were all Yankees fans.

When the camera panned the crowd I was surprised to realize that everybody in Fenway was still bundled up against the cold. We, on the other hand, had just been discussing how comfortable it had finally become now that the hot sun was down. I'm not quite sure how we will cope in Trinidad this summer if we are not in a clean anchorage where we can swim off the boat. We sweat so much that dehydration is something we have to guard against carefully. We just can't seem to keep enough cold water in the fridge. Imagine if we come home actually looking forward to cooler weather. It will be a first.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ooh La La

Sunday, 30 April 2006
Marigot Bay, St. Martin
N 18 degrees 04.245 minutes
W 063 degrees 05.659 minutes

J'adore les croissants et les pains au chocolate! (Says Jill)

We made the 80-mile trip from the B.V.I.s to St. Martin in about 21 hours. This was several hours longer than we thought it would take, but we had more wind (on the nose!) and more choppy seas (on the nose) and more current (guess where) than we had anticipated. The trip was a little bumpy at times, but otherwise pretty much a piece of cake, especially since John on Savvy fixed our Autohelm, which does the steering for us. We chose to go to Marigot Bay, on the northwestern side of St. Martin, because we could easily sail there, and our first choice, Simpson Bay Lagoon, would require an upwind beat at the end of a long night. After 20+ hours, we opted for expediency.

So, here we are, in a French port. We had our pains au chocolate this morning, with tiny cups of very good coffee. All that was missing was a newspaper, for which we were too hungry to search. We checked in with customs and immigration yesterday, and I think typing this sentence took more time than the process of checking our boat and ourselves into this new, foreign country. We were handed a form that asked about our boat, our last port of call, our next port of call, and our passports and nationalities, but it never asked about pets, firearms, produce, or how long we were staying. There are no fees and no deadlines by which we need to exit the country, it seems. And that might explain some of the derelict boats we have seen in the French side of the lagoon and in the bay here, parked indefinitely, like so many junked cars on the neighbor's lawn. Many look like they belong on the bottom of the ocean--yet people still seem to be living on them.

The town of Marigot is a fun little resort town, but because of holidays and Sundays and lunchtime, everything seems to be closed when we go in there (save, fortunately, for the patisserie). Most of the town is geared toward tourists anyway, and though we could certainly be called foreigners and visitors, perhaps even vagrants, we do not have the money to qualify as tourists. The Dutch side seems to have more amenities for cruisers, with stores that sell boat parts and phone cards, rather than duty-free watches. A bunch of friends we have met along the way are anchored in Simpson Bay Lagoon, on the Dutch side of the island, and we may join them soon.

Last night we sat in the cockpit of Delilah and watched an amazing lightning storm above the hills. There was no thunder, just a beautiful light show up in one thick patch of clouds, and occasional bolts that would dart out in all directions. As we had friends sailing over from the B.V.I.s, we couldn't help but wonder if they were sailing through the storms (they dodged them).

Today we dinghied to the Dutch side--no need to clear customs--to go to Shrimpy's, an open-air tapas restaurant and bar. They had a sailor's tag sale going, free wi-fi, free sausage sandwiches, and FREE BEER until the designated free-beer keg went dry. We hear that the Heineken distributor is just around the corner, and they have very good prices on cases. Who knows... we just might stock up. We will also be on the lookout for Amstel Bright, a concoction that the Martyn family speaks about in tones of awe, following a trip to Aruba last year.

After Shrimpy's we dinghied about three miles to a beautiful beach. The beach ended beside deep cliffs, some with grottoes and holes carved through them by the tides. The sand was soft and white, the water was warm and clear, and the sun was hot. This is what I was thinking we'd see when I thought of St. Martin.