27 April 2014

Rubbing Fenders with the Rich and Famous

April 11

The standard width for a bunk in port is said to be 24-inches. This is all a real sailor needs for maximum comfort in a boat that's not rolling in a seaway.

At sea, they say 18-inches is more comfortable, because you don't roll back and forth while sleeping. This is about the width of Fiona's pilot berths.

Last night, I re-aquainted myself with Fiona's most comfortable berth -- the rear cockpit seat, which is just 12-inches wide, but has the benefit of being outside, where a man can feel a breath of wind on his face in nearly all  weather, and escape the heat of Fiona's cabin.

I don't know how, exactly, I manage to stay on this bunk while asleep, but I do. The cushion is just a bit hard, and in the back of your mind you know darn well it's going to rain sometime during the night, but it's worth the risk. I would sleep out there every night, if I could. Helena occasionally mentions sleeping on deck, but always chooses width and comfort over breeze.

She doesn't know what she's missing!


Last night was very hot to sleep, until it was also wet. The rain started sometime at night and to my relief the hatch above the sink was opened, so I got some sprinkling on my feet. Not exactly the right conditions for sleeping, but I was so tired that I think I slept right through.

Dinner was the most amazing grilled shrimp with tarragon mustard parsley sauce I have ever had. Ooo-la-la, the French cuisine.

To help digest the dinner and the wine, we walked about the marina we are staying. I have never seen yachts or mega-yachts like these. So big, so ostentatious, so shiny. Petrus, owned by one of the best wineries in France, was 132 ft long. Long enough to be called a ship, and not a small one. For me it feels very strange to be in the same gated community as the 0.001% (probably less) riches of the world. I certainly don’t belong here. But they do keep a lot of people employed. Each boat has a team of up-keepers scrubbing, polishing, washing, rinsing, cooking, serving and climbing up masts.

Something like a sailboat
Breakfast was again at one of the french boulangeries. Omelet, ham, cheese, croissants.

We decided to take a 45 minute bus ride back to Holland side and visit it’s capital, Philipsburg. It is a big tourist spot where cruise ships arrive. It can accommodate up to 5 ships at the time.

Today only one cruise ship was docked, only about 2000 tourist strolling the streets, shopping for colorful bags, even more colorful batik wraps, cotton shirts and caps with St. Maarten embroidery. The shops in Marigold, capital of Saint Martin, had exactly the same merchandize but the embroidery was in french.

On the bus

On the beach with the other tourists

The rain subsided and we were walking in pure heat. John cannot handle the heat very well, so after lunch we had a big life time compromise:: I will never make him live in the tropics, and he will never make me live north of Huntington. Yeahhh! I like that.

French restaurant on the Dutch side
Lunch: baguette with prosiuchuto, tomatoes, fresh mussarela with pesto sauce. mmmm.

Afternoons are too hot to do anything but to take a siesta and blog under the tarp shade on Fiona. Around 4pm we took a stroll up hill to visit the defense fort built in the 1800 to fend the British army.

View from the old fort. Fiona is in the marina just above
the peninsula in the middle of the photo. The large mass of white boats.
A wooden boat, Mistress, anchored across from us on it’s way to a classic wooden boat race to be held in Antigua. Happy hour was a big party today with Bradley (crew from Mistress) and Tom, our neighbor, an ex-wall street very successful banker (apparently).

For dinner we had crepes and tea punch — white rum, a dash of sugar, half a lime.

Tomorrow, on our way to Virgin Gorda.

Next Episode: On our way


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