After spending the last couple of years working in the Virgin Islands, surviving two Category 5 hurricanes (known as Irmaria in the Virgin Islands), and having added many upgrades to Smitty, we said see ya and headed south from St.Thomas in order to explore the rest of the Eastern Caribbean!
We sailed to St.Croix, hoping this would give us a better angle to sail to St.Martin. But alas, it was not in the cards. As usual for us, there was no sailing to be had, just choppy, confused seas. Unfortunately, due to the boat bouncing around, we had issues with our fuel filters getting plugged-up with the gunk that had gotten stirred up from the bottom of the diesel tank. The good news is, Jesse has become a pro at quickly changing the filters and we have many spares because we have run into this particular challenge in the past. He changed out to a new filter, we bleed the fuel, started the engine, and away we go. This issue happened a couple times on what should have been a 24-hour passage. About ten miles outside St.Martin (French side), when we went to restart the engine there was a pop noise and then she wouldn’t restart! After several hours and still no resolution, we made the decision to sail into the port (note: we were sailing, well trying, while Jesse was down below trying to figure out the problem). The wind was not in our favor (very slow sailing with long tacks back and forth to make any progress forward) and it was dark by the time we entered the port, which we had never been into before and there are unlit buoys and boats to keep an eye out for. Thankfully, this bay is very large with a nice sandy bottom, we dropped the anchor and hooked right away.
It took a couple of days of tracing wires, checking batteries, testing all engine components, to finally find a loose ground wire! Yes, after all that, the issue really was that simple and didn’t cost anything to fix! As you can imagine, we went out and celebrated after that! Time for good French wine, cheese, and baguettes!
We spent about a week or so checking out this half French (St.Martin) and half Dutch Island (St.Maarten). You can take a dinghy or car (we did both) from one country to the other without having to check in or out of either country.
Random Scenes from Marigot Bay: Local Art and a Horse “parked” outside the grocery store.
And no trip to St.Martin is complete without a stop at Maho Beach to watch the planes fly very low overhead to land at the Princess Juliana International Airport in St.Maarten.