|AU2 stayed behind with us slow pokes while Smart Move sped on ahead!|
For years I've been following the other Cruisers who have blogged about their experiences, and I have a full mental list of things I really want to do! Maho Beach is on that list!
There are several Maho Beaches out here... but the one I'm talking about is the one where the runway for a major airport begins - or ends, depending upon which way the wind is blowing - at this beach!
When Robyn and Barry on Smart Move
invited us to tag along with them to Maho, we cleared our schedule and hopped into the dinghy! They sped off across the Lagoon leaving us to put-put along after them in our slow dinghy. JL and Michael were nice enough to hover like a mother hen so that we wouldn't get lost!
|One of several wrecks in the lagoon|
|The Causeway Bridge leading to the Dutch side - Sint Maarten|
|Passing beneath the Causeway Bridge in the middle of the Lagoon|
|There are a LOT of very large and beautiful yachts here on the Dutch side|
|The bar is right behind these big, beautiful boats!!!|
|I couldn't even fit the entire mast in the camera frame!|
We all met up again at a place called la Palapa... or more precisely... the Soggy Dollar Bar dock.
I for one was very appreciative that we had someone to show us the way. Robyn and Barry have been here before... they told us where to tie up, then they led us through the bar to the street where we could catch a bus to our destination.
|We will have to come back here when we're done!|
When we looked up and down the "main drag" here on the Dutch side, I marvelled at how different it is from the French side. There are more cars and more businesses with a completely UN-French vibe! How can these two worlds live separately on such a tiny island???
Driving is done on the right side of the road island-wide. We just stood beside the zooming traffic until we saw a van with a card in the window that said "Maho" displayed... one raised hand and our ride arrived!
|See the sign?|
We piled inside and away we went... bouncing over the busy streets of Dutch Sint Maarten. Soon we reached our destination where we piled back out again and paid our $1.50 US per person. We found ourselves surrounded by tourists and restaurants and little beach bars.
Two steps further and Maho Beach stretched out before us... bright white sand and sparkling blue water... packed full of tan bodies.
SO MANY BODIES!!! As we wove our way through the throngs of beach-goers and picture-takers, a couple of smaller planes came in for a landing.
The noise and blowing sand from just these small planes was enough to convince me that I did NOT want to be here when a big plane came in.
Thanks to Robyn, we found the perfect spot from which to watch the festivities... and have a delicious lunch!
We were able to find a primo table bayside at Sunset Beach Bar
where we settled to watch the show.
Planes come throughout the day but the larger ones seem to come mid morning and mid afternoon. We saw many landings, fascinated to watch the completely odd scene of giant planes floating right over the heads of the unsuspecting beach-goers.
|There's always one...|
It's all fun and games until one big plane spends a little extra time at the start line... big jet engines rev higher and higher.
Suddenly sand begins to swirl... the blast becomes stronger still... until sand and people are literally tumbling into the water as the big bird releases the brakes and hurls itself forward into the sky!
|You can see the sand and people being blown into the water! It was awesome!|
We stayed until the big planes were done and our delicious lunch was gone. You can only watch this for so long before it becomes somewhat repetitive... Check this one off the Bucket List. It's done!
It wasn't how I had imagined it. In my mind's eye... I envisioned me standing on this beach with only Bruce and maybe a couple of friends. I would be slim and tanned in a bikini... my hair would be long and blond... I would lie back on my beach blanket with my camera at the ready for a big one to come. I would lazily raise the camera and take the perfect video and photos from directly beneath the landing plane... so close I could have stretched out my toe and touched it's belly as it passed over. My hair would have lifted gently in the soft breeze...
Wake up Tammy
! What really would have happened if Robyn had not the sense to find us a safe haven from which to watch the carnage is this: I would have stood down there in the blazing hot sand, jostled by the hot, sweaty bodies of people way to bold and comfortable in their own skin to be touching me... That big plane would have come over and I would have NO pictures because I would have been screaming and reeling from the pain as sand entrenched burrowed beneath my eyelids... And I would STILL be picking impacted sand out of crevices I didn't know I had! Thank you Robyn and Barry!
Happily anticipating a review of my photos, we traipsed back across the sand to catch the "Phillipsburg" bus back to the Soggy Dollar...
|In case you missed the sign earlier...|
|After a photo op with the big boats...|
When I escape from the boat and get away from the endless list of boat projects, I am reluctant to return... So when JL and Michael suggested we stop for happy hour at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club I said YES!
|You know you're at a yacht club when...|
|Do people really carry around a supply of burgees to leave at random yacht clubs?|
Now I would not normally just make myself at home at ANY yacht club... even though we were members of one back home before we left... But evidently this is an open kind of yacht club... the kind that only wants to see your money. And the prices at happy hour really weren't that bad.
The Claim-to-fame at THIS yacht club is it's proximity to the Simpson Bay Bridge. This is the bridge through which all of the mega yachts must pass to gain entry to the Lagoon. The French bridge is too narrow and the channel is not dredged deep enough to accommodate them. So... coincidentally, there is a bridge opening time that happens at the height of happy hour!
|Let the show begin!|
People come in droves to sit and watch the big boats squeeze through the opening. It is marvellous fun and a perfect end to a perfect break from boat projects!
|Easy does it! Center it up...|
|That all folks, nothing to see here... keep moving...|