Here we are, finally in St. Maarten! After almost three weeks of living on Planet Ocean with the bare minimum, we’ve finally arrived. Now we can begin out fitting our boat with all the goodies we’ve been fantasizing about ever since the start of our trip.
So, we arrived at Cpt. Oliver’s Marina in Oyster Pond and docked about 20m from where we were ten years ago, which, was quite special. To be honest, aside from some extra houses and hotels, it hasn’t changed too much so we instantly felt comfortable which was good. First thing on the agenda was to say hi to the yacht brokers who have been ever so patient and helpful while we were juggling our house, business and boat. They were the same brokers we used ten years ago and we confidently used them again to buy Planet Ocean “sight-unseen”, and with good reason! We are very grateful to Hervé and Mona of Harel Yachts.
The idea of being in a marina with plenty of water and electricity was so exciting so, I’m sure you can imagine how much of a let down it was when we found out our power outlet that you plug the boat into was not working. “That’s alright, we can move,” we thought.
Not so fast.
Of course, the other two spots he offered us were far from ideal. One being next to a ferry dock that runs almost constantly and the other was in a ridiculously narrow spot that would be too risky in the fading light. Grudgingly, we went through the night without shore power, which, I’m sure you can understand was beyond annoying considering we’re paying for the facilities.
Despite the less than ideal marina experience, everything else has been fantastic! The prices of food and things here is ridiculously cheap and the fact that the island is half Dutch and half French and is heavily influenced by America, means you get an assortment of food from all the cultures so you can get almost anything you want from exotic cheeses and meats to delicious biscuits and chocolates.
The island itself is tiny so we were able to drive around the whole thing in a few hours and it’s amazing how different the two halves are. The people are so different, not only in terms of lifestyle, but also their attitude towards helping others. Another thing with sharing an island between two countries is that, it can get very confusing and frustrating as there are quite a few currencies being used (Euro, US dollar and Netherlands Antillean guilder) and the fact that most of the French side of the island closes from 12-2 means that you have to plan your shopping carefully.
Another reason we were so intent on getting to St. Maarten was to finally register our boat under the name Planet Ocean with us as the official owners. The last three weeks we’ve had to keep the name Cajoux VI and have the French flag raised to denote our nationality which isn’t a big deal but it does make us look like charterers, who unfortunately, have a reputation for being clueless when it comes to sailing. So now we’re in St. Maarten and we’ve filled out the paperwork we can have the Australian flag flying proudly (away from any halyards this time!)
We should have quite constant internet here and the next month or so is going to consist mostly of shopping and getting repairs done so we’ll keep you updated.