Tuesday, February 20, 2007

January 3, 2007 - January 9, 2007, Simpson Bay, St. Maarten

We came back to Simpson Bay (again, anchoring outside the lagoon) to see if our missing packages from home have caught up with us. We were lucky enough to get one, but the other appears to be lost in transit.

On Wednesday, Sten was doing a bit of boat work and realized that we had a crack in the chain plate for our port backstay. See if you can spot it in the picture below.

Sten took it to the riggers, and they promised to have two new ones made by Friday. We're both frustrated by having to be here longer than necessary.

We’re so sick of St. Maarten and St. Martin. Don't get me wrong, they certainly serve their purpose. The provisioning is fabulous. And if you need to do boat work and do some damage to your wallet at chandleries, we can’t think of a better spot. But, we can’t imagine how people spend years anchored in this cesspool.

One night at Shrimpy’s we heard a guy boast that the only time he’d left the lagoon in two years was to spend one night in the harbor on the French side. A few weeks ago at a flea market, we met a woman who had spent the past seven years in the lagoon. We were excited when we thought she might be able to tell us something about Anguilla or St. Bart’s. But she explained that they hadn’t visited any of the other islands in that time. We were stunned. Are these people “cruising”? Are we? We’re certainly all living aboard, but other than that, we seem to be engaged in two very different activities.

This enforced idle has given us another opportunity to knock a few more items on our punch list. Check out Sten’s beautiful first splice:

This is why friends don’t let friends buy combination locks for their dinghy chain:

So we replaced it with a key lock.

On Friday, the riggers didn’t have the new plates done. So we’re stuck here for a few more days. We’re both really frustrated, and getting a bit testy about having to spend any more time here. There is so much of the Leewards that we want to see before we meet up with family and friends in the Grenadines in February. So, we decided to do what we do best: go to the beach.

On Saturday morning we climbed onto one of the local buses and headed towards the beach, not really knowing exactly where to get off. As we drove past a park-like area that could have had a beach just beyond it, the driver assured us that he was taking us to the beach. He dropped us off and we followed a security guard who pointed us towards the beach access path. As we reached the beach we discovered that we’d been taken to the nude beach. After the week in St. Barts we were somewhat adjusted to seeing naked people, so we decided to make a go of it.

As we wandered past the chairs full of lounging people with no tan lines, we found a nook in the cliffside where we could hang out without being confronted by so much nudity. What can I say, we’re prudes.

Late Tuesday afternoon, our new plates were finally done by the riggers. The delay turned out to be fortuitous. The wind, which usually blows at least 15knots from the east or north east, had died down so we could make our way due east to Barbuda. We had thought that we were going to have to skip Barbuda, and miss the opportunity to see its legendary beaches. Instead, we had been planning to head south instead and do Saba, Nevis, and Statia. With this break in the prevailing weather patterns we decided to take the opportunity to do an overnight passage (our first since the Bermuda to St. Maarten run), motoring to Barbuda.

While Sten went to pick up the plates I cleared us out of customs and did some last minute provisioning for our upcoming week. After putting the dinghy on deck, getting everything stowed for passage, and having dinner, we left for Barbuda at 10pm.

No comments: