Christmas 2003 and New Years 2004 Trip Report

SXM Trip report Dec 25, 2003 through January 1, 2004

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I re-created this trip report in December 2007 at the request of some friends. The details are sketchy due to the elapsed time and my very limited note keeping that trip. The original trip report was announced on TTOL and pointed to an annotated report on the MSN SXMPhotos II group. That group and all the photos were deleted by MSN. As a result my complete report and the original photo gallery are missing in action. Many of the photos I posted are also lost as a result of a hard drive failure on my computer a few months later. I did not have CD back-up capability at that time. I did recover some of the photos from the trip when I had the hard drive worked on later. (A word to the wise, back-up, back-up and back-up again) So... if the report is less detailed than usual, please forgive.

Getting Ready

This trip was shorter than our usual due needing to be back home in time to preside over a wedding for one of our friend's daughters at the church. We also had to push up our arrival date in order to squeeze in enough time to get good fares and rates on our stay. In order to get any air fare that was affordable for us, we had to leave early in the morning on Christmas Day. (First time booking through We checked it out with our kids and they all were fine with doing Christmas after services on Christmas eve, so that is what we planned. We did the 2 services at church, went home and celebrated Christmas with the tree and gifts and then changed and two of the kids then drove us to the airport.

We would be spending a fair amount of time at Club Orient during the first week, switching over to the Sapphire for the last 6 days of the trip. Finally had been able to get into the Sapphire through our purchase of a unit there earlier in the year. Due to the nature of the holidays, we were the Club Orient nomads this trip. Checking into a studio for a couple of nights, then into a mini-suite. Our nomad journeys became even more complex when the first mini-suite we were placed into had a short in the electrical service during a rain storm in the middle of the first night we stayed there and they had to move us yet again into the only unit available, a delux mini-suite across the way. It was a delightful upgrade!

We arranged for a car with Mickey at Tropical Tropicana starting a few days into the trip as we found that we don't really like to travel much the once we get to Club Orient. Got our phone through  Eastern Caribbean Cellular. That ended up being a fiasco, but we tried!

Finally this trip we an important task, find a dress for Regina to wear at that wedding so we posted a lot of messages on TTOL and got some great ideas from Ed and Sandra on where to look in Marigot for just that right dress. More on that later in the report..


December 25 - The Trip There        Back to Top

Nothing in my notes for the actual trip. I recall it being one of the most trouble free travel days in all our trips. Did our connection through Charlotte and it was a breeze going down. We did meet a nice young adult couple by the names of Tina and Mike on the airplane and they were going to be staying down at LeHoste. They had lots of questions about the island and especially about Naturism and the south end of the beach. Invited them to our party that we were hosting with Bob and Marla at Bay Watch and also made arrangements to walk with them on the beach one day.

I had arranged for the Club Orient staff to send Louis, a cab driver that is familiar with the resort to the airport as we would be arriving right in the middle of Christmas Day.

All the stores would be closed when we arrived and all of the restaurants would be on limited hours so we planned to just go to Papagayos for dinner.  The office was already closed when we arrived, but they did have the keys and paperwork at the guard shack and Louis drove us right to our unit. The flowers I had ordered for our anniversary were in the unit waiting for us. I do like the staff at Club Orient, they get everything done right and on time!

There was a Christmas day buffet and dancing that night which was a nice touch. Met up with Mac, Tessa, Nick and Jenn (his girlfriend). We also met up with Nancy and Paul with their young adult daughters. It was really nice to be with families on Christmas day.

December 26 - Boxing Day        Back to Top

Stores all still closed for the day but some other restaurants would be open. Wandered over to Orientique and bought some things for breakfast and then walked the beach. Finished up around 10:00 am. Spent some time checking in with Andy at Bay Watch on the return. Did not think he would be open due to the holiday.

Even with all the pre-arranged stuff on the phone, it did not work when we arrived, so I walked to front desk and ECC arranged to send a person over to the resort to re-program the phone (again). That happened shortly before noon. Problem was that it did not stay programmed, the fix they did at the office got unfixed and we were again without a phone the next day. 

