Christmas Winds Still Kicking..

Merry Christmas from St. Martin
Merry Christmas from St. Martin

Christmas Winds Still Kicking…

 

 

December 27, 2008

 

The Cajun and the Pirate had a wonderful Christmas in 2008!  We cooked a delicious feast on Christmas eve- steaks and lots of Southern comfort food for sides- mmm!  On Christmas Day we drove across the island to Anse Marcel and spent the day at the beach.  We used the facilities at the 5-star resort Le Domaine (our friend Sophie works there and she always goes out of her way to make everything perfect).  We sipped very good rum punches and mojitos and ate fresh grouper while sunning on the beach.  We then made our way over to the pool and had it all to ourselves for the afternoon- tres magnifique!  That night, the Pirate watched the Celtics lose to the Lakers, oh well.

 

On Friday we met some friends (Bill and Amy) who were in town for the day from their cruise ship.  We all went to Gallion Beach.  The weather was gorgeous, though windy, which was great for the many windsurfers there.  We watched them do some really incredible jumps and flips.  The beach did get a bit too crowded as there were three cruise ships in town that day, but that meant business for the locals which was much needed.  We made the best of it and entertained ourselves with some fantastic people watching opportunities. J  The locals came out later and got pretty rowdy, they were all on holiday from work too.   Lots of bbq’s, cricket games and loud soca music (Soca is a soul/calypso mix).

 

Today we are doing boat chores and awaiting DJ’s return.  We are getting ready for our departure from our cozy dock, so there is a lot to do to get the boat ready for sailing.   Our next report will be from a new fabulous location.. stay tuned to find out where!

 

Christmas in the Caribbean…

Pirate in a Piece of Paradise
Pirate in a Piece of Paradise

 

Christmas in the Caribbean…

December 24, 2008

 

Merry Christmas Eve to everyone!  The Pirate and I wish all of you and your families a wonderful holiday.

 

The weather here has been extremely windy- 25-30 knot winds kicking through here for the next couple of days.  We are sure glad we are docked, as it would not be nice to be on anchor right now.  Our friend Kevin, a native islander and a sailor, calls them the Christmas Winds and says that they occasionally blow through the islands during this time of year- but not usually this strong.  Kevin is waiting on a weather window to make his passage to closer to where we are.  We will be staying at the dock for a little longer than we intended as the reports say a 12 foot surge is also moving through here from the Northeast in the next couple of days.

 

Francois has been visiting us daily to tinker with boat related things and get everything  in tip-top shape before we leave.  He has been an awesome resource.  As he says, “When the captain is happy, the crew is happy”… I couldn’t agree more J  Merci Beaucoup Francois!

 

We did spend our day at the beach bus and it was glorious indeed!  We started off with the passion fruit daiquiris then switched to mojitos. There was a wonderful breeze, nice tunes,  and an incredible view of course.  After our beach day, we were exhausted from being out in the sun so we ordered a pizza, watched some Monday Night Football (what a game!) and called it a night.

 

Tomorrow for Christmas, we are going to the far end of this island to Anse Marcel- one of the places we went to when we first met and a special place for us.  There is a nice small beach there with a great bar and bartender. 

 

Merry Christmas to our families, we miss and love you!

 

 

The Beauty of Doing Nothing…

Daybreak at Simpson Bay Marina
Daybreak at Simpson Bay Marina

 

December 22, 2008

 

The Beauty of Doing Nothing…

 

The last two days have been wonderfully uneventful.  No more car, so we didn’t wander far J

Each morning we walk to Simpson Bay Beach and do our four mile walk/jog and then go for a reinvigorating swim.  The beach is perfect for jogging since it is so long and the sand is packed hard, also very few people as there are no hotels or bars on it.  Lots of boats out in the calm surf though.  Mostly mega yachts that seem too large to fit through the Simpson Bay Bridge and into the lagoon, there was one that even had a helicopter perched atop of it on its very own helicopter pad… now that is just stupid money.

 

The pirate did spend the afternoon cleaning up our dinghy; it had a nasty beard of algae and some other unidentifiable growth coming off of it due to being left idle and in the water for a month.  It was a disgusting job, but once completed we celebrated with a pitcher of frozen peach margaritas. 

