Monday, February 19, 2007

Friends Donna and Bruce came for a visit

February 19, 2007 Monday
Marigot Baie, St. Martin

Sorry to say that we have forgotten when we last updated this website.  Hard to keep track of it when we don’t have frequent internet access.  We did go to Shrimpy’s and update during lunch one day but don’t remember when that happened.

Our friends, Donna and Bruce, visited us last week; and departed yesterday afternoon.  We thoroughly enjoyed visiting with them and hope they can find the time to visit us again in another location.   Bruce took more than 1100 photographs on this trip; we picked about two dozen of these that we particularly liked and will put a couple on this website.

Monday was their first full day here and we walked up the hill at Marigot to see the remains of Fort St. Louis, which was built in 1789.  Not a lot of the structure remains; just a few stone walls and one room and the sentry guard post.   The uphill climb was easier than we anticipated and Judy had no trouble going uphill this time.  Donna and Bruce brought Judy two collapsible walking sticks and those really helped.  They also brought us several other hard to find items.

The watermaker quit working last Saturday.  We were making water and it just shut down suddenly.  It appeared to be not receiving any power.  Bill trouble-shot every thing he could think of, without any success.  So first thing Monday morning we contacted Electec and requested a service call.  The technician arrived and did exactly what Bill had already tested.  He could not find any problem and said it was probably the circuit board.  So we ordered a new circuit board to be shipped from France.  Just have to love being in the French islands when you need a part for a French built boat.  The new circuit board arrived in three days.

Our friends, Pierre and Ellen, on S/V Lady Annabelle also arrived Monday afternoon and we invited them over for sundowners.  We met Pierre and Ellen back in Trinidad last summer.  S/V Lady Annabelle is another Amel Super Maramu 2000, hull number 339; so she is a couple of years older than our boat (number 387).   We learned that Pierre and Ellen are planning to go through the Panama Canal and across the South Pacific in spring 2008.  If their plans and our plans remain the same then we might be sailing the same areas at the same time.  This would be a very good thing since we have identical boats.

Tuesday we sailed back and forth between St. Martin and Anguilla, ending in Grand Case for the night.  Pierre and Ellen also anchored in Grand Case for the night and we all went out for dinner.  Grand Case is renowned for its restaurants and is the place to go for good food on St. Martin.  Each Tuesday evening the main street is closed off and people flock to Grand Case.  Vendors set up along the street and people walk up and down shopping both the vendors and the menus for all the restaurants.  Unfortunately, we shopped the menus a little too long and then could not get a table at the first three restaurants that we tried.  But the fourth restaurant had a table for six available and we enjoyed paella with a nice wine and great desserts.  The people watching was enjoyable.  There were several bands or entertainers along the main street.   One small band with dancing girls made their way up and down the street and that attracted a lot of attention.

Wednesday we sailed between Anguilla and St. Martin, ending back in Marigot Baie again.  Seas and winds were much calmer this day so we flew the mizzen ballooner.  It had been so long since we flew this sail that we flubbed it royally.  Took three attempts to raise the sail correctly and Judy burned her fingers when the sail came down and was about to hit the water.  She knew better than to touch that halyard as it was running up, but she instinctively grabbed the halyard when she saw the sail about to hit the water.  Dumb thing to do and she definitely won’t do it again.  But the burns hurt for only a few hours and healed very quickly; stayed visible for days but were not painful.

Thursday we took the dinghy into Simpson Lagoon and visited a couple of marine stores.  Bruce had a pedometer with a security alarm.  This device alarmed several times when he would knock the key out while it was in his shorts pocket.  This happened while we were shopping in one of the marine stores and attracted a lot of attention.  The store personnel were not amused by this little alarm device blaring inside their store.

We walked at least a mile to a hardware store trying to find material for air conditioning filters and then walked back towards the lagoon and found what we needed right near where we started.  But the walk was good for us.  Then we went to Ric’s Sports Bar for lunch.  First time we have been there and we will be going back.  They had big screen televisions all over the bar (and in English for a change) and free WiFi.  Wish we had discovered Ric’s a few weeks ago.  There were several Tex-Mex dishes on their menu, so we will be visiting Ric’s today to update this website and enjoy some home style food.

Friday we rented a car and visited Phillipsburg.  Bruce and Donna wanted to shop and to see the Dutch side of the island.  Parking is almost impossible in Phillipsburg but we finally lucked into a parking space alongside the salt pond road.  We aren’t into shopping for jewelry or souvenirs so we separated from our friends and let them do their thing.  We met in the early afternoon and tried to find Cost U Less.  After a couple of wrong turns we finally found this shopping warehouse.  Donna and Bruce wanted souvenir type items; we wanted provisioning type items.  We loaded up the car with items that can’t be found in local supermarkets.  We plan to rent another car before we leave this area and do one final provisioning of familiar products before heading down island.

Friday evening we visited Pierre and Ellen on S/V Lady Annabelle for sundowners.  Ellen prepared snacks that are popular in their home town of Nice, France, and that were new to the four of us.  Donna and Bruce said that they enjoyed listening to the four of us talk about our boats and cruising experiences.  Pierre and Ellen plan to stay here for about another week and then head over to the BVI.  Then they will go back down island again so we will likely run into them again later in the spring.

Saturday the technician came and installed the new circuit board for the watermaker and it started right up.  Now we can go back to our wasteful habits – like washing the deck with fresh water after sailing and longer showers and stuff like that.  It was strange to have to be careful with our consumption of water all week, especially with guests aboard.  We have gotten spoiled having a desalinator that makes 160 liters of fresh water per hour.  Makes living aboard so much nicer.  Donna and Bruce walked and shopped around Marigot today while we stayed on the boat.

Saturday evening Donna and Bruce treated us to a very nice dinner at La Vin En Rose.  This was a first-class dinner and something that we would rarely do on our own, so we especially enjoyed such a nice evening.

Sunday morning we sailed again between Anguilla and St. Martin for a few hours.  Anchored back in Marigot Baie; ate a quick sandwich on the boat.  Donna and Bruce had already packed for their trip home, so they just had to grab a quick shower and it was off to the airport.  We hope they can visit us again in the future.

This Friday we have more guests arriving.  Glenn plans to stay just a few days.  Bill’s brother, John, plans to stay for a week or two.  St. Martin is turning out to be an easy place for visitors to travel to from the states.  This is good because we enjoy having visitors.

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