Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today started off early, with the 07:30 radio giving good news about the wind and waves for the next couple of days. In addition, today is Australia Day and it will be, in the words of a true Aussie, a “real piss-up” tonight. I went to return the rental car for the 08:30 time and place we'd arranged at Lagoonies, but she was an hour late and I got off the dinghy dock just in time to see a couple of the bigger yachts enter the Simpson Baie lagoon at the tail end of the 09:30 opening. After that I went to (another) car rental company to clear up a case of double-charging me for my 1-day jeep rental to pick up the cases and it turned out that I was wrong, the extra charge was for a previous rental and they just submitted the bill a week late and it coincidentally was charged to my credit card on the same day.

Then I cleared out of Sint Maarten with destination St. Barths and am back aboard the boat, all that before 10:30am. If the rest of the day is as productive I'll have all my tasks and chores done before the piss-up tonight!

Heinz-Dieter of Pinta and I had planned on cleaning our dinghies at a small beach inside the lagoon that he knew of, but he changed his mind and decided not to clean his until shortly before he was going to leave but showed me the beach and also helped me with the outboard engine and turning the Caribe dinghy over on its back. I had some sort of bottom paint left on that did an acceptable job of keeping down the growth, but still had some scraping of barnacles to do and then used a Scotch pad and sand from the beach to get the rest of the gunk and crud off the bottom. My main impetus for the work was to avoid the stink of dead and rotting growth when I got the dinghy aboard for the passage.

The afternoon was spent busily completing work aboard the boat and I got Zanshin I almost ready for departure, including finally finding a way to get the large square Peli 1640 case into the aft cabin. I had tried a couple of days earlier with no success as it wouldn't fit through the door. I measured the doors again to see if the case might fit if I removed the top and was surprised to see that both aft cabin door had different sizes and I'd tried the one that was 2cm smaller. With the lid of the case open I managed to squeeze it in. After the case I cleaned up the main cabin and went shopping for fresh provisions ashore, and by that time it was 17:00 and the Australians were all raring to go and celebrate.

We had heard on the radio network that there was to be a party at a restaurant on Isla del Sol and we dinghied over to the dock, to be met by a friendly employee who asked us to wait for the main gate security guard to come and allow us entry. After a while he came by on a golf cart and then it turned out that they wanted picture ID and would keep it until such time as we wanted to leave; it would seem that they wanted to keep out the sailing riffraff and cruising hoi polloi from their exclusive docks where all the mega yachts on steroids were resting. This wasn't to our liking, and by this time there were quite a few Australians and sympathizers on the dock but we all opted to leave rather than going to our respective boat and retrieving identification and subsequently leaving it at the ramshackle gate and we headed to Barnacle's which was rather busy but with only a few Australians scattered about. I made the mistake of staying there far too long (23:00, which is the cruiser equivalent of pulling an all-nighter)

Simpson Bridge opening Letting in the megayachts during the morning inbound opening.
[18°2'17.8"N 63°5'31.92"W (facing SW)]
Simpson Bridge opening
St. Martin bridge opening St. Martin bridge opening
[18°2'14.53"N 63°5'34.94"W (facing SW)]
St. Martin bridge opening
Sunrise Yacht Sunrise Yacht
Sunrise Yacht
Dinghy cleaning The bottom of the dinghy collects scum and algae and barnacles despite the barrier coat from the previous owner. The simplest method to clean it is to go ashore, turn the dinghy over and use nature's sandpaper from the beach to give it a good cleaning. No chemicals required.
[18°2'21.43"N 63°5'20.66"W ]
Dinghy cleaning
Arita on Australia Day Lauren and Rob on Arita flying their collected courtesy flag on Australia Day while at anchor in St. Martin. They chose better than I did, they are currently anchored on the French side (for free) while I was on the Dutch side just a bit further in (lots of fees).
[18°2'49.38"N 63°5'41.52"W (facing N)]
Arita on Australia Day
Australia Day at Barnacle's Celebrating Australia Day in St. Martin. At this point we'd been denied entry to the party at the posh marina and had retired to Barnacles, where we were welcomed.
[18°2'26.24"N 63°5'50.1"W ]
Australia Day at Barnacle's
Suspicious French Fry Suspicious French Fry
Suspicious French Fry

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