After a few exciting months of getting the boat ready, trying to catch suitable weather windows to sail south along the European coastline, to the Canary islands, as well as west across the Atlantic, we find ourselves having a deep breath for the first time. Today it has been exactly 3 months since we launched Porky in the murky and cold waters of the UK. By now the hull is surrounded by turquoise, clear, 26°C warm water with a view to the sandy bottom. Daily swims around the boat keep us refreshed and clean in this climate. We made it in time to the Caribbean to be able to enjoy the different islands for several months. For the first time of our adventure, and most probably in our lives, we do not have any timelines or deadlines to care about. Only when hurricane season starts in this area around June, we will have to move on. All the haste and effort of the refit and getting here was totally worth it, as we can now slow down and relax. There is no need to plan further ahead than the next day, no alarm clocks are set, what has not been done today is postponed until tomorrow.
So far we have spent a few days in Martinique and St.Anne where we dropped off Sara and had Daniel join the crew again. We then sailed for 2 days straight to Marigot bay in the French part of St.Martin. In the first days in the Caribbean sea, we have already been able to spot marlins, sea turtles, rays, barracudas, various birds and plenty of dolphins that seem to love Porky‘s beamy shape, color or both. In St.Martin, we used the large lagoon to explore the Dutch and French island by dinghy. In 2017, hurricane Irma has vastly destroyed many houses and boats, which are still lying around as wrecks. Local restaurants and stores are struggling even more since COVID-19 stopped tourists from visiting. On the Dutch side of the lagoon, luxurious mega yachts fill the marinas. We took advantage of the good yacht service infrastructure and bought some stuff in the big chandleries. As always in chandleries, we had to hold back to not buy more than planned. To avoid spending too much money in these stores, we started buying only things that we have written on our shopping list beforehand, with only limited success so far.
Fascinating enough, we have met again several boats and cruisers previously seen on our journey along the European coast. Several boats seem to stop in the spacious bay of Marigot for a few days. We really enjoyed the local atmosphere in town with many bars, restaurants and opportunities to meet fellow cruisers. Our favourite cruiser‘s hangout was Shrimpy‘s laundry. Mike, who is running the laundry service is a very welcoming Austrian who knows pretty much everything about the island. We loved to dock our dinghy at their veranda in the Sandy Ground canal to get a cold drink, have our laundry washed, and connect with other sailors. Daniel and Max even joined Mike‘s Poker round consisting of other cruisers and vagabonds living on boats in the anchorage.
Out of curiosity and wondering why so many locals were standing in line in front of the truck, we tried Bokit for the first time, which is like a Caribbean kebab. Apparently, the delicious fried bread with salad and meat or seafood filling originated when enslaved people were too poor to buy basic products like bread.
After we have dropped off Papa who flew back to Germany, we filled up on diesel and fresh water and sailed to the next bay of St.Martin, called Grand Case. We took a stroll in town with its nice waterfront of colourful buildings, many restaurants showing off their big smoker grills, and very original boutique hotels and bars. It was hard to resist the restaurant owners inviting you to sit down at their tables, but we decided to have our own BBQ on the boat and enjoyed the sunset view from our cockpit while sipping Planteur cocktails, a delicious mix of rum and fruit juices.
In the next days we will explore some smaller anchorages and snorkeling spots around St.Martin.