Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Going to Hog Heaven ... and St. Martin

Looking way up to the top of the hills above Gorda Sound we could spy a little green building with an inviting deck built out at precarious heights.  Of course, we decided we had to hike up to its dizzying heights but with the promise of juicy delicious ribs it seemed doable.

First we had to wait for a little rain shower (torrent) to clear

Cock of the Walk in Leverick Bay

The day before we had hiked to the west around Oil Nut Bay and been treated to an impromptu off road ride in a landscaping truck that greatly shortened our trek around the hills, but also offered us some insight into the development plans for this rather exclusive area.  We have to enjoy the area now because once the place is built up we will definitely be out of our league up there.

We had enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Fat Virgin Cafe in Birras Creek as a little respite from the heat - always a great place to watch the comings and goings in the anchorage and at the dock.

Enjoying the shade at The Fat Virgin Cafe

Freshly cooked roti and burger with loads of blue cheese

Today however, we set our legs in an uphill direction - and up and up and up we went.  The hills are steep, the sun was hot, and when we reached the turnoff we had the place almost in our sights - at least no more steep hills to climb!

There's our destination - that little green place on the hill

Don't worry, we're going to HOG heaven!

Dan was in charge of keeping all of us at the tables happy with cold drinks and delicious ribs while ‘mean cat’ as he called him, made quite a show of placing himself right behind Dan’s unsuspecting feet whenever possible.  That was of course providing he wasn’t scrounging juicy morsels from the diners.  The star attraction though is the view.

The afternoon wound slowly to its conclusion and found us preparing for a night departure for St. Martin.  The winds were forecast at only 5-10 knots with flat seas under 3’ - it was a perfect night to set out.  Making the crossing with us were two other Canadian Boats, Jacob’s Ladder and Amelia I, which was a first for us.  Being able to be in contact via VHF radio made the distance seem just that little bit shorter and we had a ready-made celebration on arrival.  We set off about 3 hours before the others, preferring to travel at night rather than in the searing heat of the day.  Anchor up at 9:15pm and back down again after a totally uneventful crossing to Simpson Bay on the Dutch side of the island at 12:15pm.

Sunrise between the BVI and St. Martin

Sailing past the airport and Maho Beach as CanJet prepares to take off

Heading back to Canada!

The bridge to the lagoon opened at 3pm so we joined the little boat parade to make our way through.  Our first bridge opening!  Since we did not travel down the ICW on the east coast of the U.S. we had not had the pleasure of this little right of passage before.  There was plenty of room for us, but it boggles my mind how some of the mega yachts we see in the lagoon manage to get through.

Let the boat parade begin

We were fourth in line with two more behind

Even though we know we have loads of room to get through, it still looks tight

Bridge is up!

Jacob's Ladder and Amelia I following us through to the lagoon.

Anchored in the lagoon behind Distant Shores

First sunset in St. Martin

While we’re here in Sint Maarten we will be visiting the many chandleries and boat services places as well as participate in some of the annual carnival celebrations (more on that later).  Hopefully we can escape to the south with a few dollars left in our wallets!