 

Other than that, we have mostly been people watching at the dock or reading.  Our spot at the dock is right near the entrance (about five boats away from the gate) so everyone has to walk by to enter or exit- it is a constant parade of characters, an endless supply of entertainment.  We’ve seen numerous dogs, mostly the little yappy kinds you would expect to reside on a mega yacht, we see lots of young people who are crewing on the yachts, and some charter sail clients.  We giggle at the fashion disasters, the people who stumble back at 7 in the a.m after a night of partying, the loud people, etc.  We have made up names for the regulars we see every day multiple times…   

 

Today we are running errands in the dinghy and then heading back to Simpson Bay Beach, this time to relax and not exercise.  Each morning we jog past this cute little school bus at the far, far end of the beach that has been turned into a daiquiri stand and bar with a handful of lounge chairs in front.  No one is ever there, but their special drinks written on a chalkboard in the sand always sound so yummy and refreshing- especially since usually we are huffing and puffing by the place as that is the 2 mile marker of our trek.   I have been craving their frozen lychee-passionfriuit daiquiri and the Pirate has his eye on their frozen mango mojito.   Don’t’ you just love Monday’s ?J

Fun in the Sun

The Pirate and the Cajun at Embouchere Bay
The Pirate and the Cajun at Embouchere Bay

 

Orient Bay Beach

December 19, 2008

 

Two Days of Fun in the Sun.

 

We rented a car on Thursday and Friday to do some island exploring and we had a blast!  Thursday we trekked to the French side and made our way up to Orient Bay Beach.  On the way, we stopped at the secluded and beautiful Baie de l’embouchure.  Not many people on the beach, just the way we like it.  It was gorgeous.  We then camped out at Orient Bay for the afternoon and did some people watching.  While not as crowded as usual, there were still lots of people and thus lots of sights.  We bar hopped and sampled rum punches from various establishments.  Boo Boo Jam made the best and most potent punch (and biggest). However, the bar in the nudist resort was offering 2 for 1 drinks and we couldn’t pass that up.  We waited in a long line of naked people taking care not to stand too close J  After quite a few rum punches, we decided to go to Oyster Bay for a late lunch.  Oyster Bay had a very nice marina that we may return to for dockage as their prices are better than where we are now.  They also had a great pool and lots of talking birds.  We ate fresh seafood and then napped by pool.

 

On Friday we did more exploring of the French side of the island.  First stop was Prime, a store similar to Sam’s Club.  The prices were unbelievable.  $35 dollars for a CASE of Appleton Rum (yes- 12 bottles), $18 for a case of Carib beer, and $70 for a case of Stoli vodka.  The booze is cheaper than soft drinks and water, and we aren’t complaining.  We then went to Friar’s Bay beach.  This place was awesome, absolutely gorgeous and peaceful.  We had a fantastic lunch on the beach- Spring Rolls, Steamed Mussels, Caribbean Salad and Cheeseburger.  The pirate fell asleep on the beach and the Cajun swam in the ocean.  From there we went to Grand Case and had frozen Daiquiri’s at Zen It and watched the boats sail by.

 

The traffic was atrocious coming back, but no worries, we are on island time.  All the radio stations were playing steel pan Christmas music which got us into the holiday spirit.  Tomorrow we are relaxing at the dock, since we have been going non-stop.  We will be bringing some of the bayou to Simpson Bay Marina-  we are going to be slow cooking a pot of red beans, rice and smoked sausage, sipping cocktails and watching the many people walk by as they stock up their boats and their clients arrive for the busy holiday weekend. 

We’re BAAACK!!!

 

Beaucoup Lines on our Mast
Beaucoup Lines on our Mast

 

 

Simpson Bay Marina, Sint Maarten

December 17, 2008

 

We’re Baaack!!!

 

We made it back to Sint Maarten yesterday afternoon.  All flights were on time and we even had the entire row to ourselves on both legs.. .you can’t beat that.  We did have an encounter with a really nasty immigration agent- there was no winning her over with smiles and niceties,  she simply had a case of the grumpies.  Traffic getting to the marina was crazy- 30 minutes to go 2 miles!   Also, the Dutch side of the island was without power as the fuel boat did not show up to deliver fuel to the island that day.. they must have been on island time too. 

 

We got to the boat and were extremely happy with how nice DJ left it for us.  (Thanks DJ!- looking forward to seeing you next week).  After unpacking, we went to our marina watering hole- Jimbo’s- for a pitcher of Margaritas and some fajitas.  All by candlelight (tres romantique!), as there was still no power.  The fuel barge finally did make it to its destination later in the evening and power was restored.  Cheers were heard throughout Simpson Bay Marina!

