I have been delinquent updating the blog, mainly because I didn’t have a theme that caught my attention. As you both know from English class, I am all about the theme (and character transformation, plot development, etc…) and I was struggling to find a compelling subject to write about. Suffering from writer’s bloc, I decided to review our recent photos in the hope that something about St. Martin would jump out at me… and it did; but it wasn’t St. Martin. It’s people and the relationships that we make along the way, that fill the pages of iPhoto. It’s the Posse of teenage girls tubing, swimming and playing cards on the beach and in our boats. It’s the sundowners, the dinners and the generous help of virtual strangers to diagnose a cantankerous generator, that define this trip, not the postcard vistas or the Gucci boulevards. This will be the theme of this post.
We had been pushing to get to St. Martin to pick up Moma on the 8th of January and when plans to rent a car fell through, we picked her up from the airport in our version of the family car….Pumba, and then splashed and crashed the three miles across the lagoon and into Marigot Bay, where Rafiki and crew waited at anchor. If you are going to go on a sailing jaunt, getting picked up from the airport in a RIB is pretty cool.
School just got a whole lot more interesting because painting has become a core subject. I restrung the guitars and now we alternate between Gordon Lightfoot and Van Gogh, which provides a welcome distraction from Canadian geography. You are also working on a Powerpoint presentation on Life in Canada to present to our Israeli friends, and while you will probably not be using Powerpoint in the future, the exercise is an excellent tool for planning and organizing your thoughts.
Our plan had been to spend as little time in St. Martin as possible but we needed to have the generator serviced so we anticipated being there for about a week. The generator issue festered and after several days of indelicate language and wrestling, we cut our losses and decided to have it looked at in the BVIs by a different company. Just as we were preparing to leave, we were hailed by the recently arrived Discovery and Day Dreamer crews (the above mentioned Posse) that you had befriended in Grenada. We quickly changed our plans and decided to stick around for a bit, so our days involved a commute and ferry service so that you could all hang out together after school.
John Alonso and Michelle Bruce were extremely generous with their time, food and boat, daily hosting ten to fifteen kids for tubing, swimming and various other games. Suddenly St. Martin was a lot more fun and you two were in no hurry to leave. Mommy, Moma and I availed ourselves of the fabulous variety of French delicacies to provision the boat and we regularly went into a spectacular patisserie for internet….and pastries… and coffee and….
John suggested that we all head over to llet Pinel on the other side of the island for a day, and since we had not really explored the East side of St. Martin, we decided to follow. We anchored in a small bay beside a busy-by-day, deserted-by-night beach, where you all just hung out and played in the sand. One day stretched into three with the days being filled with sun and surf and, in the evenings all the kids would get together for movies on Discovery and the adults would gather for quite dinners; a schedule which suited both groups.
We even had the opportunity to stop in Tintamarre, a small deserted island East of St. Martin, for an afternoon where we were joined by La Jeannoise. After I changed the zincs on the boat, Mommy and Moma had a chance to snorkel and go for a walk, and the dozen children did whatever a dozen kids do on a beach, we returned to Marigot for two days to do some last minute provisioning and fuel the boat. The next night, ten days later than planned, we departed at 11pm for the 13-hour crossing to the BVIs.
So many of the islands blur together and it is often difficult to recall what happened where. Because we have no set schedule, we are able to capitalize on opportunities like this when they present themselves. Our rushed four day stop turned into two weeks and we left St. Martin with new friends and new experiences, and that is really what this trip is all about.