Saturday, December 17, 2011

St. Martin

It’s surreal to be in France after a night passage from St. Croix. The mainland of France is far a way from here, but you get the taste of it in St. Martin. You see Citroens and Peugeots, which make it European and feels like home to me. The fresh smell from bakeries making baguettes and croissants is wonderful. Moreover, French wine is present everywhere and all you want to do is drink slightly cooled Chardonnay during the warm sunny days and Bordeaux at night. The radio stations play great music here and the locals dress more tastefully in this part of the Caribbean. Nevertheless, this Island is not only french, it’s also Dutch. We entered St. Martin on the French side, Marigot, since it’s a few Euros cheaper to check in and out here and there are no anchorage fees in most sites. As most of our followers and friends know, this adventure is happening with very limited resources. This Island is less than 50 square miles and it’s easy to dinghy, walk, or bike from the French to the Dutch side. There is a lovely story about the division of this island. It is not supported by historical fact, but according to Chris Doyle’s Cruising Guide, “The French and Dutch were so civilized that, rather than fight over the island, they had a Frenchman armed with a bottle of wine walk in one direction and a Dutchman equipped with a flask of gin take the other. Where they met became the boundary, and the French ended up with a bit more because the gin was stronger than the Wine”.

The 92 mile night passage from St. Croix to St. Martin was smooth. The heading was 92 degrees and wind NE at 6-10 with moderate seas. We sailed on a close reach all the way to Marigot. Being strictly under sail going East in the Caribbean is very rare, because of the trade winds. But we were very lucky with the weather window. This was the first night passage for this leg and we were missing the tranquility. To most people it might be frightening to be on the water in the dark, where you can’t see anything but the sky. Even so, there is a feeling involved with this experience that is exceptional. Being alone in the middle of nowhere under darkness brings you closer to your higher self! It’s great meditation time. A few hours after total darkness, where we couldn’t even see the water, the almost full moon rose with enough light to see the swells and still all the stars. Nonetheless, you can’t wait for the sun to rise and bring light to all!

One of the difficulties in a cruising life style is access to information. In other words, lack of internet. We forget how comfortable we have it on land. When you live in a permanent place, it’s easy to have access to internet endlessly, but when you are traveling from one place to another in different countries, it’s impossible to have internet at all times. Mostly, we find wifi signals from the boat with an antenna, still most are locked and sometimes you can purchase the password. What we usually do is to go ashore to find wifi in a bar or coffee shop and that requires that you purchase something to be able to use the wifi.  It requires time and effort to have a blog update or post pictures and keep in touch. So please don’t be worried and be patient if you don’t hear from us every few days or so. One amazing device aboard now is the spot connect. Anytime we set sail, the spot connect will be activated and keep a track of Earthling’s passages and actual location. We are looking forward to the day where internet wifi covers the whole planet free of charge for everyone.      
Love from St. Martin

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