Saturday, February 13, 2010

Margot, St. Martin

February 11 - St. Martin

I had confused the spelling of this island a number of times. The crux of the problem is that half of the island is Dutch (the southern end), while the northern end is French. The Dutch side is called Sint Maarten and the French side is St. Martin. The island was split many years ago in a peaceful manner. Dutch settlers liked the southern part because of the salt ponds, while French settlers grew tobacco and sugar cane in the north. Today, all they really have is tourism, yachting and duty-free shopping.

February 13 - St. Martin

We’re still in Marigot Bay. It’s a comfortable and low-keyed kind of a town, with lots of restaurants and shops. We took the “dollar bus” to Philipsburg (the Dutch side) and were not impressed. Very touristy along the beach and mainly attracts the tourists that come from the cruise ships.

Back in Margot, we hiked up to Fort Louis, which offers a beautiful panoramic view of the area. The fort has an interesting history. Built in the late 1700’s, it was once attacked by a British flotilla consisting of some 200 men. The French garrison only had about thirty men in total, but fought the Brits off, sending most of them scurrying back to their ships and imprisoning others. Interestingly, the Dutch also came to the fort’s rescue and had snuck around the fort to catch some of the other British troops.

Enough history - in the afternoon, Dave and I went by dinghy to the airport to pick up Kristi. Rob stayed behind because he wasn’t feeling well. To get to the airport by dinghy, we needed to go under one of two bridges that lead into Simpson Bay. Luckily, we found a bar that was located right across from the airport with a dinghy dock.

At the airport, Kristi’s flight already had landed by the time we got there. As we waited, all the passengers came out except Kristi. Apparently something had gone wrong.

We headed back to the Lahaina Roads. As we passed under the bridge leading to Margot, we noticed big swells coming in. Then we saw a large tender being hit by a breaking wave. It was a bit unnerving to see huge swells (some breaking) in the harbor.

When we got to the boat, it was rolling violently from side to side. The anchor chain was being jerked hard with each passing swell. It was going to be a rough night. We decided to move in a little closer to the marina where there was more protection from the swells. We checked to see if there was an available slip in the marina, but they never got back to us. I’m sure they were full.

Needless to say, it was a rough night. None of us got much sleep with all the violent rolling the boat did all night. This morning, things are a little more settled. We’re again attempting a run to the airport. Hopefully, Kristi will turn up this time.

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