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St. Maarten

So we aren’t still floundering in the Carribbean somewhere and we did make it to St. Maarten! Comms have been intermittent this week so here is a quick update on all things Draper.

Spanish town in Virgin Gorda wasn’t spectacular but the slow easy drinks at dockside & the beautiful evening at cocomaya was a utter treat as we wrapped up our time in the BVIs. The scrumptious Latin-Asian fusion restaurant was hidden away & had beach games & a relaxed friendly vibe. The eve was slightly mared by getting back to the boat to realise there’d been a random shower into a open hatch & our bed was soaked! Rookie moves strike again. At least it cooled the night down though.

We cleared customs in Spanish Town on Friday morning, meaning we’d committed to atleast 10 hours on the nose to make the crossing to St. Maarten. With no better wind direction later in the week and not too much swell we took this option as hurricane season is marching on. The afternoon was all about some chillaxing and snorkeling. First a race ensued with another lipari 41 of course! Chris was pissed when he realised they had their engine on in the final approach to Saba rock.

The crossing on Saturday went smoothly. We left at 5am. Sadly we had to motor for the 2nd half as wind was on the nose. We were also sorry not to be close enough to help a yacht sending out a pan pan 30 miles west off St Maarten without an engine in no breeze. We were surprised to hear them 24hrs later still stranded- gulp! Harry was dead chuffed to catch a barracuda on the route. Mummy was slightly horrified- its just mean if you can’t eat it.

We arrived in St. Maarten to a lush green mountainous view. It looked like it the Island was straight out of Moana. The kids insist on singing the soundtrack 20 times a day, so it was apt. We anchored up in Grande Case on Saturday night. We had the prime spot for low flying plane spotting & Lily was itching to join the reggae party on the beach. Bummer we just missed Bastille Day.

Seems that the local customs at Marigot Bay were pretty relaxed about our checking in, but it was done by Tuesday! Marigot was a useful base to get stocked up on supplies and provisions. It’s fair to say the French side came up with the goods and Sarafina patisserie was a hit. The animal lovers also took a shine to “cute fluffy fury animals” on the dock at night. The armies of these not so cute rats looked pretty keen to join us in the tender too. Lush. It being the end of the season, the markets and local crafts were not on full display. I’m sure its a great spot earlier in the season. We sadly narrowly missed Tom and his family. Harry has been seeing mirages of his boat everywhere and is keen to make some friends soon. We hope to catch them in the coming weeks.

When we ventured off the boat, Grand Case was more our scene at night. The owners of “Le Cottage” on the main drag took great care of us & might have achieved top 5 meals of all time. Please remember we’ve been cooking on a boat for nearly a month, so maybe our scale is off wack, but I think not.

This week has also seen us hike to the highest peak of St Maarten, chill at Kontiki at Lorient beach and avoid the willy swinging over 65 year old nudists further down the beach. *(I have nothing against nudists but pre brekkie it’s a tad much for me).

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More sea-life highlights included an octopus making and appearance on deck after escaping its not so empty conch shell. It got back to the safety of water unscathed by the savages though! Hanging with the turtles whilst they munched on sea grass and seeing jumping rays was pretty special. During the crossing we also saw more flying fish than you can shake a stick at.

Tintamare, a tiny island off St Maarten was thursday afternoons haunt. Snorkelling was ace & Harry caught his 1st reef waves. There was significant shark chat, but mostly from the budding marine biologist amongst us. I’ve been getting over my mild open water swimming aversion by taking Harry with me as bodyguard on his surfboard into the shore- winner. Yes I am a woss but I don’t think they noticed. Oh actually there was a shriek as the tender was deposited on shore in breaking waves around Monday. Harry gave a good account in his journal pic!!

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Liferaft service yesterday took me back to doing a similar thing with my Dad at around Harry’s age. Just as I remember being, the kids were enthralled by watching all the bits come out, it blowing up & sitting in it for a demo. I’m not sure they grasp the reality of needing to use it and let’s hope that doesn’t happen….Certainly a reality check. The lady, Anke, at Liferafts etc was awesome and a wealth of knowledge. Pretty disappointed that the last service it had in St.Thomas was well below par. They’d not replaced vital parts but had charged and marked them off as safe….less than cool & pretty shocking when you re supplying safety equipment! Sadly Anke wasn’t surprised. Note to self- don’t service in St Thomas.

We’re making plans to head to St Barts and Antigua. Once again the old windows of weather are having to align and there is funky stuff brewing. We will see how it all pans out!

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Misadventures

  • What appears to be heat rash on the kids scalps.
  • Chris has an eye infection. He still insists on driving the tender with no contacts which says a lot about my driving!! This is a problem as he’s without contacts for 5 days but we’ve decided to head to St. Barts anyway and I’ll try not to fall overboard.
  • Maintenance maintenance maintenance….

 

 

 

 

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