Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More Friends in St. Martin

We love it when friends come to visit us. This time it was Angela, Jill and Jill's son Kyle.

Kyle storms the Bastille! Oops, it's just Fort Louis overlooking Marigot Bay.

There isn't much left of the fort but the view is beautiful!

A stop at the market for fresh fruit, bread, meats and cheeses, our favorite lunch.

A picnic on the terrace of the Hotel Beach Plaza.
Wendy, Kyle, Jill and Angela.

Kyle with some of the local kids.

This is what happens when an 11 year old hangs out with 4 adults. We buried him in the sand and stuck a coconut on his head!

The next morning we were off for a day of sailing when suddenly Kyle committed mutiny and took over the ship!

Actually, Kyle got his first lesson in steering and did a great job. We headed northeast towards Anguilla and then tacked back to Creole Rock near Grand Case for snorkeling, swimming and lunch.

Jill & Kyle's Great Adventure!

Jill and Kyle spent a morning at the Loterie Farm, an adventure park with zip-lining. They had to walk through the treetops on a tightrope, rope ladders, swinging logs and more and then zip-line down trough the canopy. Wendy and Jim followed along on the trails below. Wimps!

Here's Chester, one of the residents at Loterie Farm. He quickly lost interest in us once he realized we didn't have any food.

Then it was off to Orient Beach where Kyle hit the surf!

We had a great time with our friends. Thank you Angela, Jill and Kyle for spending your vacation with us. Who's next? Come on down, the weather's great!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bad Hair Day

(Photos purposely withheld)

I’m having a bad hair day. Make that a bad hair week, month, looks like this one could go on for a while. Now normally I wouldn’t bore readers with a hair problem, but I keep thinking about a question that was posed to me numerous times before we started this cruising adventure. Women wanted to know, “What are you going to do about your hair?” This was second only to “Husband and wife living together 24/7 on a 27 foot boat! I don’t think I could do it!” We’ve adjusted to living in close quarters. Apparently I still need to work on the hair thing.

Gone are the days of going to my hairdresser every five weeks for color and a cut. Gone, but not missed are the mornings spent blow drying and curling my hair before I set off to the office. Now I wash my hair in the ocean, give it a quick, fresh water rinse and let it dry in the wind. Most days I don’t care. Every once in a while I wish I looked better.

I went to the same hairdresser for almost 20 years following her to 3 different salons. I trusted her! She knew how I liked my hair. Now, for the last three years I’ve had to spin the wheel and see what I get, with varying results. I’ve had other cruisers give me haircuts and bravely walked into salons in the Bahamas, St. Lucia and Grenada. I’ve been pretty happy with the results up until now.

I figured that St. Martin was a good place to get a haircut. St. Martin is a cosmopolitan island of food and fashion, right? So when I asked another cruiser for a recommendation on a salon and walked through the door, I was confident I would walk out looking good. The salon was bright and clean, the hairdresser/owner was friendly. She asked how I wanted my hair and I thought I did a good job of explaining what I wanted. I just wanted a trim, just cut the same way only shorter. I figured she could just follow my old haircut like a seamstress follows a pattern. We chatted while she began working away on the back of my head but soon it became clear that she was taking a lot off. And by then it was too late! I have very little hair left! The back and sides are cut about as short as possible when using a scissors. The top is a little longer. It really isn’t a bad haircut (the hairdresser was very meticulous) if you look good with hair this short. I just don’t think I do. Besides, I liked my old cut. I’ll be growing this one out for a long time. So now when women want to know what I do about my hair, I’ll just tell them the truth. I wear a hat.
Renee and Mike on S/V Jacumba (very good friends who would never laugh at my hair!) arrived in St. Martin the other day. We have been having a great time. Yesterday was the day for the long overdue Domino rematch. You see, at our last domino game in Grenada almost 6 months ago, we awarded a booby prize to the biggest loser. The dreaded Domino Dunce Hat! Renee was the unhappy recipient and she has been dying to pass on the prize ever since. Armed with rum punch the battle began! Several hours later Renee happily gave up the dunce hat. Even better yet, it didn’t find its way to Merengue. Only nine points apart going into the final round Mike slipped past Renee to lose. We made him take a lap around the deck to show off his new hat! Cruel, I know!

After more than five weeks in Simpson Bay Lagoon we are finally back in the blue. The ocean swell is finally coming out of the east so we were able to move out to Marigot Bay on Saturday. We’re just rocking gently and we have this gorgeous turquoise water to look at and swim in. The prop needed a good cleaning after that much time in the lagoon. We had very little power when we motored out. And the dinghy bottom was looking pretty bad after all that time. So for now we’ll enjoy our surroundings until the northerly swell roles back in and drives us back into the protection of the lagoon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Boat, Baguettes and Bailey

Life in the Caribbean is not all rum punch and sunsets! There's always work to be done on a boat. We've been making good use of the time between our friends visits to get some boat projects done. We oiled the interior teak, took the cockpit shade in for repair and have finally tackled the exterior teak. Back in Milwaukee, we would put a fresh coat of Cetol on the teak each year. But in the rush of selling our house and getting the boat ready to leave, we just didn't have time. It didn't take long for the tropical sun to take it's toll on the wood. Many people told us to just let it go grey but we're not ready for that. We think Merengue's a beautiful boat that deserves glossy wood on deck.
Here's the before and after pictures of the bowsprit.
It's worth every ache in our backs to see it looking this way again. We have 3 coats on already and hope to put on a few more soon.

We told you previously that we've been spending lots of time in restaurants that provide WiFi while we get our computer up and running again. Here's Jim in our favorite internet spot in Marigot. Great baquettes, pastries and free internet!

While Jim was downloading programs, I took a walk around Marigot and shot a few pictures of one of my favorite cities in the Caribbean.

One of the more picturesque restaurants in Marigot.

The main street, opposite the waterfront.

The waterfront along Marigot Bay.

Shopping area near the waterfront.

The colorful marketplace in Marigot.

Fruit and vegetable stalls at the waterfront.

We'd been spending so much time away from the boat that Bailey was starting to object.
We call this one "I had a few friends over for a party while you were gone."
Bailey said, "What mouse?"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Friends in St. Martin

St. Martin is always fun, but even more so when friends come to visit and share the experience with us. St. Martin seems to be a favorite destination. Last year it was Mike and Marcia from Milwaukee. This year it was Muff and Reed from Rochester, MN. Hmmmm, are they really coming to see us or to escape winter in the Midwest? Probably a little of both. We're just happy when friends spend their vacation with us. Their first day was cloudy, rainy and COLD! We haven’t had a day like this in months. By evening we all had to put on jackets, the first time we’ve done that since Florida in February 2007!
Jim was sitting at the helm and it kept raining in on him. Think the goggles help?
Enjoying the evening and watching the boat parade at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.

Muff and Reed enjoying the view from the bow. To be honest, they were just trying to dry off in the breeze. It was a wet ride in the dinghy!

We had a great time touring the island, hanging out at the beach, eating at the restaurants and just spending evenings on Merengue. The week went by way too fast and I’ll admit to shedding a few tears when they left. We always have a great time together! Now we are counting the days until more friends come to visit in April. Jill and Kyle, only 2 weeks to go!