|Catching rays with Teresa|
After an extremely long and tedious flight, including a delay for weather in San Francisco, sister Teresa and I arrived at the boat exhausted, but still smiling, to meet Daragh at our destination of St. Martin/St. Maarten. The island is split down the middle between France and the Netherlands, who eventually came to a truce, deciding to share this little gem. Since then the two flags have fluttered peacefully in the same cool breeze. The next day, refreshed and eager to go exploring we took our life in our hands and rented a car, and drove to Orient beach where we flopped under a cabana at Coco's Beach and took our first dip in the crystal turquoise waters. We returned to Chantey V in time for a happy hour visit with friends Darcy and Isabelle on Ideal, from our days in Bahia del Sol, El Salvador. After catching up on two years of travels we ended the day with a stroll on the malecon and a nightcap at a nearby bistro.
|Coco's, St. Martin|
|Shell Beach, St. Bart's|
The morning opened to blustery north-easterly winds, not the best for our trip south to the island of St. Barthelemy. The trip was a rather bumpy one and Teresa promptly turned green and spent the day praying for the trip to end. Soon St. Barf's, as we now called it, appeared on the horizon. We dropped anchor in a pretty bay known for it's posh harbour and mega-yacht paradise for everything elite in sailing. A quick meal and we were ready to investigate this elegant island setting. A more idylic spot than this you would be hard-pressed to find; a lovely horseshoe shaped bay surrounded by red-roofed colonial style homes, framed by green hillocks and rimmed by aqua-blue sparkling waters. The cruise ships and mega yachts were lined up in perfect formation, but even they couldn't detract from the beauty of Gustavia Harbour. A brisk walk to the the viewpoint overlooking breathtaking Shell Bay and refreshments at a French cafe, and we were reluctantly ready to depart next morning enroute to our destination of Antigua.
|Mega yacht parkade|
|Gustavia, St. Bart's|
"Harmony and me, are pretty good company.
Looking for an island in our home upon the sea.
Harmony, harmony, harmony."
The overnighter to Antigua (pronounced Anteega), was another lumpy ride with seas on the beam , but we arrived swiftly into a palm-encircled bay next morning and slipped into Jolly Harbour Marina. Antigua was a British colony and still retains a vestige of all things British. It claims to be the romance capital of the Caribbean, with 365 perfect white sand beaches, (one for every day of the year!). We rented a car a toured the island, stopping at Dickenson Bay and the quaint Siboney Hotel for a day of sunbathing in liquid turquoise, on some of the best beaches in the entire Caribbean. Pure heaven! Our leisurely days passed all too quickly and it was soon Christmas Eve and time for sister Tes to head back to the great white north. We bid her safe travels and prepared to celebrate our own tropical Christmas with fellow cruisers Gavin and Pat on Seahawk, from Great Britain, and Ian and Meg on Ariadne, from Scotland. A gang assembled at the little Italian restaurant on the dock to tuck in to a hearty turkey dinner with all the trimmings and a cup or two of Christmas 'cheer' to toast all those loved ones near and far.
|Santa and elves seen downtown St Johns|
|Quick, it's Christmas tomorrow!|
"...and so I'm offering this simple phrase,
for kids from one to ninety two,
Although it's been said many times, many ways,
Merry Christmas to you!"