St. Martin/Maarten

Tags: Marigot, sailing, St. Martin

Date: March 8, 2017

St. Martin/Marteen is a quite small island that was divided between France and The Netherlands. Both parts of the island have gained some autonomy but are still attached to their respective "motherlands". The official language and currency in St. Marteen (the Dutch side) are Dutch and Antillean Guilders, respectively, but everyone speaks English and the currency used is US Dollars. On the French side, St. Martin, everyone speaks French but most people also speak English. Here, the currency is Euros.

We arrived in St. Martin after an overnight sail from Antigua and anchored in Marigot Bay, off Marigot which is the main town in St. Martin. Here, we visited Fort Louis, completed in 1789 to protect Marigot from naval attacks. We found it a little funny that the fort, completed in the year of the French revolution and the execution of Louis XVI, was named after the French king. I guess news did not travel that fast in those days.

Here is the fort:

View of Marigot, the bay, and the marina from Fort Louis:

The Tricolore hoisted on the highest point of the fort:

Félicie on the way down from the fort:

We rented a car to get around the island. We went to the windward coast (the east coast) to a small town and marina called Oyster Bay. Here we went for a short walk. The landscape here is rather dry with lots of cacti and low shrubs:

This kind of cactus is called a Turk's head cactus, presumably because the top part resembles a fez:

Goats roaming the hills:

While we were in St. Marteen we visited an old friend of ours, Rikke and her Dutch husband Jerry. Rikke is from Denmark and studied biology at Aarhus University around the same time as we did. Since last time we met, in Florida more than ten years ago, Rikke and Jerry got two children Alex and Maja, who are on this picture:

With Rikke and her children we went on a lovely hike along part of the Southeast coast of St. Marteen. This is the view of the waves from the top of the cliff where we were walking:

Another view from the hike:

A natural "pool" protected from the worst of the waves. Unfortunately, when we were there is was very windy, so the waves were crashing over the rocks protecting the "pool", so we did not have the opportunity to get in the water that day:

We spent most of our time in St. Martin/Marteen anchored off the town of Grand Case. It had better wind protection than Marigot bay and with all the wind we had while we were in St. Martin we really needed a protected bay where the swells would not get too big. Also, we spent Christmas in Grand Case in 2011 so we knew that many of the best restaurants on the island are located there. This is the view of Grand Case as we were entering the bay:

A mojito and a piña colada at the beach bar before our dinner at one of the gourmet restaurants. This is the life :-)