 

This morning we exercised and went for a 4 mile jog on the beach and then did our normal boat chores. The Pirate washed the boat and the Cajun fixed the float switch on the bilge pump (as Pirate couldn’t fit down  the hole).  We are now relaxing.    The Marina is pretty busy, but there are still lots of slips that are vacant which is unusual for high season.  The island is definitely feeling the effects of the economy as several people have mentioned to us.   Our new neighbor (occupying the slip next to us) is actually the author of one of the Pirate’s favorite sailing books.  Should we have any problems, we can just ask the guy who wrote the book on sailing!

 

Tonight is “all you can eat” baby back rib night at this restaurant/bar that’s a coconut’s throw from our marina- so that is where we will be.  Tomorrow we are heading to Orient Bay Beach to people watch and relax- will try to take some PG-rated pics for the blog, but that might be difficult J

 

SNOW DAY!!!

Snow Falls in the Big Easy
Snow Falls in the Big Easy

December 11, 2008
New Orleans, LA

SNOW DAY!!!!
It is snowing in New Orleans! It’s definitely not something that happens very often and because of that, the entire city goes bananas for the day. Schools close, cars drive into ditches, people break out their camcorders and flock to the streets, families bring their dogs to the neutral ground to snap their pics as they frolic about, and the news channels cancel regularly scheduled programs so that they can extend their airtime and talk incessantly about the snow. All this mind you, for one inch of the white stuff. But, it is pretty cool- absolutely looks like Christmas outside. And the best part- the Pirate and I have been inside snug as bugs in a rug all day!
Our last 24 hours was not without its share of drama though. We are in the final stretch towards departure to the islands. We have been frantically busy tying up loose ends so that we can leave next week. One big item on our agenda was shipping the Boxer to Boston which he will be calling home for the next few months (THANKS Mark , Linda and Kaitlyn!). We have never shipped a dog before and have learned that there is much more to it than just showing up at the airport and waving goodbye as your pooch glides away on the conveyor belt. There is literally a 20 item/2 page check-list of stuff before the airlines will fly your pet into the friendly skies.
Our D-day to ship the Boxer was this morning. Last night the Pirate and I went to pick up a truck (thanks Paula!) to transport said dog and crate to airport. When we arrived back home, we discovered that the Boxer had eaten an entire bag of Hersey’s Kisses that had just arrived that day as a gift! There was no trace evidence left at the scene- he ate the wrappers, the chocolate and most of the plastic bag they came in. He did have a chocolate smudge on his paw and a chocolate smell oozing out of his pores. Only 10 hours until his first plane flight to meet his new family… and he ingests an entire bag of chocolate. We braced for the worst (I don’t need to go into detail here..), but fortunately he was ok. Even better, the “snow storm” this morning canceled his flight and he is rebooked for tomorrow. So now he has more time to “digest” the kisses, which unbeknownst to his new family is a VERY good thing.
The Pirate has been watching westerns on the tube. The Cajun has been surfing the net and monitoring the Boxer.. All is well as we count down to island time. The Pirate says… “if it is snowing in New Orleans, it is time for us to go South!”

 

Gobble, Gobble!!!

Thanksgiving Eve at City Park
Thanksgiving Eve at City Park

November 26, 2008

New Orleans, Louisiana

 

It is Thanksgiving Eve and it has been quite a busy day for the Pirate and the Cajun.  The Cajun had to go to the office for meetings and conference calls L.. don’t they know it’s a holiday!   The Pirate spent most of the day in the kitchen baking pies.  He made both an apple and lemon meringue pie for Turkey Day.  The pies are beautiful and it is hard to just to look at them and not dig in!  The Boxer (aka Millhouse) patiently waited for even the smallest crumb to fall from the countertops. 

After hours of baking and last minute trips in the hellacious traffic to packed-to-the-gills grocery stores, we decided to unwind with a couple of cocktails.  A Cuba Libra for the Cajun and a kicked-up Egg Nog for the Pirate and we were off to the park (which is actually our front yard).  The Boxer was happy chasing squirrels and ducks and posing for portraits, forgetting about all of the missed opportunities in the kitchen.  The Pirate was decked out in his Holiday finest – flip flops and a tropical sarong-  perfect for chilly November weather J   You can take the Pirate out of the islands, but you can’t take the islands out of the Pirate… 

Tomorrow we eat !   Hope that all of you friends and family have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love and laughter.

