Already we’ve been in Sint Maarten for three weeks. It would have been nice to stay a little longer in the British Virgin Islands, but we had a rare northerly wind to sail as we didn’t want to motor-sail into headwinds with a leaking water pump. As it turned out that weather window was the last northerly for some time as the prevailing easterlies have blown steadily since then. Fortunately though before we left the BVIs we managed to briefly catch up with the crews from Elbe and Kantala who had sailed from the south. We hadn’t seen since South Africa and it was great to see them again.
After a perfect sail, we arrived at Sint Maarten. This small island is French to the north and Dutch to the south and we arrived at Simpson Bay at the Dutch side. This arrival closed the loop for us. We left Simpson Bay in April last year to commence our trip north to Bermuda then onto New York – somewhere around 5,000nm.
Sint Maarten is a duty free island and we managed to source and purchase Perkins and Volvo parts directly from the U.K. ex VAT and have them imported into the country with no further charges. The two major chandleries here (Budget Marine and Island Water World) aren’t always the cheapest, but they usually have things we need and give a 10% discount to members too.
To fill in time until I fly to Melbourne at the end of the month, we’ve been busy working on the boat (as we do!). Wayne waited for a calm day to take apart the engine to remove the offending circulation pump and replace it with a new one. A few some small jobs – new head vent, new windlass foot controls, new taps for galley sink, but we’re still waiting on parts to fix the transmission cooling. This week we bought a second-hand Tohatsu 9.8hp outboard which has our small dinghy high above the waves as we speed around the lagoon staying dry! We still have our small Yamaha 6hp but that goes so slow and we get drenched every time we go out.
In between visits to the chandleries or Carrefour supermarket behind the Port de Plaisance Marina, we’ve had Happy Hours at Lagoonies bar, caught up with friends for dinner, and visited others anchored in Marigot Bay. I try to go for regular walks around Colebay or up to Marigot on the French side, or for a swim on the outside of the island in Simpson Bay – not many footpaths and plenty of traffic here on narrow roads, but it’s a nice change to look at something besides chandleries, hardware stores, and marinas. There’s plenty of super yachts here too.
So for the next few weeks Wayne and Blue Heeler will stay put in the lagoon while I head back to visit my family. It’s been two and a half years since I’ve been to Melbourne and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone!
Happy Easter to all our friends and family!