We went to customs and immigration to extend our stay. They told Dave, “You are American citizens? You can stay as long as you want. No problem.” Also, we received no paperwork, no proof we went to see them. Hopefully this won’t be an issue when we check out later. We returned to the boat and Dave obsessed over the head issue. He changed the joker valve, which still didn’t fix it. There wasn’t much left to replace or clean. Staying up until 5:00 in the morning, Dave kept tracing hoses and found some solid clogging. He finally tracked down all the clogged hoses and cleared them out. The starboard head is back in working order, but Dave is short on sleep.
Our plan was to rent a car and go for a hike the next day. Dave tried to sleep in, but the boat lights up like a car dealer’s showroom once the sun comes up. I called and canceled Roger for the day, we picked up a car, and we headed out to Loterie Farms on the French side of St Martin. What an odd but interesting place. From the name, I expected a farm or at least an orchard. If there was one, we didn’t see it. But there was a bar and restaurant, swimming pool, zipline, and hiking trail. It seemed like a resort, but we didn’t see any guest rooms to stay there. I won’t go into detail but we did both hike routes and Dave was so tired that I could keep up with him! Hiking uphill is really difficult for me but, as usual, the view is gorgeous and almost worth the hike. At the end of the hike, we stopped at the bar (Loterie Farms Tree Lounge) and ordered drinks and a beautiful fruit plate. Now that makes the hike worthwhile!
We drove all around the island and picked up some geocaches along the way. We visited our first nude beach by accident looking for a geocache. Fortunately, there was no one out and about and we had the beach to ourselves. We kept our clothes on, so does it really count as visiting a nude beach if there was no nudity? St Martin is a great island for many reasons, but we didn’t see much of historical value on our tour. Perhaps because of the hurricanes?
As we returned to the boat, Jeff and Izzy on Izzy R waved us over and we joined them aboard their beautiful trawler, a Defever 49 CPMY, for drinks. Dave and I had never been on a trawler before and we were surprised how roomy and luxurious it was. The engine room was massive. I could have walked in to the engine and then strolled over to the generator before turning and heading toward the back of their electrical panel. Incredible. The galley was fantastic, though electric, which requires them to use the generator to cook. The main salon had a huge navigation station facing the bow of the boat and plenty of room for visiting with guests. Outside was a back deck large enough for a group of people. I mean this thing was roomy, a total party boat! They agreed and said they had parties aboard with more than 30 people!!! They had to valet the dinghies! They retired from sailing and went power trawler instead of RV, like many do. This way they don’t have to stop cruising on the water and life certainly doesn’t suck on Izzy R.
The next day we got busy readying the boat for our next jaunt down the islands to Guadeloupe. We needed to make one more garbage run and drop off a book to Sheryl on Distant Shores. We dinghied over and called out to Paul and Sheryl and they came out saying, “Hey! We were just going to email you. Would you like to join us for happy hour at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club and then go for shawarma after?” We told them we’d love to, that it was our last chance to get together before leaving in the morning. So we made plans to meet at 5:00, but then they told us they just finished their newest episode and asked if we’d like to preview it for them and provide feedback. What?! Are you kidding? We’d LOVE to! This show was filmed in the Bahamas and included some great footage and information on a sea turtle. We wondered where they sleep, being air breathers. It was a great show with a good mix of sailing and cultural content. By the time this blog is posted, it should be available through Vimeo. Here is the link to their website with their blogs, shows, sailing updates, etc.
We dropped off the garbage and returned to the boat to get ready for tomorrow. Preparing the boat for a passage is mostly cleaning up and stowing anything that might fall or fly around. Dave also does engine checks to make sure the strainers are clean, oil is good, filters are clear of debris, and the belts are tight.
Happy hours are such a regular thing in the cruising community, a social event that brings everyone together, so we may order a glass of wine or beer or two and call it good. It is no wonder we rarely drink on the boat: only when I blend up a cocktail for its cool and refreshing value. Anyway, our visit with Distant Shores was great. We love hearing the stories behind the scenes of their shows. They had a celebrity sighting, but instead of seeing a celebrity it was people coming up to Paul and Sheryl that recognized them. They are so friendly and kind to everyone that approaches them, which happens quite frequently. Then they introduced me to shawarma at Little Jerusalem. Lamb and chicken meat is placed on a spit and grilled all day, then sliced off to order. Dave ordered the BBQ chicken plate and I ordered the curry chicken wrap. It’s a shame we didn’t find this place earlier. My curry chicken wrap was a little piece of heaven! We learned over dinner that they don’t fish on Distant Shores. With as much time as they spend on the water, we were very surprised to learn this. We still have two weeks worth of mahi mahi vacuum sealed and frozen on Livin’ Life, so I offered Paul and Sheryl some. Sealed up like it is, the fish tastes about as fresh as the day it was caught. We have too much fish, so we had to quit fishing.
Bright and early the next morning, we dropped off the fish on the way to customs and immigration to check out and said our final good byes with Distant Shores. They are heading to the Azores, the opposite direction we are heading. Izzy R is heading to Antigua tomorrow and we expect to meet up with them in Dominica. We dinghied over to check out of the country. I stayed on the dinghy and Dave was back within 10 minutes. No problem, he paid our fees and cleared us out. Next destination: Guadeloupe.