One day you’re just sitting on the boat in BVI and you get a message from your sister saying she’d really like to visit. Where are you now? Where will you be next week? Next month? And then within just a day or two of the conversation starting, she decides she’s doing it. Not next month, but in a few days. So we decide St. Martin/Sint Maarten is the place. Mostly because she’s on standby flights and getting into St. Thomas looks to be more difficult for her. After a night sail from Virgin Gorda, BVI, Barefoot Life arrives in St. Martin at about 7:30 a.m. not knowing if she’s made all of her standby connections or not. Her arrival time is noon. We still have to get through the bridge (first bridge opening is at 9:30), go through customs and immigration and get some provisions for her visit. At 9 a.m. I can’t stand it anymore and I call her husband, Paul. Yes, she got on a flight! I am literally the happiest person on this island, maybe in the Caribbean. We’ve all been up all night travelling (you don’t really sleep well on night sails nor at the Newark airport), but there’s a lot of adrenaline and energy so Cam and I take the bus back to the yacht club dinghy dock where Stan is waiting, get her settled on the boat and get started on her very short visit. I know she was out of it when she arrived because at the end of the visit she kept asking if we ever go to the yacht club where we park the dinghy on the Dutch side. It was a “who’s on first” conversation with us telling her that’s where Stan met us after her flight and her repeating the question as if we haven’t understood. I am hoping her memories of the rest of the vacation are more concrete.
We chose to stay inside, meaning Simpson Bay Lagoon, because there would be no roll. We decided this would be better than having her experience any sea sickness. The downside is that you don’t swim in the lagoon. It’s not dirty water, but it’s more like very organic lake water with high grasses. So we would take the dinghy through the bridge to the outside (Simpson Bay) to go swim, snorkel, SUP. While St. Martin/Sint Maarten has some beautiful beaches, the snorkeling isn’t great. We snorkeled a few times and saw some fish, turtles and rays, but it’s not like snorkeling USVI or BVI. So generally we just swam and hung out in the beautiful, salty water.
We took a day trip through Aqua Mania (Roy and Romeo on Santino’s). It was a great day with crazy New Yorkers and a few French Canadians. The New Yorkers know how to have a good time and aren’t timid. I don’t think they actually needed the free drinks poured by our host, Romeo, to turn the snorkel tour into the rum tour. It was called “Round the Island Tour”. Well worth the money, with or without entertainment provided by New Yorkers.
We spent a lot of time dinghying over to the French side for baguettes and French treats. Hiked to Fort Louis (not a tough hike, but great views of St Barths), took the public bus to Grand Case and spent one evening on the Dutch side where we had ribs and chicken at a little roadside shack. Two people asked if we’re sisters. Yes, of course, we would say. They would point to me and say “you’re the older one.” Geez. I think I need to start wearing more sunscreen.
All good, not enough time, though. It happened so fast and was over too soon. I would love to have taken her to St Barths if the weather had been right. Although, when it’s your sister that you love as much as I do, it doesn’t matter where you are. Come back again soon, Cam.