The morning VHF network on CH10 always begins at 07:30 and is hosted by Mike from Shrimpy's laundry and usually goes from 15-30 minutes, but today's session took close to an hour and subsequently the networks were full of people chatting on the radio, but Bernd from Mau got through to me (we'd tried DSC but that didn't quite work for some reason) and we arranged to meet at noon so that I could drive them over to Kooyman's hardware store close to Philipsburg in order to get a gas tank. I stayed aboard for a while after the net running the generator to charge the batteries and to measure my dodger, bimini and deck spaces for possible solar cell installation sites. I also completed my shopping list for the day and made sure to stuff the list into my backpack before departing the boat. I had barely enough time before noon to drive to the Dutch side and pick up some items at Ace Hardware and visit the workshop of Havin's Marine to ask if he is still manufacturing stainless and aluminum parts for end-users such as myself and was pleased to find out that he still does so. I arrived at Lagoonies at the exact moment that Carmen and Bernd arrived and I had a quick sandwich while they sorted out their new line colors at FKG next door and then we headed off into noontime St. Martin traffic.
The rest of the afternoon until 17:30 happy hour at Lagoonies was spent at various destinations on the Dutch side, including Kooyman's Hardware, Cost-U-Less (where I only got some Presidente), Bluepoint (for a keyboard and HDMI cable) and finally we walked Front Street in Philipsburg and I checked out lens availability at a couple of camera stores only to discover that the lens I wanted was no longer in production by Nikon and I opted to get a Sigma lens (15-250mm) instead. The final purchase was at Frostline to get a new thermistor of the freezer and a “Merlin” attachment for the fridge that reduces the energy consumption.
We had a couple of beers before Carmen and Bernd returned to their boat and I headed off to my friends for dinner. Traffic at 18:30 was miserable and I was quite late, so we opted to postpone dinner. I loaded up my day's acquisitions onto the dinghy and got it all aboard just as a shower passed by so I ducked under the dodger and was going to open the companionway hatch when I turned on the cockpit light to discover that several hundred flies/mosquitos had also taken shelter under the dodger and I could feel their insect hunger and decided not to let them inside so they could feast upon me when I went to sleep (plus there's a nasty virulent fever called Chikungunya going around at the moment). So instead of making dinner aboard, I left my things in the dry cover of the boat and dinghied back ashore to get some ribs at one of the LoLo's next to the dinghy dock. Once I'd ordered I was joined by the Italian saxophone player that I'd heard the night before and we had an interesting conversation in French - which I found funny since usually when two people converse in a language other than their mother tongues it tends to be in English as the lingua franca.
Back aboard many of my unwanted visitors remained on deck, but the wind had picked up a little so I banged on the Sunbrella to make them take flight and once they got caught by the wind they invariably headed downwind to either the mega yacht anchored way behind me or perhaps for their flight over water towards Anguilla (unfortunately for them if they missed Anguilla their next landing would be somewhere in Florida...). This method further winnowed down the masses but when I finally did go below I closed the main companionway doors so that they couldn't follow and without that big opening it did get a bit sticky below decks.

(The other pictures of the day didn't turn out, I'd set the camera to full manual and didn't adjust the aperture and timing correctly)
Carmen and Bernd in Philipsburg Carmen and Bernd at our parking position on the outskirts of the shopping area of Philipsburg.
(2014-01-22 14:07:02 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-105.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/4.8, 1/800s] ISO 200)
Carmen and Bernd in Philipsburg
Carmen and Bernd on the Promenade Carmen, Bernd and a couple of Cruise Ships in Philipsburg, St. Martin.
(2014-01-22 15:10:49 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/11.0, 1/800s] ISO 200)
Carmen and Bernd on the Promenade
Behemoths in Philipsburg These monsters dwarf the town (and triple the population while the passengers go ashore).
(2014-01-22 15:10:30 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/11.0, 1/800s] ISO 200)
Behemoths in Philipsburg
New rotating bridge opening The new bridge in the process of closing. Rather than a drawbridge, this one rotates and allows bi-directional traffic.
(2014-01-22 15:51:48 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/18.0, 1/800s] ISO 200)
New rotating bridge opening
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