Finally! Finally the time came to leave Antigua. Our friends’ boats were ready, the weather looked favorable, and the cabinets, refrigerators, and freezers were all well stocked for the next few weeks. It was time to go.
Leaving Antigua early in the morning.
We all untied from our docks early the morning of January 20th and started on our way to a night’s stopover in St. Kitts. The sea conditions could not have been better for the trawlers in the group, Tropical Blend and AfterMath, and Symbiosis, the sailing vessel, was able to set sail as well. After a voyage that lasted about eight hours we arrived in Nevis, marveling at the calm seas we had along the way. We anchored our boats in the bay and the captains of the group hopped aboard Tangent to check in. Although we would only stay in St. Kitts/Nevis for one night and would leave early in the morning, we knew that the country was famous for bothering boaters who had not checked in properly with Customs and Immigration. Unfortunately, the check in took a very long time, as there was a family in Customs that seemed to be having a problem. About three hours later, John, Larry, and Scott returned to their respective boats and we started out for another hour to our anchorage in St. Kitts, arriving after dark. It turned into a very long day, but it was an easy one for everyone.
Lovely hills in St. KittsThese calm conditions in open water are what we like to call “Trawler Weather”Thanks to Debbie Gaddy, this is a picture of us entering the lagoon in St. MaartenSome beautiful boats just inside the bridge.Eclipse is the largest personal yacht ever built to date. It is 533 feet long!We last saw Venus in Grenada.
The following morning, we again started early. Anchors were up by 6 AM and we were on our way to Sint Maarten. Once again we were rewarded for our long wait in Antigua; the seas were perfect for those of us in trawlers, but a little slow for our sailing friends. We arrived in Simpson Bay in St. Maarten at 3:10 PM, just a few minutes too late for the 3 o’clock bridge opening that allows boats into the lagoon and its marinas on the island. We dropped our anchors and waited for the 5:00 opening though and all was well. If ever you own a boat and think you have a good- sized one, you only need to enter Simpson Bay and the lagoon to be humbled. Outside the lagoon sat Eclipse, the largest personal yacht built up to this time. Inside we found Venus again, Steve Jobs’ boat that was completed after his passing away. Everywhere you look there are huge, beautiful boats owned by some very rich people in this world.
St. Maarten is the Dutch side of the island, the other half being St. Martin, which is French. Our marina was right in the midst of stores, restaurants, and banks, so we were happy to enjoy some conveniences and comforts of home. St. Maarten uses the US dollar, so even being able to make purchases without having to convert from one currency to another was a joy. It felt good to have familiar dollar bills and coins in our pockets for a change.
Larry, Debbie, and Scott on Little BlendKirby and Noi keeping watch with John and me on Tangent.Debbie, Noi, and I went to breakfast at Zee Best while the captains checked into St. Maarten.
While on the island we enjoyed riding the dinghy around the lagoon and trying some of the restaurants. One evening we went to a piano bar for some live evening entertainment. We planned on staying a few more days but suddenly a very nice weather window opened up and John and I decided it was time to start on our way to the British Virgin Islands. We are trying our best to re-enter Florida by April 1st. If you hadn’t heard, Jeff and Sarah are having a baby boy in April and we want to be in the states for the event. We have less than two months to make that deadline and we still have a very long way to go.
Leaving St. Maarten. What looks like an island out there is Eclipse anchored in the Bay
Unfortunately, our friends aboard Tropical Blend and Symbiosis were not ready to leave so we said a fond “see you soon” to them and passed through the bridge with the 4 PM opening on January 24th. Our thoughts of anchoring in Simpson Bay quickly dissipated when we saw how rolly it was there. A trip to the French side and Marigot Bay left us in calm, beautiful waters in a lovely anchorage. We got a good night’s rest, in preparation for the 12 hour trip the following day to the British Virgin Islands.
It was sad to leave St. Maarten so soon. It felt as though one chapter of our adventure had ended somehow, but we are excited that there is so much more to see and discover on this planet that is made up of 71% water! Remember to live your dreams; tomorrow is never guaranteed.