Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Where Does the Time Go?

It's been two weeks since we checked into Sint Maarten and entered the Simpson Lagoon.  Two weeks???  What on earth have we been up to during that time?

Well, for starters we joined Blue Moon, Livin' Life and Wild Cat and between us there has not been a dull moment.  In fact, when we counted up we found we knew 20 boats that were anchored somewhere around the island, and those were just the ones we saw or heard on the radio.  On top of that, Sint Maarten/St. Martin (SXM) is THE place to be in the Caribbean for boat parts & services.  Mowzer has been having a good old time opening up our wallets to make sure she is ready for our next set of travels.

We timed with our arrival on March 2nd was the Heineken Regatta.  This annual event attracts over 200 boats for four days of racing and party madness.  The lagoon was chock-full of racing and spectator boats and each evening sponsored and impromptu parties could be seen, heard and joined at the various hangouts around the lagoon.

Parking was at a premium at the dinghy dock at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club for the bridge viewing.

Each morning and afternoon a crowd would gather to watch the boats enter and exit through the draw bridge to the lagoon.

Brita & Jason (Blue Moon), Tim & Susan (Alpenglow), Janice & Dave (Livin' Life) and yours truly snagged seats in the front row for some 'judging'!

The parade of boats large and small through the bridge - IWW is always a colourful participant.

Boats jockeyed for space, passing double through the bridge and sometimes just a little close for comfort.

There's even a charter boat class with many participants in the regatta (folks come down for their vacation and rent a boat to participate).  This all-women crew had the 'model-stance' perfected.

Not sure what type of catamaran this is, but the bows are certainly distinctive.

The Sint Maarten Coast Guard was out in full force, helping to set the race marks.

Backing up the fleet of race boats, along came a beautiful motor yacht to clear through the bridge.
The final night of the regatta included a massive beach concert, headlined by Akon at midnight.

Getting ready for carnival?  Dancers on mini-stages were in full-feathered regalia.
While enjoying all the good times with the regatta it was decided that all the components had magically come together to try some wake boarding.  Wild Cat has an awesome dinghy with a 90hp outboard, Livin' Life has a kite board and Mowzer has a paddle board, Blue Moon has a tow rope and life vest (not the inflatable kind) so the recipe came together on a beautiful day for a little bit of fun.

The gang's all here!  Henry, George & Jan in the drive-boat.
Jason & Brita lounging on the spectator boat.

Henry showing off his male model moves - who knew he had them!!
Janice & Dave joined up as spectators for a bit as well.
Yeehaw!!  Henry's showing us how to get the paddle board going.

Oops - pretty awesome timing for this shot.

Many pictures were taken that day but this is my all-time favourite of Brita with the island of Saba in the distance.
(Thanks to all the participants for sharing their photos from such an excellent day.)

Sadly the time came for Blue Moon's departure westward.  We're not sure if we'll meet up again but we have shared such a wonderful time together since last August in Grenada that we have many great shared memories.  But one last chance to get together on Mowzer with a whole gang of people to celebrate Jason's and Gigi's birthdays - we had 14 on board, a new record!

Lots of stories being shared around the table.

Janice made sinfully delicious chocolate cake.

Au revoir you two crazies - until we meet again!

We then decided that a little exercise was in order and a hike to the top of Pic Paradis on the French side would provide just that.  

Lots of happy smiles at the top of the mountain.
A great view across the south-east corner of SXM - French Quarter and Orient Bay below us, St. Bart's in the distance.
What I haven't taken pictures of are all the little trips we've made to Budget Marine, Island Water World and Ace Hardware.  In addition we had a rigger from FKG come out and go the top of the mast for a rigging check of all our wires and we have a few things to keep an eye on but we are good for another season of cruising.  We've double checked our to-do list and made sure that we have all the little parts and tools needed to complete our tasks and we're now considering a change to our freezer given that we are in a completely duty-free zone with easy shipping from the US.  As SXM quiets down a bit between regatta and carnival (late April) we'll make sure we have time to check lots of items off our list.  What's life on a boat without a project list?  Who knows? - that's never happened to us!

So, before we depart for Marigot on the French side of the island and get out of the icky lagoon water, here are just a few final fun shots from the regatta.  We'll definitely put this in the calendar again for another year!

Final bridge entry - racing crews dressed up in costumes and other fun shenanigans :-)

Mexican sombreros and ponchos, I bet there might even have been a tequila or two.

Spectating from the dinghy this time - or you could just bring a swan!?

Or even a parakeet!

Last boat inbound coming toward us!!  This guy had balls to go through the bridge backward and then executed a beautiful 180 right in front of the crowd.  Don't try this at home folks!