Leeward Islands

April, 2007.

We found ourselves trapped in The Dominican Republic for two weeks longer then we wanted. A front parked itself over us and gave us rain and north winds for a very long time. One cannot travel by sailboat in the north coast of the DR safely with a north wind and swell so we spent a couple of weeks sewing and playing games. We left Escondido, Dominican Republic and headed for Boqueron, Puerto Rico. It took 30 tiresome hours to get across the mona passage because we had to fight into current, wind and waves. It was a bit of a process checking into Puerto Rico, considering we were U.S citizens. I think our Canadian friends had an easier time! Boqueron is supposed to be a spring break town similar to Key West. After a day or two of rest and relaxing on the beach we took off again to Ponce.

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In Ponce we went to Sams Club and Walmart to stock up on all the American food we love so much! Puerto Rico was very clean and appeared to have a lot to offer. We were getting behind from waiting on weather in Dominican Republic which prevented us from seeing more of Puerto Rico. We do have to get quite a ways south before the hurricanes come into this part of the world. We sailed to Vieques and lounged around on the beach for the day before heading out the next morning to St. Thomas in the U.S Virgin Islands.

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We weren’t planning on going to the Virgin Islands till the next day but the weather was actually working in our favor, which rarely happens, so we took advantage of it. After a comfortable 7 hour sail we were in St. Thomas. We anchored in the capital of Charlotte Amalie which is the main harbour in St. Thomas where the cruise ships come in. It turns out that April is the time of year for Carnival in St. Thomas! From April 8-28 there are all kinds of Carnival events. We were able to catch a Calypso show at the stadium which involved singing and dancing. There is actually a lot more to do in St. Thomas than I had originally thought. The main thing to do is shop! There is jewelry store after jewelry store with a couple of souvenir and duty free liquor shops mixed in along the way. The duty free liquor is quite reasonable. We found bottles of 151 rum for $4.25 per bottle. St. Thomas also offers ferry service to St. Johns and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.

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British Virgin Islands We unfortunately did not experience the BVI like we wanted to since it rained quite a bit while we were there. We were able to make it to the Baths which Virgin Gorda is famous for. The Baths are immense rock formations with a maze of caves and grotttos to explore.

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We did a little snorkeling. The pictures Clark took using the underwater case he bought for his camera came out good.

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Sint Maarten/Saint Martin We arrived in St. Martin on May 1. So far St. Martin is our favorite island! We anchored in the Lagoon area which splits the Dutch and the French side. There is a ton of things to do – shopping, dining, snorkeling, beaches, nightlife and casinos. We first explored the Simpson Bay area which is on the Dutch side where english is mainly spoken and the dollar is mostly used. There are lots of waterfront restaurants and bars that we were able to dinghy to. The bars and restaurants on the Dutch side are along the waterfront with ‘al fresca’ dining. We had our ‘island drinks’ of a Mojito and the Guavaberry Colada while listening to a Caribbean band.

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Afterwards we headed over to the popular Pineapple Pete’s for a live Jazz/Blues band. At Pineapple Pete’s we were able to experience the best of both sides with our Dutch Heineken and our French Creme Brule!

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The next day we went over to the French side in the town of Marigot. We walked all around and looked at all the menus to find a great french restaurant to go to for dinner. Along the way we were drawn in to the lovely bakeries and outdoor cafe’s. On the French side we did hear lots of French spoken and Euros being used. However, most everyone speaks English and still accepts the Dollar.

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The restaurant we decided on was La Vie en Rose, which after dinner we were given a couple truffles and cookies along with a rose with our check.

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We walked around Marigot’s market looking at all the souvenirs and spices for sale!

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We hiked up to Fort Louis for a great view of the lagoon and surrounding area.

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We did lots of walking and hiking! We wanted to hike to the top of Pic Paradise for a great view but only got as far as Loterie Farms. At Loterie Farms there are hiking trails along with a Tree Zip Line course.

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