Summer Vacation 2011 – Island Hopping By Boat

Boy, did we luck out! Amidst several days of scattered showers and downpours, we went boating on a warm, dry day. We escaped the rainstorms on St. Martin by going out on the water to visit other islands. We worried the previous day because the showers were frequent and non-stop. But like I said, we got lucky.

Our vessel for the day was a 26′ Boston Whaler with twin Yamaha 225 hp outboard engines. Truls is completely comfortable skippering the boat since he grew up doing so (being Norwegian and all). We had plans to head out to four nearby islands – Tintamarre, Ilet Pinel, Anguilla and Sandy Isle.

I was soooooooo sore by the end of the day. The rides out to the first island and back from the last were very bumpy. A few slams on the waves here and there while I held onto a couple of scared little girls were enough to make me feel pretty beat up by the end of the day. Truls, though, did the best he could to navigate the smoothest rides  through the very choppy waters and roiling waves. It was pretty windy as well. He had a tough job balancing the speed or slowness through the sea against the potential motional sickness bound to be experienced  by me…and perhaps one or two daughters. I did take my Nautomine (like Dramamine but with caffeine to avoid drowsiness) but with the waves as they were, I could still start to feel…ill.

The bumpy rides between islands made us appreciate the stops at the islands and beaches all the more. When we arrived at the first island, Tintamarre, the main beach was deserted. It was nice to have it for ourselves for a bit before any other boats showed up. Storyteller and Songwriter have become quite the confident swimmers and easily swam into shore themselves. They immediately found a few shells in the sand and see-through silver-ish fish swimming in the water. They did not want to leave…but it was time for lunch at the next island.

There are three restaurants on Ile Pinel. Truls had wanted to try one of them in a previous visit but my lack of kayaking skill derailed that plan. So, this time we boated there. The water is very shallow where we anchored our boat and we were able to wade in from the boat to the beach. And the first thing that caught our eye was the cage of live lobsters. One family was making a choice at the time.

Unfortunately, the service was slow at the restaurant we chose. It took over one hour to receive our meals and another 30 minutes to get our check. Ugh! We realized later that our long wait at this place took away the time we wanted to spend at Sandy Isle. Oh well. At least the girls were well entertained when they discovered the colony of iguanas living at the back of the restaurant. I couldn’t believe how large the population of creatures  was there.

We hurried as best we could out to Anguilla. Anguilla is known for the deserted white sand beaches and emerald colored waters. We pulled up to deserted Rendezvous Bay. Just like the other islands, the water was warm and inviting. We couldn’t hang out too long as we had one more island on our itinerary.

Sandy Isle is the star of many a postcard on St. Martin. Tiny and deserted except for a single restaurant, it sits all alone just off the coast of Anguilla. It is surrounded by coral reef, so it’s not an easy island to approach. And unfortunately, we no longer had the time to figure it out. We had to make our crossing back to St. Martin. At least we got our photo opportunity.

After 8 hours, it was time to head back to St. Martin. It looked like it had been raining there a bit. Seems we picked the right day to get away to other islands. I was ready, though, to get back to our villa, take a shower and relax.

It was a great day but I’m still pretty sure about one thing and that is I’m not a boater…or a sailor. I may have  been born in the Philippine islands but I’m pretty sure there’s a strong emphasis on the “-land” part of that heritage.

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

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