Met up with Ruthie and Paul and Opal and Doug for both happy hour. then we wandered over to Bay Watch and got re-connected to Andy and Cheryl and Adrian. Walked the beach again in the afternoon at sunset. Saw Tina and Mike at Kontiki and they had gotten into the Orient Beach swing of things very quickly. <LOL> They had spent the entire day on the beach by Papagayos and looked for us up and down the beach twice but could not find us. They walked with us down to Mt. Vernon and said that walking nude had been a great addition to their enjoyment of the beach. They had expected to find skinny dipping great, but the walks on the beach had added a whole new level of freedom and relaxation to the trip. They were only there for a long weekend so would be leaving in a few days. We never saw them again except walking early in the morning a day later.

Had dinner with Nancy and Paul and their daughters.

December 27 -         Back to Top

Woke up at 6:30 and had a delightful walk on the beach. Took some very nice photos of Regina on the beach. Saw a couple of people doing their morning meditations by Coco and Mac was up early doing a very graceful Tai Chi set out on the sand in front of the Beach Chalets.


After returning from our walk we wanted to finish up the things we bought for breakfast before the move, so we ate in. Then we packed up our things and moved via a golf cart over to our new mini-suite. Had snacks and bread wine and cheese on the beach for lunch.

Called ECC from the front desk and had them re-fix the computer stuff so our phone was registered, (for the second time), and then called the kids to see how they were doing.

Ate dinner at Papagayos with Doug and Opal and Brian and Eileen.  

It poured and poured and poured during dinner. When we returned to our unit the power was out and security and maintenance could not get it fixed. So we went to bed by candlelight. It was very romantic!

December 28  -         Back to Top

We woke up to no electricity and no way to make Coffee! Emergency measures had to be taken! So we left word with security that we still had no power and then stopped at Bay Watch for emergency rations of java. After a fill-up of coffee in the travel mug to go, we were ready for a power-walk down to Mt. Vernon and back.

When we returned there was a note to stop by security. The could not fix the electricity, so we had to be moved over to a deluxe mini-suite. It was a nice trade up especially as it got us away from the noise of the generator and desalination plant.

Christmas Winds were bad this trip. Winds coming straight in from the north and blowing the sand into everything. We began going back to the unit for small breaks from the wind and were very happy that our new place was a few steps closer to the beach. The winds got so bad at points that we stopped taking our beach bags to the beach as they only filled up with sand.

While we were moving in a little crab decided to move in with us. LOL

King Size bed!

Went back to the beach after the move and had a late, late lunch at Baywatch. Regina had the sea scallops and I had the Philly Steak. couple of caribs later and another walk on the beach in the afternoon. When we went back to our unit from the walk we saw Graham and Beverly and a few other folk gathered outside with Pam and Wayne and Milt and Michelle. So we talked and shared some snacks well into the evening. After all that snacking we just tumbled into bed

December 29  -         Back to Top

Not many notes for today...  just noted that we got up way late for us, something to do with the late night snacking and drinking the night before. Split a plate of ribs in the late afternoon at Bay Watch. Ate dinner with Philly n Bill at Papagayos. The food was nothing to write home about as I wrote in my journal that it was dry and over cooked.

December 30  -Party Day at Baywatch         Back to Top

Had an early breakfast of fresh croissants and a delicious granola that came from France. 

Walked the beach early in the morning. The Christmas winds were BRUTAL. Still coming from the north. Met Kevin and Suzie on the return part of the walk along with Philly n Bill. Then we walked by Milt and Michelle who came down to the beach for a moment to check out the wind. Introduced the two detectives to each other and then walked back with Milt and Michelle to their town house unit at LeHoste. It was very nice. They then packed up their stuff and went over to Friars and Happy Bay for the day.

We went  to Papagayos before lunch for our two free drinks from Ed and Jim. Regina tried a ChiChi and I had a St. James Rum. Then we wandered back to our unit to have lunch. Ate some of our deli meats we brought in from our deli back here in the states.

While Regina went back to the beach in the afternoon the sun was too hot for me so I stayed back at the unit and did some catching up in my journal and reading. I also went for a long walk to Le Galion for picture taking and exercise. Discovered the back way through the wall by water sports to the old road that went over to the destroyed Le Galion hotel. The surf was pounding the coral reef hard on the left and even the very protected bay had some wave action in it.

