Friday, March 2, 2007

Heineken Regatta

March 2, 2007 Friday
Marigot Baie, St. Martin

The annual Heineken Regatta is in progress around St. Martin.  The spinnaker races were held yesterday and probably were beautiful with hundreds of colorful sails; but we opted not to go to the Dutch side of the island to watch, so we missed out on that sight.  To move the big boat, it would have required clearing out with Customs on the French side and then clearing in with Customs on the Dutch side and simply did not seem worth the trouble just to watch a few hundred boats racing with spinnakers.  You can go back and forth all you want in a dinghy or a car, but must officially clear in and out with the big boat.  We would have “chanced” doing this without clearing in and out except that last week we watched the Dutch customs confiscate a large catamaran inside Simpson Lagoon – we assume it was confiscated because the boat had not properly cleared in Customs and was therefore illegally in the Dutch waters.

Late yesterday afternoon the Gendarme (French police) were out in a small boat in the anchorage here at Marigot Baie.  They visited our boat while we were enjoying our afternoon wine and cheese, and informed us that we could not stay anchored in that location because the Heineken Regatta was scheduled to be in this location on Saturday.  The race boats will fill over the anchorage so all the rest of us must move.  So this morning we moved over to the eastern side of the bay, along with about a dozen other boats.   All boats anchored in the normal anchorage area must move by tomorrow morning, so most of us moved today.

We also finally broke down and purchased a week of WiFi time this morning.  The main WiFi company sells time at ridiculous rates.  They charge 7 Euro for 24 hours but only allow you to actually connect for one hour during that 24 hour period.  Or, they charge 28 Euro for one week but only allow you to connect for 4 hours during that one week period.  But today we found a WiFi site that charges for $40 USD for one week; they do not mention any limitation of hours during that one week.  So we sprang for the 40 bucks.  And, man, is this connection S-L-O-W.  But what the hey; at least we are connected again.   And John will be happier because now he can connect with his normal AOL accounts. 

The Heineken Regatta sailed past this anchorage a few hours earlier.    It was pretty watching at least 300 boats sail past, many with those mylar or laminate sails.  Maybe they are sailing around the island today.  We have no idea of the schedule or routes for these races.  There were a bunch of jeeps and small cars parked along the beach road.  These people are apparently following the race boats as they sail around the island.  And there will be parties galore each night.  Definitely not our cup of tea.

We are probably boring John to death.  We have done absolutely nothing but read and take naps and laze about on the boat.  We have managed to get off the boat at least once each day, but haven’t really done anything.  This is definitely a restful vacation for John.  

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