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St. Maarten Nov 23, 2011-Jan 5, 2012

Wow! Magnifique!
We’ve been here since the 23rd and are just now figuring it out. The first 5 days my mom was here so that kept us in limbo, playing tourists instead of unpacking. Now we are squaring away the boat and developing a routine.

The sun is extremely strong from about 7:30 so we get our deck chores done early. The kids do :30 a day. Today it was polishing some of the stainless hardware.

At 7:30 there is something called a cruisers’ net on the VHF radio. All the live-aboards get on and exchange news and info. I introduced us today after the announcements that the French side bridge is not functional and there is a monthly boaters swap meet for tomorrow. Another boat with kids reached out to say hi, and suggest meeting up. Will do.

After breakfast the kids sit down to school. I help them with their lessons as much as they will listen to me. it is only our second day, so I can’t really claim success yet. We’ll see how it goes.

In the afternoon we like to go to the beach. We’ve been getting there about 4 pm. This side of the island faces west so we see the sunset, but it’s been too cloudy for anything spectacular. The puppy is a lunatic on the beach. She tries to bit the foam on the waves. Then she chases the crumble pieces of sand her paws kick up. Today I through balls of wet sand for her to chase. It was hysterical watching her try to locate them as they melted into the rest of the shoreline.

Another hysterical thing Brooke does is play with her shadow or reflection. At night her shadow shows up very clearly on our hull alongside the Dock. As we return from her last walk, it catches the corner of her eye, and she crouches and growls and jumps around as if playing. Fortunately she’s smart enough to not get too close or she d fall in the gap between the boat and the dock.

This is th first time we’ve had an extended stay at a dock. EJ got the a/c working so now he’s committed us to a month. It is interesting watching the boats come and go. There are a lot of mega-yachts with professional captains and crew. Humbly our boat is one of the smallest, but not by so much that it is embarrassing.

There are also a few live- aboards like us. Today we met Diego, Nina and their 5 month old son. They seem interesting. His accent is hard to place. Initially I thought eastern Europe, but ith a name like Diego… Jason has made friends with the local barber’s son. They kick around the soccer ball or play with the dog. Here is a pic of the place.

The other day we went up to orient beach. It is on th e northeast side of the island and has a beautiful crescent of powdery sand. The Atlantic is calmed by an outlying reef a mile out protecting the area. The beach is like San Tropez or Nice: there are beach restaurants adjacent to one another about 300 feet back from the surf. In front of each are rows of neatly aligned lounges with umbrellas. For anywhere from $6-8 you can rent a chaise, umbrella and get a free drink. In France, the custom is to tip the attendant in order to be near the most attractive sunbathers, but that did not seem the case here. Just by chance we ended up with front row seats right off the water.

Gigi got her hair braided. It came out pretty with 12 cornrows across her across the crow of her head progressing into plains braids down the back with the rest of her hair loose. The trick to doing it well is to coat the hair with Vaseline. Next time I will try to do it myself, although $2 per braid is not too expensive.

Thinking of pricing, the French side is a bargain! We found lolo-shacks on t he beach in Grand Case. There are these little shacks with tables outside and smoking grills between them and tables on decks over the beach. Never would have had the courage to try them except that our vet used to live here and suggested it. For $2 I had the most delicious chicken leg I’ve ever eaten. They have small plates of ribs, cole slaw, corn on th e cob, etc. and for $10 per person you can really stuff yourself. However, the lobster is $70. Insane

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December 5 update:
Today the kids started sailing lessons on the Opti’s at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club. It was fantastic to see them ech steering around the harbor In their own boats. They both seemed comfortable and the instructor Daan did a good job of managing their progress and keeping them safe. They will blog about it themselves. Meanwhile here are photos.

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One Comment

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  1. Bill & Maureen, KALUNAMOO / Dec 6 2011 6:39 pm

    We are happy you are safe. Thought about you and how your journey was. We were reading several blogs. Enjoy. We are in ST Marys, Georgia. We will leave boat here and go home for a few weeks.We have had a great trip so far. Would love to have your e-mail address. Merry Christmas

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