On the Dutch side it is all about shopping. Here the Netherlands Antilles Guilder (ANG) is the primary currency but the US dollar is welcome. The conversion is 1$ to 1.80 ANG. It is more fun to convert this way but in the end it is all the same….very expensive. Regular gasoline for our small dingy is currently going for $6.17/gallon. Diesel is over $5/gallon and seems to go up every day. Needless to say, we are sailing as much as possible. A great day is a downwind sail.
Sharing of this lovely island by two sovereign powers appears seamless to the visiting tourist. The local legend tells us the borders were defined by a walking race between a Dutchman and a Frenchman who stood back to back and set off in opposite directions to walk around the island until they met. It is said that the Dutchman was slower because he stopped to have a drink now and then which allowed the Frenchman to claim more territory. Believe it or not, it seems like good foreign policy.
We opted to anchor in Marigot Bay on the French side of the island. Definantly one of our favorite places.
The island is surrounded by beautiful bays. The French side allows free anchoring anywhere.
There are many amenities here. Need to call home.... no problem.
Or you can buy your own internet phone in one of the duty free Dutch shops. Steve and Jim playing with their new Nokia phones.Traveling around the island is easy. Simply catch a bus, take your dingy or rent a car.
Like all islands, St. Martin's history is rich in stories of pirates, foreign domination and folklore. As told by the French, Ft. Lewis was built on a hill to protect the inhabitants from the "agressive British Navy". Not much remains today except perhaps the splendid view.
The local airport provides some serious amusement. There is a bar at the end of the runway. The planes come in to land directly over the beach, the bar and your head.
Standing right behind the engines as the planes take off….who would do such a stupid thing!
On a lucky day we end up seeing a local parade.
And even luckier is an afternoon nap
Next stop is Saba then onward to St. Kitts and Antigua.
Anne and Steve
S/V Fine Line