On Saturday, we unhitched the top from my friend’s Wrangler and rolled it back, tucking it behind the spare tire at the rear of the vehicle.
It was a clear, beautiful day, the sun hot but the moving air keeping the temperature comfortable. We drove west from Maho and up the coast, and thanks to my friend we did not get lost this time.
The first stop was Marigot – the capital of the French side – and we sat on the red couches of Sarafina’s to relax, enjoy the buzz of the town. My friend, who has been on the island for almost two years, said it was her favorite spot for French pastries. No argument coming from me – I had a salmon quiche (delicious) and the second half of a chocolate eclair that was leftover. I’m traditionally not a huge fan of chocolate, although something may be changing inside of me. The filling was more reminiscent of pudding than cream, and I washed it all down with a Carib (brewed in Trinidad).
Beer is much more than a breakfast drink, though, and I had another on the beach at Grand Case, after we swam in the water and threw back a painkiller at Calmos Cafe on the far north side. The town is very small and there are no crowds, and as you walk the main street you find no large, commercial hotels – only small apartments and locally-run places more reminiscent of a bed and breakfast. It felt more like a local hang out than a tourist attraction, for sure, and we might head back tonight for a Mardi Gras celebration, stay tuned.
The Oyster Bay area, although the final stop, might have stolen the show given the way the sun tucked behind the mountains and the way the fading light reflected off the water, the ripples creating a kaleidoscope effect when you looked down into the clear water. You could still see the bottom, yet the rocks and urchins on the soft sand seemed to be dancing.
We swam/walked out to two small islands just off the coast. We were too far from the airport to hear any of the planes – only the sounds of nature were present. Forgive me, but I always find it nice when you can’t hear the noise of the human race.
FYI: I’ve been referring to the island as St. Maarten throughout my coverage, which is the name of the Dutch side where I’m making my home. The French Side goes by St. Martin, but for reasons of convenience I’ve decided to use St. Maarten whenever referring to the island. Je suis désolé if that upsets you – just trying to avoid confusion and maintain my sanity.
Anyway, you can see the video of Oyster Bay on Facebook, but let me tell you: It’s special to walk a land that you know is not often traversed, when signs of life could be from weeks ago. Was the crab skeleton on the makeshift bench put there yesterday or last month? How many people have stepped on the sea urchins as they waded the shallow waters?
My friend gave us a heads up – hence the sandals in the video.