Tag Archives: st. martin

Happy Hiker

Anse Marcel: Nature Reserve, 3.3km or 2:30hrs at least that is what we think the sign says in French.

Overcast day, nothing on the agenda we hadn’t been off the boat much and spotted this trail a couple of days ago when we were in Anse Marcel, we are now in Grande Case (spoken as Caaaaas) which is a whopping mile or two down the west coast.   I tossed the idea out after the morning radio net and Christine said sure.   

First time in months, this wasn’t a one beer hike.  So we both filled water bottles as we weren’t sure how long this was gonna take. Was the 2.5 hours each direction since we didn’t have a car at the other end of the trail or was that round trip?   Adventure, that is what it is.  Normally I take a beer to nurse on the hike up a hill and have a sip or two left at the top, but it certainly would be warm after 2+ hrs.

As we were in Grand Case, we dropped the dinghy and scooted over to Anse Marcel which was a nice ride till we cleared the coast then the surge/waves set in, we went from 17knots down to 4knots to keep dry-ish.   Landed safely, but Christine needed something to eat to in case she got hungry along the way (since it could be another 5 hours before we saw food again) so she found something in the french mini-market that would do.  We set off to explore the nature.

The sign promised lots of information along the way.  We started down the path which looked like a car path, and ran into the water treatment plant – such a lovely aroma to start a hike.  But off we went after finding the signs that pointed the right direction to the trail we were off – nice and fresh like.  We started at the red spot on the lower left side and walked toward the right, or East around the island.

The trail went up hill, what looked to be a washed out ravine had been marked and trimmed a way to make a single path up the hill.  It started with some beautiful trees that arched over the narrow, rocky path which was cool and pretty.

The start wasn’t too bad, but being on the back side of the mountain it was a bit warm even given the overcast skies.  Once we crested the first hill, there was a great view of the Anse Marcel bay and Anguilla, we pushed on, up and over the next.  From there we could see Tintamarre, and the beach where we would eventually walk on,  a long way down.

Christine is going slow and steady, enjoying the birds and butterflies, reading the signs and snapping photos of me–look closely for me in the orange shirt below.

Up and over boulders, tree roots, broken limbs, along the dirt and sometimes rocky and cactus encroaching path.  After scurrying over several large boulders, we made the secluded beach and walked its distance to find the trail that continues on.  In an attempt to rest, Christine captured a couple that spoke English who said it was worth the hike to the end, so we continued.  The beach was a little 1/2 way to the end and we had been walking a little over an hour.  So maybe 2.5 was each direction.

After the beach it became rocky, like large pieces of coral and walking became an exercise in watching where your feet were going to step while hugging the coast line.   Made the brain work, and keeping more focused on the steps than taking the scenery.   Was rough going in flip flops, but we made it.  Made it to the end, the end is at the landfill or dump.  So what the sign should have said is the most scenic route between the sewage factory and the dump.  However, the coast that lined the dump was very lovely with tide pools that could lull you to sleep with the harmonic sounds.

We did the round trip of 6.6 miles in about 3 hrs of moving time, we stopped to rest at the dump and then again to scarf the french tasty treats Christine had picked up earlier.

Back to the boat and a pizza was devoured, and a lots of resting and relaxing till Happy Hour which consisted of Ribs for appetizers and another rum sampling.  Thinking the Plantation from Barbados might be edging out my favorite Diplomatico from Venezuela, but I’m sure there will be more taste tests..

Getting antsy

So best laid plans all sound good after a long hard day. We decided to bust on out of SXM Oyster Pond over to St Barts. We are checked in Frech, St Barts is French and on one blog I post I read that you don’t need to clear out of SXM if traveling to St Barts. We’d have to get taxi ride to the other side of the island where the customs dock is, and that blog post said there wasn’t even an option to choose going to St Barts. So we are going to try it, worst thing is we might have to sail back to SXM to get the necessary paperwork, at least we will have fueled up and be on a down wind sail for the jaunt back to the far side of SXM.

The one item we forgot was Denis had one of our boat keys, and getting in touch is very difficult when the cell service is down as it has been for the past couple of days. We knew he was in the area cause his dingy was close by, and luck would have it it came to the boat with the key in the AM.

Now we had to figure out how to undo the chains that are covered in guk, and around the dock polls. The process of swapping lines for chains so that we could release them from the boat was messy and took at least an hour, only a could of small cuts on the barnacles at least, so not bad.

By 11am we were pretty set to go, made a plan on releasing the stern lines and going foward on anchor with a little bit of cross wind. Christine on the starboard side then to guide a floating rope away on the port side, Wayne to pull up the chain and bridle, and me to keep us crabbing into the wind without blowing into the bank/other boats. All worked out, slow is pro and slow is what we did. A little excitement as we got blown a bit and driving over the last mooring ball, but using the other engine it was fine.

Slow trip round the shallow bay the depth warning hadn’t quit going off since we turned it on before we dropped the lines always adds to the stress. But the crew put away the gazillion fenders we had out, and then we were ready to navigate the reef, all but one of the markers were spotted and the waves weren’t too big, we just barely beat the incoming Ferry at the last mark, turned to head to St Barts and yup, the wind instruments were doing their job, pointing to where we wanted to go, wind directly on the nose. We knew that was going to be the case, so we just motored without the sails that direction along with a few other catamarans, and one monohull that was working the tacks, when the wind finally came to the 30 degree mark we could have tried to sail, but we were only 45 mins out, would probably have taken longer to get the sail up, so we pressed on to Columbier Bay and grabbed a ball and finally fed the crew, the snack an hour earlier was just a hold over till we got stopped.