Election Day and we are NOT in line….

Cajun Goes to Marigot!
Cajun Goes to Marigot!

 

 

November 4, 2008,

Simpson Bay Marina, St. Martin

It’s a beautiful morning here.  We had a really good rain last night to cool things off (which also meant we turned on the AC last night in the boat- J ).  Did I mention, I LOVE having AC…

Yesterday we took the dingy over to Marigot on the French side of the island.  Very different atmosphere than the Dutch side and about 3x more expensive.  It’s full of high-end shops and cute little French bistros with people sitting outside.   We selected a French bistro called Le Belle Epoque and had a delicious meal.  Moules and pomme frites in a white wine sauce and a fresh goat cheese, tomato and olive pizza- thin and crispy.  C’est Magnifique!  While we dined, the electricity went out in most of Marigot- but no worries- the stove was gas!  We strolled the streets and window shopped and made our way back to the dingy. 

When we returned DJ had the boat looking spotless.  He gave her a complete washing and she was shiny and white.  We lounged around for a few hours and then cooked an o-so American dinner- hot dogs with all the fixins’ followed by brownies.  We were all in bed by 9.

Today is Election Day. The Pirate and I cast early votes so no more waiting in lines for us.  We may watch the returns on TV tonight.  We catch a couple of American channels and BBC which should be covering it.  We unfortunately leave tomorrow morning to go back home.  But the bright side is, it is just temporary- we will be back in December for our 8 month voyage.   In the meantime, DJ will stay here and keep the boat clean and to our liking. 

Over the next month, we will be charting our course through the Caribbean and making plans for the wonderful ports of call we will be visiting. 

Another Day in Paradise…

Pirate poses in pool
Hamming it up in the sun

 

 

Hamming it up in the sun

 

sailing along side a sloop

 

 

 

 

November 3, 2008

Simpson Bay Yacht Club, St. Maarten

 

We sailed right into the Simpson Bay Yacht Club on Friday, October 31 to fuel up and dock the boat for the next couple of months.  The Pirate maneuvered this 50×26.5 foot beam boat into a 28 foot wide slip in a strong current- very impressive.  We are now snug as a bug in a rug in our new dock spot.  The Yacht Club is getting busier by the day, now that hurricane season has officially ended- people are arriving daily to come back to their boats for high season.  Lots of people busying themselves with cleaning, provisioning, and of course- repairs to their boats J 

The Pirate and I had a great Halloween night.  We celebrated in our full Pirate regalia at the Soggy Dollar Bar (not the same as the BVI one).  Lots of great costumes.  As the night wore on, the place became too crowded to be comfortable, so we took our dingy on home.

Saturday was an errand day for us.  We were on a mission to find a list of boat supplies, most importantly- for the Cajun that is-, a toaster and a coffee maker.  We took the dingy over to Budget Marine and found a few items, but they told us to check out Ace Hardware right around the corner.  Unbeknownst to us, “right around the corner” in Caribbean-speak actually means “over the hills, and through the woods, past the chicken coops, etc”.  We made our one-mile plus uphill trek and found the Ace Hardware store in all its glory.  This was a Mega-Ace store, two-stories of air-conditioned goodness.  We found EVERYTHING we needed, which was awesome, except for one thing- we had to do the Bataan death march back to the dingy with all our swag.  At least it was all downhill.

Sunday was a glorious day of rest.  We began our day with the Pirate’s famous Banana pancakes and lots of bacon.  After some lounging around and reading, we took the dingy to the Simpson Bay Beach.  This was a gorgeous beach about a mile long with few people (as there are only a couple of small hotels on it).  We walked and swam and walked and swam.  When we got back we decided to check out our Yacht Club’s pool – it felt awesome to wash off the salt and relax.  We returned to the boat for Mudslides!  Somehow we went through three pitchers of Mudslides, two movies and managed to cook two racks of baby back ribs.  They were delicious and we all went to bed fat and happy.

It’s Monday morning and the Pirate is in the galley fixing French Toast.  Our mate is swabbing the deck- he shall be referred to as DJ from now on, finally earning his GumboPirate stripes and nickname..  DJ you ask?  It is short for Davy Jones- the mythical sea devil who lives on the ocean floor, and Disc Jockey- someone who spins our tunes and keeps us bopping along to the beat of life aboard our Boat!

Gotta go- breakfast time!