With Mark and Sue aboard our dink we head off to explore Marigot, on the French side of St. Martin. The dink can’t get up on plane with four adults aboard so it’s a long, windy, and wet slog into wind and waves to reach this charming town. They are negotiating a deal for a new inflatable, or as one wag on the Mantatech list calls it, a deflatable. We all got a more than a little salty with spray so I don’t think I did inflatables any favors.
I’ve been here before, and unlike St. Thomas the synapses start firing right away and soon I am oriented. I was on a shoot here several years ago and had the opportunity to sail in Stars & Stripes, a Dennis Connor 12 meter Americas Cup race boat. They have a little race with a couple of classic 12s, we won but after the race was finished I asked if I could hold the wheel for a minute. Our skipper was only too happy to oblige and I sailed that fabulous boat around the harbor for 20 minutes. Awesome!
We duck into shops and Bistros with a Gallic Caribbean flair…not us, just the proprietors. I point out Ft Lewis, guarding Marigot Bay from the top of the mountain overlooking the harbor. Marce recognized that I’d taken photos from up there when I was last here.
I think the French do this island thing best but when I asked our waitress which was her favorite side she immediately said oh the Dutch side of course, they really know how to party!
Be that as it may, the Dutch side has the serious chandleries so every day we make a run to that end of the lagoon right past Lagoonies, a small French Bistro where Marce has already had a run-in with their snooty French waitress, who as Mark says, seems to think that they are not happy until you’re not happy.
It’s amazing how much we still need from these stores, and to top it off the autopilot ram is out from under our bed and in the shop. Again.
We all pile back into the dinghy and start the long slog back to the anchorage but before long the trusty Yamaha outboard sputters and stalls. Now Dear Escapees, our outboard doesn’t do that and I had lifted the tank to guess at the amount of gas before we left. Oops…it’s considerably lighter now, in fact it’s bone dry. I may have to recalibrate my weight to gas algorithms.
Out come the oars and now we’re rowing back into a pretty stiff breeze but inflatables don’t row very well so when a French couple with a dog in their dinghy offers us a tow to the gas dock, in between gasps for air, I say thank you. Ok, that’s embarrassing, but with a full tank and hearts just as full for that French couple, we gratefully lay a course for the anchorage.
We are beginning to get a feel for the Caribbean in the off season with shops on reduced hours or just plain closed. One wonders where they go for vacation.