S/V Delilah

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

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.


Blogger Gregory Burd said...

You used the autohelm!? Whoa, I thought I'd never see the day. Lets see, of the many months you've been "sailing" you've now used it about 20hrs. Good thing you got it fixed.

6:35 AM  
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