We are in St Martin!!!  At 3:00 pm, Sunday afternoon we pulled out of Bitter End Yacht club, and at 4:30pm Makai and Salida followed.  This was our first passage with other boats and it was nice.  We left earlier than the others as we weren’t sure how fast we would be, and they are both bigger boats.  It’s about 75 miles from Virgin Gorda to St Martin, and time estimates range from 14 hours on the low end to 21 hours from a monohull who recently crossed.  We had a good, but tight, weather window.  The first 5 or so miles were rough.  Alegria was in a washing machine.  We had been warned about this by Fine Line and Dawn Dancer who had made the trip two weeks earlier.  After that, it stayed a little lumpy then eventually got better.  We motor sailed for the first hour or so, then just motored.  Alegria did great.  We were hoping to average 5 knots, but we were doing over 7 at one point and settled at an average of over 6 for most of the night.  The new bottom paint really helped.  The night sky was beautiful.  I had missed seeing so many stars and I saw the Southern Cross.    It was still dark when we got to Marigot, so we slowed up the last miles so we could go into the bay in daylight.  It’s easy access though, and you really could enter in the dark, but we waited.  After dropping the anchor, we took a quick nap. The kids however, since they had slept the whole night, were anxious to get off the boat.

As we headed over to Dawn Dancer to say hi, we ran into Fine Line.  They were headed to shore, so they showed us to customs.  A very quick, friendly check in later, we were on our way to croissants and lattes. 


So Fine Line tells us about this great bar near the airport, called Sunset Beach Bar.  The highlight of the bar is that airplanes fly right next to it.  I mean right next to it.  Look at the picture.

   Ok now look again and see where Dan, Craig, and Jim are standing.


 These are great pictures taken by Roxanne on Dawn Dancer.




The fun part is not being in the bar watching the plane, it’s being on the beach, which we were, and have it fly right over you.  Since Fred is the tallest we used him as our shield.  The pilots really got into it too, as they would see how close they could come over our heads.  Tristan and Tessa had a blast.   


For every landing of course there is a take off.  The plane revs its engine at the end of the runway closest to the beach.  So using some logic, which was sadly in short supply with us that day, you can imagine the amount of sand kicked up by the engine.  And of course we all laughed at the sign.



The first times we stood behind the plane taking off, the plane was small.  Then they got bigger, and we got blown.  Look at the following pictures.  Plane takes off.

  Dan’s hat blows off.


 Tessa you can see is on the ground being blown to bits while Dan is worried about his hat.  I grab hold of Tristan to shield him.

 I am trying to get to both kids and shelter them from the sand. 


At the end, we were covered in sand but otherwise unhurt. 


We went up to the restaurant and enjoyed some lunch while the kids played in the water.  Tessa came back later with an expensive watch she found in the water, no doubt blown off of someone’s wrist from airplane backwash. You could tell it had been in the water for awhile, but it still worked.   Sad for them, but now Dan has a new watch.


The really big planes were still coming in.  In fact we got to see the US Air from Charlotte land.  I wonder if there was anyone on it we knew?  So of course, a big American Airlines plane was taking off, and Dan, with all the warnings, (again look at the sign); decided he needed to be up there.  So of course, the plane revved its engines, Dan jumped back from the ledge on the road and that was all it took to get him air born, and carry him all the way to the water!!  There it deposited him, harshly, into the sea.  Tessa and Tristan were already in the water and helped him out.  He was covered in sand from head to toe when he made his way back to the restaurant.  After that excitement, we decided it was time to leave.  As we made our way past the runway, the really big, 4 engine Air France was getting ready to take off.  Even though we were way to the side, we really felt the backwash.  Liz and I were covered with sand.  But it was fun.  Actually it was a lot of fun!! This is definitely something we could never do in the States.


 Thanks so  much to Kathy on Makai who also gave us great photos!