Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Getting Things Done in SXM

This little island of St. Martin/Sint Maarten offers up so much to the cruiser.  It the best place to buy stuff for the boat and services abound from fabrication, installation, cleaning, painting, repairing and many more services I probably can't even think of.  On top of that you can find any food or beverage to suit your taste - flown in direct from France or other European delights along with all the tastes of North American home.  The prices aren't bad making it a great place to provision.

What makes SXM so special though is that it is a convergent point for cruisers, especially at this time of the year.  Many folks, and I can't stress just how many, are heading south to Grenada or Trinidad for the hurricane season.  They arrived in Sint Maarten in time for carnival and are now departing the anchorages for the next set of islands to the south - St. Barth's, St. Eustatia, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Montserrat.  There's a whole other set of cruisers, and this group is growing as the first group shrinks, that are preparing for a much longer voyage across the Atlantic to the Azores.  This trip could take two to three weeks and in crossing such a large body of water, this is a great place to get the rig checked and do all the prep work that is required, not to mention filling all the cupboards and bilges with food for the crew.

We spent our first week here in a whirlwind of social activity.  To put it in context, we arrived on April 24th, well over a week ago, and it was only last night on May 4th that we actually ate a dinner for just the two of us onboard - yikes!  At one point there were well over a dozen boats in the anchorage that we know and with everyone getting together to catch up, it meant that the round of social events from happy hour drinks, to dinner at a restaurant, to the dinghy drift a couple of nights ago almost needed an event planner to keep track of everything.

Time for a detox!

Now we have switched into the mode that we need to wind up our shopping, do some last groceries and finalize arrangements to get a bit of work done on the boat.  We have decided to add a wind generator for a little boost in power making ability and with it we are going to beef up the railing at the back of the boat as a safety feature.  To get this done we are going to be departing the Simpson Lagoon and moving down to the marina in Philipsburg - right beside the cruise ship docks for those that have been there.

With the winds gusting in the 25-30 knot range, we can't wait to get the wind generator installed.  This has been our beautiful view in the lagoon for the last 10 days.

So, in our final wanderings around the lagoon shops here are just a sampling of some of the fun sightings we have made.

Yes - that does say Chicken Paws... huh?

We know meat is expensive here, especially if it is not chicken or pork, but this just seemed outrageous.  Then we realized that the price was in Netherlands Antilles Florins at an exchange rate of 1.8 to the dollar.  Still outrageous!
Scotch always has such interesting names - still not sure I want to try either of these.  Are they any good?

Helping us navigate the market the other day, and then gracious hosts on their boat, we've enjoyed sharing the anchorage with Paul & Cheryl on Distant Shores.

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