Leaving Antigua three
cruiseships arrived, but in Sint Maarten (the Dutch part) we found seven
plus three in St.Martin (the French part). We also met a phenomenon
called “the Rhino’s”: canary yellow carrying tourists speeding through
the bay in a long line after their leader. Yeah you've got to make fun
when you are a passenger on a cruiseship...
The French part has a scent of the Rivièra but is beaten by the Dutch
part. This is where the super rich fly in their private jets to their
mega yacht, to measure up to their super rich colleagues and bore
themselves buying trendy watches, fashion and art. We are always joking
that you can measure their wealth by the number of spreaders (with five
sets on the mainmast you really are somebody) and most and fore all: the
number of mushrooms. Regrettably non-eatable, as we mean those spherical
white antennas, of which you should have at least three. The black ones
are rare so we call those: truffles.
We also met up with many acquaintances, as St.Maarten is
the centre of Caribbean yacht life. Many yachts in large bays means huge
distances, especially when you move between the Dutch and the French
side because there is also a big area of no man's land, where no yachts
are found and the border is only roughly defined by a boundary marker
and flags. The majority of the yachties choose the French side, where
clearance is much cheaper, no harbour fees are due and furthermore they
have a yachties flea market,
and they all have super dinghies with powerful outboards. We don't own
these things but fortunately our friend Richard lent us a hand (his
dinghy) when we had to pick up Winnie at the airport.
Winnie is JW’s niece and
with her we explored the off-lying islands. But first by bus to
unexpectedly pleasant Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch part where
you can stroll on the boulevard
and see the cruiseship passenger spend their money: Bulgari, Gucci, Prada, Rolex,
to watch and also hilarious that these people do exactly what is
expected from them, as they are all dressed up in new bought clothes and
Among the many souvenir shops we found the local museum where St.Maarten's
history is displayed, starting with the indigenous: the Arawak and Carib.
We were startled to see that one of the showpieces was a picture of a
Carib whom we actually met… village chief Euwka dressed up in feathers
similar to when he welcomed us a couple of years ago to his village… in Sipaliwini… in
the deep south of Suriname!!!
Winnie's initiation at sea
took place between Sint Maarten and Sint Eustatius. She was lucky
because it was a calm sea and the sailing was comfortable. But she was
glad when we arrived… not on Sint Eustatius, as very suspicious there
was not one yacht at anchor. The reason was a mean southeasterly swell,
and spending a night would mean that Winnie's sailing career would have
been over instantly. So we carried on to St.Kitts, where we arrived in
last daylight and anchored in a reasonably calm bay.
St.Kitts is quite dry, and so
was the clearing procedure, which took a long time with many tedious
questions from the customs officer. The capital Basseterre was very busy
because as usual a cruiseship had docked, so in the afternoon we unfurled
the genoa and moved four miles to a paradise bay. By which for Winnie her
Caribbean holiday really started. Her Caribbean dream was complete
when we arrived two days later on the nice neighbouring island Nevis, where celebreties
(Britney Spears, Mel Gibson, Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé) mingle with the
rasta’s; at least they appeared to be visitors to the rasta-beachbar where
we were anchored. The“capital” Charlestown is characterized by old buildings
and there is not one straight road.
And it is also still not possible to buy a watch there.
From Nevis we sailed to St.Barth, a French island and the capital Gustavia
crammed with extremely exclusive shops. Apart from the capital the
rest of the island is rather unspoilt with splendid bays where shark and
rays swim under the boat and seaturtles come up frequently.
After two weeks we delivered Winie at the airport in St.Maarten. We'll stick
aroundto give the broker a chance to show the boat to eventual
prospective buyers, but because of the coming hurricane season we'll head
back to Trinidad by mid May.