Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sister Ship

As many of you know, Event Horizon (“Eve”), is number 22 of 24 Baltic 51's built between 1979 – 1988 by Baltic Yachts Ltd of Bosund, Pietarsaari, Finland.
So you can imagine our surprise and excitement when we saw our own reflection in Marigot Bay. It was our sister ship, Alexandra. She possesses an incredible likeness to Eve beyond the signature black mast and boom, which amazed us given their 25 plus years in age. We later learned she is hull #18, her home country is France and she makes the Atlantic Trade Winds Crossing most years to winter in the Caribbean.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Anguilla Day Trip

My visiting friend and I decided to explore the neighboring island of Anguilla. Instead of sailing over and dealing with the expense and time required to check in the boat, we took the easy 20 minute ferry ride from Marigot, St Martin to Anguilla’s Blowing Point ferry dock (on the south side). Upon arrival we were greeted by several eager-to-please taxi drivers willing to give island tours, offer suggestions based on what you want to do or just deliver you where you need to go. (The island does not offer a bus service.)

Anguilla is a flat 35 square mile island made of coral limestone and covered in thick scrub. It’s a British Overseas Territory (so they drive on the left) with a population of about 14,000. Anguilla takes pride in its quiet style and is known as a luxury destination, often for the jet set. You’ll find no duty free shopping or cruise ships here, which is nice change from St Martin. What lured us to this island are the 30 plus beaches, some the best in the Caribbean, and good snorkeling.

Our taxi driver persuaded us to go to Shoal Bay East Beach assuring us it would be more fun and less quiet than the beach we had requested. Of course this beach is on the far side of the island and a $20 taxi fare each way, but Shoal Bay East is rated the #1 Caribbean beach on many lists. It did not disappoint; sand so fine that it reminded us of cake mix, a string of beach bars & restaurants that also provide shelter from pouring rain, water sports concessions and snorkeling offshore. We rented snorkeling equipment ($10) but found the masks fit us poorly resulting in annoying leaks and fogging so next time I’d bring my own gear.

I found the Anguillans (I always ask “the locals” if they were born there) to be incredibly friendly and helpful, even in immigration. Another surprising observation I made was the amount of building on Anguilla, including its first mega yacht marina. Locals claim land development is slow so they can closely monitor the effects on the island, but to me there appears to be a building boom. Anguilla’s an ideal place for anyone seeking a relaxing retreat or for honeymooners thanks to the nice waterfront hotels bordering idyllic beaches, a great selection of restaurants and few other distractions.

Ferry rate $12 - 15 one way, plus $5 embarking fee each way. You can also fly to Anguilla’s Wallblake International Airport.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ahhh The Water

My limited vocabulary does not allow me to properly express how much I love the Caribbean waters.

Today is an extra exciting day. My best traveling buddy and dear friend, Carey, arrives for a week. As if her presence isn't enough of a gift, she's arriving with supplies as well as birthday and Christmas presents - including a new camera intended to take photos easier for me to load on to and this blog. So stay tuned for more photo filled entries...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Grand Case, St Martin

We took the boat around the corner to Grand Case to bring in the New Year with our Tasmanian cruising friends. Grand Case is a small town known for its numerous restaurants, most along the beach rimmed waterfront. Since the start of 2008 we've been going back and forth from Grand Case Bay where the waters are calmer and clearer for swimming off the boat (my favorite part of being in the Caribbean) and Marigot Bay where we have dinghy access to the boat chandleries along Simpson Bay Lagoon on the Dutch side.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Marigot Bay, St Martin

We’ve already been in St Martin over a week yet it feels like only a couple of days. Above photo is of Marigot Bay. The gathering of spectacular (sometimes mega) motor and sailing yachts from around the globe is amazing.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Atlantic Trade Wind Crossing 2007

Internet access continues to be a time consuming struggle but I managed to finally upload a few photos from the Atlantic trade wind crossing. (I have them filed on with the other transatlantic photos.) I also put a few photos taken in Madeira in my Portugal folder.