I had arranged to rent a car for a week while here, instead of doing a 1-2 car rental and trying to pack in all my shopping and provisioning into a short period of time and then, after returning the car, remembering that I'd forgotten some essential piece of kit and then having to try to find a way to get to the store afterwards. Since I'm in distant Grand Case I can't just hop into a dinghy and head over to the stores (most of which are located with convenient dinghy access). The rental company didn't have time until 11:30 so I visited with Sally, Keiran and Chris at Octopus Diving, catching up with them and getting the most recent information on their lives and on Grand Case.
Once in the car I drove to Marigot, found parking (always a challenging task) in the area of the inside marina and went to the Capitainerie in order to clear in. Once I was “Legal” I had a coffee and croissant at La Sucrière and then drove over the hill into Philipsburg. This time I was in luck and saw that there were no cruise ships at the docks in town; since the usual traffic and parking problems in Philipsburg on busy cruise ship days make Marigot look like a sleepy little town in comparison. I found parking after driving down Front Street for the first time, as it is often closed to vehicular traffic during cruise ship days. I did a bit of price comparison in 3 camera stores and then settled on Boolchand's for my purchase and got a new Nikon D7100 body and a nice Nikkor 70-300mm lens. The lens is for the professional FX size sensors so in actuality this lens is something like 100-450mm focal length giving me a nice telephoto lens.
Instead of returning through the traffic Simpson Baie Lagoon area I continued around the island and stopped off at the one store which sells the Nespresso capsules for my coffee machine and stocked up on supplies there, then dumped my shopping on the boat, took a very quick shower and drove to the Dutch bridge for the 17:00 opening.
There I met my friends Carmen and Bernd from Mau and also caught up with Mark from Sea Life while we watched 3 big yachts and several smaller ones pass through the narrow bridge opening without mishap. The crowds thinned out after the opening but we remained and had a meal (being Dutch, almost every starter was deep-fried) whereupon I headed back to Grand Case at around 9PM. Parking was difficult to find, but I located a spot close to Octopus diving and set the alarm and installed The Claw on the wheel in order to deter theft.
Back aboard I was a bit dismayed at my very close next door neighbor, Pearl Island, who had anchored very close to me despite the large amount of area available in the anchorage. The winds had died down and when that happened the boats swung with 3 meters of each other. There was nobody aboard the boat, but I didn't want to re-anchor at night (particularly since I was there first). I did fire up the engine and drag my chain sideways away from the boat to give us some separation, but if the wind picked up again overnight the chain would probably drag us close again. I'll have to talk to him tomorrow if he remains.

Philipsburg waterfront The waterfront stores and promenade in Philipsburg on a day with no cruise ships.
(2014-01-20 14:26:35 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-105.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/5.6, 1/400s] ISO 125)
Philipsburg waterfront
New (replacement) camera After a bit of price shopping I purchased my replacement D7100 and long lens. I've still got the deceased camera and lens aboard, just in case there a chance of an insurance claim.
(2014-01-20 15:50:17 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-105.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/4.2, 1/25s] ISO 320)
New (replacement) camera
Bernd and Carmen at the Bridge Bernd and Carmen from Mau at the Dutch Bridge opening.
(2014-01-20 16:56:12 NIKON D7000 with a "70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6" lens. [f/4.5, 1/800s] ISO 320)
Bernd and Carmen at the Bridge
Not much clearance The tender to this yacht is trying to fit underneath the bridge, but there's not much room. They've dropped all the antennas but there's just inches for the radar to fit. In the end they made it through.
(2014-01-20 17:17:32 NIKON D7000 with a "70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6" lens. [f/5.0, 1/125s] ISO 125)
Not much clearance
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