Sunday, 1 May 2016

St Maarten – half and half.

After just a day since leaving Aruba we reached the Caribbean island of St Maarten where we docked in Philipsburg, the capital of its Dutch half.  


Once off the ship we could see there was a lot of repair work after our passage through the locks of the Panama canal. The port side had been repainted while we were in Aruba but this time “Arcadia” was docked with her starboard side to the pier ready for the paint brush.


The tugs seam to have made most mess with their rubber fenders ……….


…… but there was marking of the paintwork along the whole length of the ship as a result of her tight squeeze through the locks. However, by the time we returned in the evening everything was ‘ship-shape and Bristol fashion’ again.


Docked on the other side of the pier to us was the Celebrity “Summit”. We believe the two ships are the same width (Panamax size) but “Summit”s square rear end makes her look very ‘broad in the beam’!


We hired a car for the day again and had a drive round the island, ending up in Marigot, the capital of the French side. Defining and categorizing all these Caribbean islands is a nightmare – it doesn’t make it much clearer but St Maarten is one of the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles! The bay at Marigot is very pleasant with lots of yachts and rocks while the town is filled with French patisseries and chic designer shops.


After a nice cup of coffee in a French café on the waterfront at Marigot we made our way to the island’s famous “Airplane Beach” (well – you just have to!) where we had a good lunch with Alan and Kim and ………


…….. watched the low flying planes coming in over the beach. Slightly disappointing as they didn’t seem to fly as low as the last time we visited.


However, we did stay long enough to watch a few take-offs where people on the beach were blown over by the thrusts from the jet engines. Well - they will insist on standing there despite the warning signs!



Just out of interest, it’s a very different atmosphere when we arrive back to the ship in the evening. After an enjoyable but hot day out “Arcadia”, with all her lights on, looks so inviting to our tired bodies.


At 9:30 that evening we enjoyed a brilliant ‘sail-away’ party on the rear deck. Just occasionally everything comes together to make a really great time – and this was one of them! Much of the deck space was taken up with dancing into the small hours of the morning.


We’ve got to know quite a few new people on the cruise (nothing changes) and two of them are here with Doug – Jane and Ange!


Of course, Doug leads the way with some of the party dances! …….


…….. and he also tries a few precarious steps on the edge of the pool! ……….


……….. while James also struts his stuff on the safer part of the deck!


Kim and James find their ideal dancing partners! (What’s a foot and a half between friends anyway?)


And that poor pole will never be the same!!!!! What a superb evening we all had – and James didn’t injure anyone with his dancing!

We now have four days of Atlantic Ocean to cross before we get to our next (and final) port of call – the Azores. “Arcadia” has now clocked more than 37,000 miles on her 2016 World voyage.

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