Escaping the lagoon

It’s been almost a month since my last post and we are still here in St Maarten. A lot of things got done. Our Bimini and dodger are finished. Ernest from North Sails did a great job and we are really happy with them. We got slowed down by having to wait for different parts for our engine and water maker that were ordered and still haven’t arrived.

New cushions in the cockpit
New bimini and dodger

One part got lost getting here. Then, the wrong part was sent so we had to re-ordered it and we finally are getting it today. The part that we bought on ebay never got here, who knows where it is!We’ve done all we can, called the post office almost every day but they don’t have any idea where the part is,  so today we are ordering a new part and paying again, it’s not the best, but it has to be done.

Being inside the lagoon was getting really depressing for us after 6 weeks; it kind of makes you forget why you’re going through all the heartache; working hard on the boat, the piggy bank almost broke from spending all that money on all those parts, bored and not going anywhere. We decided in order to save our relationship and our sanity to do a short trip to St Barths and have a little break from it all.

Last Tuesday at 4pm we got ready to leave the lagoon. There was so much mud and seaweed stuck in our anchor for all those weeks holding us strongly that it took me 10 minutes and lots of hard work to get it all clean, but every time a bit of the mud felt in the water, I felt freer and freer, then the bridge lifted and we were out of the lagoon, finally!

The bridge, our gate to freedom!

We spent the night anchored outside in Simpson Bay and the next morning we sailed the 12 NM to St Barths. It wasn’t a pleasant sail though, the wind was on the nose, with some choppy short swell, so we motor sailed the whole way and it still took us a bit more than 4 hours to get there.

We decided to go to Anse de Colombier, a nice bay on the north west side of St Barths where there is nothing around, just a beautiful beach surrounded by nice cliffs. It felt great to be there, finally out of the lagoon, doing what we are supposed to be doing, going places on our boat.

The next morning we got on the dinghy and rode it to Gustavia, the main city in St Barths to do our check in. St Barths is French and is one of the most exclusive islands in the Caribbean. It’s where all the rich and famous go to for their holidays so everything is expensive and posh. Even the Port Office is fancy, with air conditioner and nice computers to do self service check in.

We then had a bit of a stroll around the city. It has a very European feel to it, with little houses all with red roofs and some pretty old buildings. The main streets are full of all the most expensive brand shops and fancy restaurants. We kept walking and found some stairs that took us to a great look out where you could see the whole of Gustavia and surrounding beaches. We then, made the wrong decision of having lunch there and paid 50 dollars for two toasted sandwiches and cold water.

We spent the following four days in Anse de Colombier, snorkelling and going for walks around the cliffs. It was a pretty busy anchorage, with boats coming and going every day. There were a few charter boats and also a few super yachts sharing the anchorage with us, so there was guaranteed entertainment day after day. From the super yacht’s crew setting tables and chairs on the beach for a barbecue, a mojito lady, swimming from boat to boat with her floating backpack, offering the best strawberry and classic mojitos,  to Russian charter boats reversing into the mooring ball trying to get it but getting it around the prop instead, it was always something to see. Places like St Barths made us realize how lucky we are, to be able to be in one of the most exclusive islands in the world, on our backpacker’s budget, still enjoying it and being part of it.

Yesterday we sailed back to St Maarten. We decided not to go inside of the lagoon because we are determined to leave by the end of the week and we want to try and avoid getting trapped by it again. We are anchored outside in Simpson Bay, it is a bit rollie but it’ll have to do. By the end of the week we are finally starting what we came here to do. Most of the jobs are done, our boat is finally set, we have our Australian boat registration and we are ready to go. From now on we finally get to sail and go from one island to the next. We are finally cruising!


Author: Isabel Romero

founder of Mingas por el Mar

One thought on “Escaping the lagoon”

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