One of our favourite Islands!
This is our first French Island, well actually St Martin is French and Dutch and they boast being the only two countries in the world without a guarded boarder separating them. These two countries live in harmony on the same small island where you can travel from one side to the other freely.
Two Countries, sharing one Island, Brilliant!
While they have no official boarder you can certainly feel the unique difference that each side offers. The French side with its street signs that you would find in Paris and parissien style outdoor cafes lining the boulevard. The Dutch side is busy and modern with its duty free shops and long waterfront promenade.
A little shopping at the open market on the French side.
A cobblestone promenade on the Dutch side.
After many Islands of BBQ chicken with rice and beans we are now in the land of French Cuisine! Alleluia! I think we are in love! Baguettes, pastries, cheese, wine…. oh yes!
After checking in with customs, ( which by the way is a total breeze if you do it on the French side as opposed to the Dutch side ) we headed to the nearest grocery store. We must have been a sight to see as we frolicked around the grocery store gawking at all the amazingly delicious foods to choose from, minus the big prices we are used to back home for such treats. Even Cole was practically drooling over the cheese counter in the deli. Yes a Deli! We haven’t seen one of these in months.
Did someone say cheese? Yes Please!!!
Fresh baguettes, wheels of brie and camembert cheese, pate and pickles and lets not forget the selection of french wine for as little as $3 ! No I’m not missing a number in front of that 3… $3 !! Dinner was quickly decided and repeated many times during our stay in St. Martin. We were lucky to escape St. Martin without gaining a million pounds around the waistline.
This was a typical dinner and lunch for us while in St. Martin. Oh take me back!
Just one more picture of food! I can't help myself, just look at this!
One of our favourite things about travelling to new countries is trying new foods and flavours, from deep fried crickets in Thailand to Nutella and banana crepes in St Martin. Here we have been indulging in all the exotic treats that the french offer. We would go to town and Cole would get his fresh $1 “walking around baguette” just as a snack. Of course when you are with other cruiser kids and their baguettes after a hike to the Fort it only makes sense to have a sword fight!
Best snack ever for this eternally growing boy! $1 Baguette.
En Guarde! Boys! Always playing with their food!
Ok enough about the food although I could go on and on but there is more to St Martin than their delicious food. Since you don’t have to check in and out of customs each time you want to visit the other side of the island we took the bus back and forth a few times to see different spots on the island. The cruiser community is very large with a daily net and all the important amenities that cruisers look for like boatyards, chandlers and several anchorages to choose from.
A view of St Martin from the Fort. Marigot Bay where Saltair 3 is anchored in the foreground. The Lagoon in the middle and Simpson Bay on the Dutch side in behind. You can take your dinghy from one side to the other through the lagoon.
Marigot Bay, anchorage with an approaching afternoon squall.
There are a few choices as to where to anchor when in St Martin and we choose the French side in Marigot Bay. The water was clear enough to swim off the back of the boat and we were close enough to shore to go where we wanted. Many boats stay the entire winter and choose the Lagoon where it is very protected and convenient to get around to the multiple dinghy docks.
A view from the Fort on the French Side.
Saltair 3 is over Brad's shoulder in Marigot Bay. You can see how popular this place is with cruisers.
The Dutch side of St Maarten is home to the famous Maho Beach where the jumbo jets fly in 100 ft above the beach to the airstrip, blasting all the tourists along the way. This is a blast! Yes, pun intended!
Famous Maho Beach, St Martin. Its a must see! With our friends from SV Stop Work Order.
Here comes the KLM 747 flight!
These huge jets look like they are just floating over the bay as they approach the beach and once overhead the roar of their engines fill the air along with all the sand that is kicked up whipping everyone in its path. Crazy!
No one seems to pay attention to this sign!
The plane gives a serious sand blasting to everything in its wake! This picture cracks me up, everyone is running from the very thing they cam to see. lol Maho Beach.
We planned our visit to Maho to coordinate with the flight schedule of the largest jet. The KLM 747 jumbo jet and what a show. It was a whole day of entertainment watching all the flights landing, and if that weren’t enough we stuck around for all the departures too! This is when the real blasting takes place and I’m pretty sure some of these pilots enjoy putting on a show for all of us on the beach by revving their engines extra long.
It seems like you could jump up and touch it!
St Martin / St Maarten is one of our favourite Islands and there is a ton to see and do. I can see why some people come for the season and don’t bother venturing out to any of the other islands. It is comfortable and convenient but we have many new places to explore so we sadly say our good byes to you St Martin, It think you might see us again one day.
Life is for Livin’
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