Sunday, December 7, 2014

St. Martin Bound

After our night at Lee Bay we sailed up to North Sound on Virgin Gorda under the watchful eye of this character! He must be a benevolent soul as the rest of the day and night went exceptionally well.
Can you see what we saw in the profile of the rocky outcropping?
After a restful day at Leverick Bay the full moon rose to ready us for departure. However, many a sailor will tell you it is bad luck to begin a passage on a Friday so we prudently tucked a reef in our sails and waited til 12:15 pm for our departure.

Full moon rising over Leverick Bay anchorage.
As we turned the corner and set our waypoint for Marigot on the French side of St. Martin, the winds were even more favorable than forecast. For the first part of the passage, about 40 miles, we had the perfect trifecta: a full moon until sunrise, winds in the 12-18 knot range BEHIND the beam and the seas running in the same direction at 5-8'. We watched as a line of squalls formed up behind us and a number of small ones in front of us, but we seemed to be sailing in a bubble and stayed dry the whole way. After the sun rose the winds started to diminish until they pretty much ran out of steam and we motored the remaining 20 miles to Marigot. With the potential for the Christmas winds to be blowing straight out of the east at this time of year we feel we must have pleased some nautical persona to have had such exceptional conditions.

I took this at about 3am with the full moon lighting our way.
Sunrise was bright in our faces right after 6am
With the early morning light we were greeted by a number of brown boobies who flew in circles around the boat. We didn't see any dolphins or turtles but we figured the air dances from these birds was pretty similar.
St. Martin now solidly on the horizon.
Getting closer...
The port of Marigot.
Being a Saturday, services in Marigot close up pretty early and we were happy to make it to the Capitainerie at Port Royal. Check-in couldn't be easier through a computer kiosk, the payment of $8 (or 6 euros if you have them) and surprisingly no one checks passports, boat papers or departure papers. Ah...the French life. The (non)formalities completed, we strolled down the street looking for a wifi cafe where we landed at a bakery. Nothing formal but we picked a couple of cold beer out of the fridge, selected a chocolate brioche to share and handed over the sum total of $5 if you please. Ah...the French life.

We are currently anchored in Marigot harbour. The water is so clear even for a harbour that you can see the ripples in the sand beneath the boat. We have a number of interesting neighbours but there is still very much the evidence of the havoc that Hurricane Gustav wreaked back in October. St, Martin was hit hard with more boats sunk than survived and there is obviously still lots of clean up left to be done. I imagine we will see lots more evidence when we explore Simpson Lagoon later on.

Pretty turquoise wooden boat right beside us.
A French warship anchored out in the harbour, and that is the island of Anguilla in the background.
Imagine the force that washed this heavy working boat up on the beach.
Not quite the beach-front property the owners had in mind.

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