Sensory Overload

After two and a half years of cruising to primarily small towns and communities in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and the Caribbean you would think we’d be accustomed to them and possibly comfortable with the idea of living in a smaller town when this adventure comes to an end, right?

image

WRONG! As much as we have enjoyed the experience and the peaceful solitude of remote anchorages, we still prefer the conveniences and distractions of city life. I mean really. After living in Toronto, Sydney, Miami and Los Angeles can you actually picture us living in Nowhereville?

image

OK, OK it’s probably not that bad and one day we may want to move to a quiet little tropical paradise. But, at this point in our life, we still need live music, restaurants, bars, gourmet grocery stores (for Audrey) and, of course, marinas, chandleries, regattas and all things boating.

image

Wait a tick?  We just spent 6 weeks in a tropical, Caribbean island that has all of those things and more. It’s quite amazing but Sint Maarten/St. Martin, the little island that is shared by the Netherlands and France, had everything on our hit list and more.

image

It not only met our requirements for boating stuff, it also had a few awesome grocery stores that stocked almost everything Chef Audrey had on her shopping list.

image

Plus, if there was something specific we needed that was not in stock, we are quite certain that one of the many Yacht Provision companies that cater to the numerous mega-yachts based there would have been more than happy to expedite anything our heart desired — for a hefty price. We didn’t take advantage of this particular service but if we ever needed some Prince Edward Island mussels or Argentinian steaks, we knew how to get them.

image

To top it off, they have live music venues all over the island and a number of concerts and music festivals throughout the year. However, as far as we sailors are concerned, the biggest and best live music on the island is during the famous Hieneken Regatta. Yes, its primary purpose is sailboat racing around the island but over the years it has become a major tourist attraction drawing sailors and non-sailors alike.

image

imageimage

As you can see, the yachts, crews and parties are a “fun for all” but the biggest draw are the over-the-top parties that this little regatta, with major funding from Hieneken and a few other sponsors, have been able to host.

image

imageThey are held every night of the 5-day regatta, are attended by thousands of revelers, and include performances by top local musicians and performers from around the world — all for that magic word FREE. Previous headliners include the Black Eyed Peas and Ziggy Marley among others and this year we jammed to Rock City (who have a hit song with Adam Levine of Maroon 5) and grammy-award winning R&B/Hip-Hop perfromer Akon.

image

image

The Heineken Regatta was definitely one of the highlights of this adventure and if you ever get a chance to attend or, even better participate, you should jump at it. But, if you’re not interested in regattas, loud music and/or rowdy bars, Sint Maarten/St. Martin also has beautiful beaches, quaint hotels, and quiet anchorages, and is within a day sail (or short ferry ride) of both St. Barths and Anguilla.

image

image

And, if you really want something different, Sint Maarten also has one of the only beaches in the world that is virtually on the runway of a major airport. It’s a little scary but for “aero-nuts” from around the world it’s heaven on earth.

imageAll in all, Sint Maarten/St. Martin had almost everything we could ask for in a Caribbean escape and, if it wasn’t for the fact that we’re going to need good jobs soon to pay for this adventure, we could actually live there.

image

Maybe one day we will live there. In the meantime, we’ll always remember the sensory overload of yachts, planes, casinos, food, beaches (even nude ones), parties and people, including our friends Sharon and Graeme who joined us from Toronto for the Hieneken Regatta and a little early celebration of Audrey’s upcoming birthday.

image

Watch for more on the “Month of Audrey” in our next post…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s