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s/v Skylark
It's Always An Adventure
Excursion around the island
03/18/2012, Oyster Pond, Sint Maarten

Happy Belated Birthday, Kathryn! Tomorrow we leave Sint Maarten/Saint Martin for other destinations. We plan to check out of the French-side customs in the morning, stopping by to visit Mike and Sally at Shrimpy's Laundry and Marine Services and leaving through the 2:30 French bridge opening. It's been a great stay and we enjoyed many parts of the island. Yesterday we took another bus ride back to Philipsburg and a taxi from there to Oyster Pond. The beach on the Dutch side was long and beautiful filled with mostly tourists. If you blink, you miss the whole town. The photo of Ed is at one of the local hotels. The cabbie who took us there was named Slim Shady. When he told us his name, Ed said, "Uh Oh!" but Slim didn't get it. He's had that nickname for over 30 years and says most people who know him have no idea his given name. We never found out either. By the way, a special thanks to our friend and sailing mentor Terri H. who told us to be sure and take the buses around the island. We followed her suggestion and are very glad we did. Our next stop? Maybe Tintemarre tomorrow night, or we might go back to Green Cay near Orient Beach for more great snorkeling (I believe we'll skip the naturalist beach this trip). From there we'll probably head back to St. Barts for more exploring at Anse de Columbier. A friend and his wife from NJ will be in Antigua briefly at the end of March, so we'll head back there and have a visit with them before continuing our journey southward. My anxiety dreams have started back after a long reprieve, undoubtedly related to the unknown journey which awaits us. But life is good and the unknown is what makes this adventure an exciting one. I need to give my dream world head's up about that notion.

We are lovingly thinking of some of our family and friends whose lives are presenting difficult challenges back home. You are never far from our thoughts and hearts.

Local Courtyard
03/15/2012, Plaza Del Lago, Sint Maarten

This is one the places where we go for internet service, plus business needs at The Business Point. And let's not forget Happy Hour (2 for 1) at Jimbo's. I like the tile artwork. One of the photos I posted when my mom first arrived is an apartment in this little plaza. I forgot to label it when it got posted.

Feathers in the field
03/15/2012, Sint Maarten

Every morning one or both of us takes Luna over to Port de Plaisance for a little bit of fetch with an orange tennis ball, orange because the lime green ones get lost forever in the similarly colored grass. One day we encountered this handsome guy or gal looking for something to do. Luna offered to play but the bird only plays with two legged feathery things.

Small treasures on display
03/15/2012, Skylark

Among our treasures, a conk shell found on Barbados, shells and coral from a variety of places, a little piece of driftwood from Anguilla and a clay woman with a red cape (gift from our friend T). Above the shelf is a photo Ed took years ago of an Italian fruit and vegetable store in Siena.

03/20/2012 | Betty Hutcheson
I have the same picture in my office...a little bit of Ed and Elizabeth is all I need! Remember that song???
Boat Chores
03/15/2012, Saint Martin

Happy Birthday Susan! We are catching up on boat chores, both big and small. I spent some of yesterday washing items by hand. In case I have failed to mention it, a great cruiser's trick is to wash clothes in ammonia (no detergent). It brings the dirt out and since there's no soapy residue, no rinsing is needed. Any ammonia smell in the clothes disappears while the items dry in fresh air. Since water is precious on sailboats, and hauling it from the galley to the deck is tiring, ammonia is one of our best friends.

Ed finally broke down and bought two new house batteries for Skylark----ouch on our budget and his back. Our friend Brad helped get them from Budget Marine to the boat (each weighing 160lbs), and then I helped haul the old ones up on deck with a halyard as a pulley. We did the same for the new ones, bringing them from the deck and through a hatch down to the main salon. From there they were secured on a platform underneath the navigation table, their new home. We could have gotten away with a few more months with the old ones, but Sint Maarten is the place to buy them so we felt it important to get it done while we're still here. The house batteries are where we get our electricity for everything on the boat, from refrigeration to lights. It was one of those major boat projects; only a few small details remain undone. On our To-Do list is to buy beer and wine, which is extremely inexpensive at the Chinese-owned grocery stores. Where we'll stow it all is another story. We don't drink all that much on a daily basis but we do like to have it on hand.

Mom and her orange poncho
03/13/2012, Saint Martin

Good bye mom....we're very sad to see her go after such a delightful visit. Everything worked out very well and as is always the case when we vacation together, it was great fun. I'm trying not to be sad, though we always hate to say goodbye. The photo is mom on her first day with us, demonstrating how her orange poncho worked. Luna looks unimpressed.

Ed and I are now sitting at Shrimpy's getting laundry done, taking care of taxes email correspondence and of course, catching up on the blog. We will probably leave St. Martin by the end of the weekend or first of next week. Our plan, as of now is to spend a couple of nights exploring the hiking trails on St. Barts, then maybe back to Antigua for a few days. Guadeloupe is probably next after that.

Dinner in Grand Case
Elizabeth (photo by Ed)
03/13/2012, Grand Case, Saint Martin

We sailed to Grand Case in perfect conditions (close hauled in 12kts with a few clouds providing protection from the sun) and went to dinner that night at a charming French restaurant overlooking the beach. I can't recall the name of the place. It was mom's treat and we were very appreciative of such fine dining. After dinner we discovered someone had stolen the gas tank from our dinghy. Nothing else was missing but they had to really work to get it out from under the bench and out of the straps that held it in place. At first we thought it was locals who needed a bit of gas for their vehicle, but later decided it was probably another cruiser who had run out of fuel for their dinghy. The latter is a more disturbing thought. I guess we'll never know. It was upsetting to all of us, but it could have been worse. Luckily we had enough fuel in the engine to make it back to the boat and the next morning, back in Simpson Bay, enough to get to Brad's boat for a lift into town. Later that day, while I was taking Luna to shore, there was gas leaking out of the new container on my way back. Luna got some gas on her paw and it must have stung (maybe her paws were cut or tender) because she started to panic and wanted to jump off the dinghy. I grabbed her and her collar came off so I had to hold the scruff of her neck the rest of the way back to Skylark, all the while forcing her to re-think her mutinous plans. Poor girl was in a total panic and wanted OFF that dinghy. In my attempt to save her from jumping ship, I lost one of my favorite hats, not realizing it was gone until too late. Luna settled down eventually after getting her feet washed several times with soap, my hat is gone forever and I learned a few lessons should that situation occur let the dog swim and hang onto the hat! Just kidding.

Mary in her sundress
03/13/2012, Saint Martin

Mom made a sundress for her trip here, which she didn't get to wear for more than a couple of hours. This is a shot of her in that dress-doesn't she look beautiful?

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