Cruising Sint Maarten, Saba and Tintamarre

By the time I was getting ready with all the equipment, two friends came to visit from Sweden. Really happy to see familiar faces! They came with much appreciated presents, like a portable 12V-fridge, a Swedish flag, and a lot more. Now, we were ready to do some cruising around and outside St Martin. A bit nervy to leave after all this time, also because of the weather - during the last days, it's been blowing a good 20 knots of NE wind, and I had seen three boats try to bear of from the Turtle Pier, going too fast or in the wrong angle, thus getting terrible scratches on their hulls.

Fortunately, we were more lucky, and sailed off without any trouble. The first destination was Tintamarre, a small island that has a beautiful beach and an airport which is no more used and is reclaimed by the jungle. Unfortunately, only one of us wanted to explore the bushy island in the noon heat, all the rest of us were clad in flipflops and shorts so we didn't get to see any airplane wrecks.


What we got to see was a lot of turtles in the water! I dived and swam together with turtles both on Saba and on Tintamarre, a wonderful experience - they are not shy at all and let you come very close. Also, some barracudas were exploring the boat bottom, and at Tintamarre I spotted the biggest I have ever seen - and swam up and said hello to it too. A huge variety of colorful reef fish live here too, it's a joy to snorkel and see all of them play around. Also recently, I also saw a glorious ray fish, swimming around on the bottom. I couldn’t snorkel around with it unfortunately, because I was on my way back to the boat with a big harvest of beautiful conch shells that I was making for the dinner. Removing them from shell, chopping them up and frying with garlic, olive oil and white wine gave a very good result, served with linguini.

Looking for conch under water

We sailed off to visit Saba again, and got a visit from the coastguard - twice! They just wanted to look through our papers and so on, but were a real nuisance since the second time it was 7 in the morning and heavy rain, and this is not when you want three soaking wet guys in full uniform running around your warm dry cozy boat. But it all ended well (there were also coast guard helicopters and coast guard planes too, looking at us, I don't know what the reason was - we couldn't have partied THAT hard the night before?)
Beautiful Saba, seen from MtScenery
Lastly, we visited the biggest happening on Sint Maarten - the Heineken Regatta. We didn't partake in the racing, but rather more in the festivities. The parties were great, a lot of happenings on the beach, live music and shows, I have met Captain Morgan himself - an experience similar to a child meeting Santa.

After the guests left, I had to move the boat to the disappointing Lagoon Marina because of the proximity to FKG and Atlantis who were fixing the autopilot. I do not have many positive words about it… Much too expensive, chaotic, overcrowded, the services were not sufficient. The showers cost extra, there was only one toilet (imagine that, when there's a happy hour at the bar AND the marina is full...), the paid internet didn't work properly, the laundry was a complete robbery. I much preferred the Simson Bay. Anyway, after the autopilot was finally installed and finished, I checked out in Philipsburg, and soon s/y Space would be on her way to St Kitts.

It was not all too bad. During the last days in St Martin, there was a series of very nice sunsets, beautiful weather which was good for bathing, and a lot of good luck. I managed to get all the gear on time, as well as some random lucky strikes - like being suddenly invited in for a grand opening of a jewelry store and being treated with free champagne as much as I wanted. My mum came over to sail a bit with me, and I did some sightseeing together with her. I was on the way to sail forth, and very happy about it. It was well-needed, as I was quite tired of the island, I had been there for too long a time.