[Written way back in December, 2014]
On Tuesday we left Crocus Bay, Anguilla for St. Martin/Sint Maarten. Half the island is French, the other half is Dutch. We decided to enter the French side, through Marigot Bay. Since the bay itself is a reportedly rolly anchorage, we figured we should go under the bridge to Simpson Lagoon, a large protected body of water between Marigot Bay (French) and Simpson Bay (Dutch). The water is always calmer on the other side, right?
First, we had to wait for the small bridge to open, so we circled around for a while and then anchored for a bit. Time to get out the camera to capture our entry to St. Martin.
When the bridge opened, we eagerly headed towards it, only to realize that we had to wait for the outbound traffic to exit. Fortunately we didn’t collide with any outbound dinghies or sailboats. All three boys sat at the bow and waited for our turn to go through the bridge.
As we approached the bridge, the lady in this green structure (Dutch or French side: what do you think?) took our photo with her phone, so we took one of her.
Was she watching when we had to reverse after realizing it wasn’t our turn yet? Did she somehow know we were destined to run aground trying to get through the unmarked channel in the lagoon? Was she laughing her ass off at yet another clueless foreign cruising boat?
Soon after we passed through the bridge, we had to navigate the “clearly marked” channel to get to the anchorage in the lagoon. The lagoon is pretty shallow at that point, so a narrow channel has been dredged through it so that boats can get through without getting their keels stuck on the bottom. None of the buoys that are supposed to mark the channel were there, so we had to try to figure out where it was on our own. We failed. We ran aground. Hard. If we had taken a photo of this moment, it would have been worth a thousand four letter words.
We eventually managed to get ourselves unstuck and made our way to the anchorage, where we tossed the hook next to another kid boat, home to an Australian family with FIVE kids who have been cruising for EIGHT years. Those people had a GARDEN on their boat. Seriously. Herbs, tomatoes, and peas were growing from containers on their lifelines. That is hardcore and very impressive.
I wonder if, after eight years, they still swear when they run aground. Or maybe they ran aground eight years ago and just never bothered to move?