I love sitting on deck as the sun rises. It’s a perfect start to the day. I usually climb through the hatch in the berth at the bow so that I won’t disturb Bill’s sleep. Yesterday, I wanted to have my tea and listen to the birds on Grand Islet one last time before we took off. We were pulling up anchor and leaving St. Martin for the first time in ages.
We had to go through the nine o’clock bridge to leave the lagoon and Bill would want to be there plenty early, even though we would be one of the last boats to go through. We don’t like to race to the front of the pack, hovering impatiently for the bridge to open like some. We stay back, wait our turn and let the impatient line skippers go through. This isn’t our week’s vacation, we have time. For us, there’s always another day.
We pass the Mega Yachts docks along the channel. A few smaller ones queue up for the bridge along with half a dozen sailboats like ours. The bridge tender announced the ten-minute warning, the pack tightens, and the line cutters stuck their noses in. The bridge opened promptly at nine and the parade moved swiftly through the cut.
Simpson Bay was reasonably calm, giving us hope that the passage south to St. Barth would be easy. I prepared to bring up the main sail while we powered past the reef and into deep water. As we did this, the swell picked up to seven feet, rocking the boat like a hobbyhorse. Oh no, this wouldn’t be such an easy sail after all. But heading into the wind never is.
We had planned to motorsail with hopes of picking up some speed with the main sail up. With the swells as they were, we decided to forget the sails and just plain motor all the way. The sails wouldn’t even help steady the beast as it pounded through the waves.
The good news is the engine worked beautifully. I give two thumbs up for our refit, I may even give some credit to the new puny propeller. We made good time and with our boat, into the wind can be a nightmare.
I couldn’t wait for the rocking to end and finally napped to ward off seasickness. It worked. We arrived in Colombier, the northern bay in St. Barth for lunch, which I happily prepared. This would never have happened if I had been sick all the way.
The remaining few empty mooring balls were taken within the hour of our arrival with charter boats full of vacationers wanting to snorkel near the reef. Colombier is a designated sea park and one of the chartering industries favorite spots for their guest.
Two mega yachts anchor behind us and almost immediately, their tenders bring passengers to the coral ridge not far from shore. Like us they’re close enough that they can swim there from their boat, but I suppose if you spend a few hundred thousand for the week you shouldn’t have to work hard swimming to see reef fish.
The day charters come and go with 15 or more people aboard each. Clear blue water draws the partiers in as soon as their engines stop. Their shrieks and laughter remind me how lucky we are to experience this life every day not just once a year or once a lifetime.
We get a kick out of the French charterers. They travel in packs, even when they charter a small boat for a week. The whole extended family goes. We can tell which boats are French boats by the guest’s terrible off beat singing of English song as they dance in bathing suits on deck. They don’t know what the words mean but they know the songs, not embarrassed at all by their stumbling beat. At least they try. If it were me I’d stick to humming.