Maho Beach: 747 Lands on Wake and Wander's Head

My belly button was just about to overflow with sweat when I decided to get up from my lounge chair, put away the pen and the pad and head over to Maho Beach to watch a few planes land.

The beach was busy as all hell, the waters crowded with sailboats with their spinnakers launched. There is a regatta next week – they are going to sail around the island – and practice has apparently already begun. I was insanely jealous of some of the vessels – truly magnificent – although I could not dwell too long. Lolita surely would not be happy, especially after the incident a few months ago in the Dominican Republic.

View of runway from Maho Beach.

Wherever Tom Petty was when he wrote that the waiting is the hardest part, one thing is for sure: It certainly was not St. Maarten. The beach had a buzz – a live band setting up at the Sunset Beach Bar (find photos on Facebook) – and we stood with our bare feet in the sand, the blue waters at our front, the runway behind us. I could see the heat rising off the black tar, sweat forming on the bodies around me.

Sexy? Maybe. Hot? For sure.

The breeze was still except for when the planes came in, not far above our heads. The sand flew up and bit at my bare skin, sticking to my chest and legs. It did not bother me, especially after standing in the jet stream of an A340.

As the plane came into sight to the west and began to circle around, the crowd packed in tight and the cameras came out. There were people all around, all armed and ready to experience the same moment.

That beautiful moment, I thought.

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