The freezer, the damned freezer. Turned it on again, still nothing, does’t get cold – that means no long term meat storage, but most of all that means no ice, no ice for cold beverages. Nothing floating in your cup, drinks taste the same but no cling in the glass feels like we are camping. Oh wait thats what sailing is, camping on the water and moving along slowly. At leas we have some insulated cups that keep everything cold for long periods even without the ice.

Swam round the boat, cleaned some of the gunk off speedometer so that’ll work on the way back found a spot on the hull that had been rubbing on a chain/mooring while we were in Oyster Pond, will need some antifouling applied, nothing too bad tho.

Grilled chicken fajitas for lunch and pasta and salad for dinner. Lounged in the hammocks on the deck watched the other boats, read books, hooked up the windlass remote replacement, that went swimming on the last trip.

Tomorrow we go into Gustavia to clear in get fuel and some more provisions at bigger grocery store and maybe a trip to the Chandlery to get some boat parts. And get some wifi to post these past posts.. :0


Slackers we are not – busy

Wow, sunday fun day. Slept in for what seemed like an eternity on a boat, then a child started screaming bloody murder. No not on our boat, nor not really a child at all, it came in rhythmetic sequences, the moorings and sunsail marina was just across the way from the dock we were on and it was time to do some fiberglass trimming. So by slept in I mean 7:38am the sun had been up, I tried to stay asleep, but the child, er fiberglass repair was not having any of it. So.. the day begins.

Dress the baby, pull off all her covers and let the sails breath is the order of the day, so much to do, seems like it’ll never be ready. So we tackle one thing that leads to 12. Starting to uncover the main sail, leads to a trip up the mast to fix the lazy jacks that just parted ways. On the bright side, I got the measurements I was needing to finish replacing the lazy jacks.

Uncovered the dingy, all good there, but a little deflated, so I pumped her up with air – easy task. Dropping the dingy in the water to do that task envolved dropping past the stern cross lines that are keeping the shack from swinging side to side. A push here, a tug there and its finally in the water, but no engine. So we stab the outboard, sailor speak for taking that sharp propellor and engine and attempting to mount it on transom without dropping it overboard, again perfect success. Fired up on second pull, awesome. Took it for a spin, not so awesome, only firing on one of two spark plugs, has happened before and I brought spares, but Wayne decided to tackle that and just cleaned the old ones and re-installed them, seemed to be much better. Call it a sucess, so a beer is deserverd. Just as it is after any small task. So the day goes.

Started the big engines, no problem. Put the jib sail up, not much wind so no problem, we know the wind is not in our favor but we pretend we will sail soon.

Christine unpacks our luggage and puts the interior of the boat together so its not a ramshackle of stuff everwhere. That takes at least as long as everything going on outside with uncovering and making a mess outside.

A break for lunch, we think its breakfast, but well close to noon. So thats 5 oclock somewhere, and somewhere is where we are. We hike to the top of the hill to grab breakfast outside the marina, but that place is closed so the second part of the plan was a small provision run. We continued to the small but well stocked grocery, looked around had just about everything in small portions. Stepped outside to try the restarunt next door, but its only open for the occasional dinner. Back to the grocery to buy just what we could carry back to the boat, then the nice lady offers to drive us back to the marina. Score, we load up on cases of water, beer and mixers – oh and some food too. A couple proteins and pasta type things to hold us over till we make it St Barts where we know of a grocery close to the dingy dock.

Back to the boat, we still have to carry our goods 1/8 of a mile but much better than the full mile. Still starving as being unsuccessful at breakfast/lunch but drop off our golden items to that when we get back the presidente beer will be cold. Turn on the freezer and put the proteins in the freezer. Leave to the Dingy dock for lunch.

Des’s Dingy Dock, most awesome food. The Grouper wrapped Shrimp and the rack of SXM ribs were awesome. The cold beverages were good too. Would recommend Des’s in Oyster Pond, we met the chef and thanked her for the great grub.

Did I mention they pour strong drinks in the islands.

Back to the boat, the work continues, putting things away, uncovering stuff, trying to see if our 75 feet of hose would reach the faucet, only one water tank would reach, unable to rinse the boat, fill the starboard side but its all good. Changed out the interior salon speakers, stored lots. Beer is good.

Christine wore herself out, and took a little nap. Wayne and I continued to puts, put the fishing poles up. Checked the diesel, talked about getting out of here and a plan to get away from the dock. We are med-moored, meaning our anchor is on the bottom and our stern is tied to a dock, or lines have been in the water for 5 months, lots of growth, nasty, nasty nasty. So I spend a few hours getting squirted by the muscles and what not trying to clean up the lines for our eventual departure. Started with a brush but moved on to a putty knife, I stunk. Like I imagine the Lockness monster to smell. It was worth it, but not a fun task.

When Christine woke, we made a plan to have some appetizers for dinner and possible departure monday morning.

Twas a good day, lots of projects/work accomplished, some naps, so plans lots of sun.

Getting anxious to get out of the bay tho.