Thursday, April 26, 2007

St Maarten to Bermuda

event horizon spinnaker sailingEvent Horizon departed St Martin early Thursday, April 19th and after 1070nm arrived in Bermuda Thursday, April 26th. It was a much longer trip than expected - 7 days to the hour – due to light winds that were always on our bow. (It took us less than 4.5 days to sail south.) The slow speed drove my captain mad, so I tried to hide my happiness over the delay in leaving warm Caribbean waters. It was my longest passage at sea and thoroughly enjoyed. Aside from swells the first two days, it was surprisingly calm and we managed to skirt most of the rain. Frequent sail changes kept us exercised and numerous pods of dolphins and iPods kept us entertained.dolphins

Friday, April 20, 2007

Points of Interest in St Martin

If only in St Martin briefly, try your best to visit:

The appropriately named Sunset Beach Bar at Maho Beach. If the frozen cocktails, beautiful beach and picturesque sunset doesn’t wow you, the thrill (and roar) of planes passing directly over head as they arrive and depart from Juliana International Airport will.

Marigot, the capital of the French side of bi-national St Maarten / St Martin is home to a famous open-air Public Market open most days until 2pm, but Wednesday and Saturday are the main market days and the best time to go. Vendors come from nearby islands with local spices, produce, fresh fish and crafts. I found the market to have the best selection and prices for locally made gifts and souvenirs.

Grand Case, located at the northern tip of St Martin, is a charming French Caribbean seaside village famous for its restaurants and distinctive small wooden houses painted in pastels.
Philipsburg, the capital of Dutch St. Maarten is four streets deep and one mile long. Best known for its variety of duty free shops (all of the island is duty free) including electronics, jewelry, perfume, linens and alcohol. If you are a fan of fine spirits, I encourage you to visit Gulmohar’s at 76 Front Street where you will find a superb selection and many bottles open for taste testing, including hard-to-find single malts and rums.

Free WiFi – St Martin

Best spots for free fast connectivity (including good quality Skype calls) while staying in the Simpson Bay area:

McDonald’s – yes, those famous golden arches, located next to Sint Maarten (Dutch) Simpson Bay Bridge and Immigration office

Shrimpy’s Dockside Bar caters to a cruiser’s every need. Accessible from 46 Airport Road or inside the lagoon by dingy, it’s located in a corner of the Simpson Bay lagoon next to the airport runway extension in a little marina called Portofino.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Easter 2007

My captain and I returned to Simpson Bay, St Maarten late on Easter. Our sail up island was a perfect run thanks to steady 16-20kt winds and our 135% headsail, which also provided much needed shade. It was my second consecutive Easter at sea, and the Easter bunny surprised us again with Cadbury chocolates.

Down Island

St KittsAfter saying goodbye to BVI on April 1st, we sailed down island for the last days of our Caribbean winter…

First stop, Saint Martin where our good friend Captain Parkins joined us for what would turn into a fast and furious tour of several islands. We began with a day spent on Sint Maarten (Dutch) and the following day in Saint-Martin (French). An early morning departure had us sailing further down island towards Antigua. It was a beautiful sail that brought us close to St Eustatius and St Kitts (photo left). But light winds on our bow made it a longer than expected trip so as the afternoon escaped us, we opted for happy hour and dinner on Nevis Island (photo right).NevisWe arrived after Customs & Immigration had closed but were able to clear-in and out with the police department. We walked the main town of Charlestown and tried our best to hang out with the locals. Then we made our way along the expansive Pinney’s Beach which took us to the famous Sunshine’s beach bar for Killer Bees. We continued our stroll along the beach and enjoyed a beautiful sunset and an alfresco dinner at Mango. Our return to the boat was followed by a customary night swim and an unusually early night as the next day would begin with a 3am departure.

Antigua (part 2 of Down Island)

To our surprise it was another 12 hrs of beating before we arrived in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua.

The purpose of our adventure to Antigua was to meet up with mutual friends on holiday which we did that evening at the Mad Mongoose. It just happened to be rum punch night so I’ll let your imagination finish this story…but know that the night ended with all six of us enjoying a night swim off the Event Horizon and staying aboard for a sleep-over.

After a whirlwind visit that included beautiful historic English Harbour, my captain and I set sail to return to St Martin.
Bottom 2 photos are taken outside the Admiral's Inn which is located in Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour.
Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour Antigua
Admiral's Inn at Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour Antigua

Monday, April 02, 2007

Goodbye BVI

The end of March flew past as I tried to fill each day with my favorite things, including time with new friends, and savor every moment knowing it was the countdown to my departure. Added excitement to the final days included the Cricket World Cup (held every four years and this time it happened to take place throughout the West Indies) and the BVI Spring Regatta festivities.