-E.B. White

Monday, February 26, 2007

Moved to St. Martin on the 25th for 3 reasons. Another blow is coming, we need to be in Tortola by March 5th to meet David & Joni and our friend Ken winters here. Although the island is barely 7 miles in each direction it is perhaps the best known holiday destination in the Leewards. The whole island is one duty free shopping plaza. St. Martin is divided across the middle. The northern part is French; the southern part Dutch. The story goes that the French and Dutch were so civilized that, rather than fight over the island, they had a Frenchman armed with a bottle of wine walk in one direction and a Dutchman equipped with a flask of gin take the other. Where they met became the boundary, and the French ended up with a bit more because the gin was stronger than the wine. Today the island thrives with almost a million visitors annually. Hotels are everywhere, cruise ships call daily (Ken told us one day he looked out his window to find 9 cruise ships in the harbour) and there are over 250 restaurants, 700 duty free shops and a dozen casinos. We decided to enter the protected Lagoon at Simpson Bay from the French side at Marigot. A narrow bridge opens a couple of times a day and got thru at their 5:30 PM opening. Unfortunately by then a northern swell had kicked up and with everyone jockeying for position the entry proved to be a nailbiter.

Market place at Marigot, St. Martin

Croissants and gooooood Espresso and Cappuccino - love the French for that! Oh, and also cheap wine.

Lots of boats in the Lagoon including at least 100 Mega (150ft plus) yachts. The world-famous International Heineken Regatta starts March 1st and everyone is here to party. We have a weather window on the 1st so we will be sailing to Virgin Gorda in the BVI's. We took a local bus over to Phillipsburg which is the capital of the Dutch side to visit with our friend Ken and to get the Captains prescription sun glasses fixed.

Phillipsburg (the Dutch Side) - Front street

Lots of shopping going on here.

Cute little eyeglass repair shop on Old Street, Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten

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