We had beautiful weather for our departure from Antigua. Clearing out in St. John’s was a little tricky, because they normally only deal with cruise ships at that location, but after pounding the pavement a bit we got it squared away. About an hour into the trip, we turned off the engine and were full sail from then on until the wind died after midnight. The moon set just as we arrived in Marigot Bay on the north side of St. Martin. We puttered around for an hour waiting for the sun to come up so we could find a spot to drop the anchor. There are a *lot* of boats anchored in Marigot, and even more in the Lagoon. The customs office was bizarrely less functional than we’ve come to expect from the other French islands. They keep the clearance computer locked up and demanded fees for anchoring in Marigot. Don’t lose your receipts! St. Martin is an excellent place for provisioning and boat shopping.
We found that when Marigot wasn’t rolley due to the swell, we were inundated with wakes from the power boats roaring in and out of the lagoon all day long. The swarms of rented dinghy racers and ski-dos were a bit off-putting as well. After a few days of that we moved over to Grand Case and had a much better experience. While the provisioning isn’t as nice as in Marigot, the restaurants on the beach in Grand Case were excellent and much more reasonably priced. While it got a bit crowded at times, it was a much better experience overall. We didn’t have any problems with the swell or noise level here.
We’d planned to stay in St. Martin a bit longer, but the weather window to scoot over to Puerto Rico was just too good so we left a little early. It is hard to look at a 10 day forecast window of favorably calm seas and not jump on it. This was particularly true as we had to be in Puerto Rico at the beginning of May for a family visit. When sailing with a schedule, which is usually a terrible idea, it is best to go while the getting is good!