The ocean side of Le Galion point.

The road from Club Orient over toward Le Galion bay.

Part of the ruins of the resort on Le Galion


Noticed a group of the Club Orient teenage residents all over there getting out of the wind. They had gone all the way to the point where it wrapped into a hook, well away from the families playing on the main part of Le Galion beach. There they frolicked in the water and played frisbe while the girls all watched the hot French guys wind surfing out on the bay. It was interesting to note that among themselves with none of the "rents" around this group of young adults all were quite comfortable nude with each other. When they came back to Club Orient they almost always covered up with a wrap or bottom or full suit.

On the way back I took video of the waves, some day I'll figure out how to imbed a video into these reports so you can see the sights for yourselves. It was awesome watching the wind and the waves.

I walked back out vie the very point closest to Green Cay. The purpose of this part of the hike was to scope out the reef out there on the end of the point and see if there was a convenient place to put in the water for snorkeling. I did get some nice shots of Orient Bay and the back side of Green Cay.  

Le Galion Bay

Some people enjoying the main beach at Le Galion

The road looking back towards Club Orient wall from le Galion beach.

The Tiko Tiko on anchor in Orient Bay

Back side of Green Cay from Orient Point. Boat wreck and old lighthouse are visible.

After I returned from our walk it was time to get ready for the wine and cheese party as well as our party over at Bay Watch. After Regina got dressed up in one of her Rima outfits we had Philly n Bill stop by for drinks. 2 vodka tonics each quickly brought Regina to saying that we were not going to get like we did the prior evening so we began to pace ourselves. Eventually we wandered over to Kev and Suzies, then over to the wine and cheese party at Papagayos. Talked with Eddie and Manu about trying to get permission again for a party at Papagayos again, but they said that they had gotten complaints the previous year that it had just gotten too big and that we brought in too many people from off the resort. Eddie then mentioned that he thought that the resort was shooting itself in the foot because he noticed that about 1/2 of the people who attended the party the year before all were staying at the resort this year. We also talked about the resort hosting weddings and marriage vow renewals. Something they might want the Naked Padre for <LOL>.

We then wandered over to Bay Watch for this year's party. Bob and Marla did a great job organizing this one with us. They brought mardi gras beads, island decorations and I took care of the name tags and organizing with Andy. We also had Wayne doing promotion up and down the beach and that was a good thing. Over 75 people came and the place was hopping.

Andy and Adrian decided that it was just too windy to proceed without some protection, so they had worked most of the afternoon rigging up a tarp that protected the entire bay side and wrapped around both ends of the front of Bay Watch. Boy did we need it. They also had scrounged the wood decking from a beach bar down the beach that had burnt down and filled in a new deck around the bar. . Final touch was some new speakers up on each of the corners. They had been busy!

Great food, Andy's special lasagna was to die for. So was the fisherman's platter and grouper burger I shared with folk.

Highlight of this night was that we had convinced about 2 dozen Club Orient regulars to come on down for dinner and dancing. Many of them had been walking past Bay Watch  for years and never stopped. After tonight it has become the home away from home for many of the Club O guests, especially when they found out that nudity was okay and that the food was out of this world!

Bob and Marla brought us a nice bottle of "Island Merow" that they had gotten some special labels at a winery near their home.

All in all it was a great day to be in SXM

December 31  -  New Year's Eve at Papagayos         Back to Top

Not much in my notes for the early part of the day. We did walk the beach early in the morning. Mooched some coffee from Andy and learned that he had served 89 meals the previous night so he was happy.

Regina and I had been disappointed with the meal the previous New Year's at Papagayos so this year we decided to host a dinner party at our unit and then go over for the entertainment and dancing later. We brought with us some special steaks from our butcher back home, Suzie brought a pork loin. We ventured out to a market in the French Quarter to fill in the menu with veggies and salad. Philly n Bill brought a dish she prepared over at their time share and Suzie and Marla provided snacks, cheese and crackers. Top it off with the Island Merot and other wines and it was a feast.

We set-up our table from inside our unit outside, borrowed two other picnic tables and invited the neighbors Rich and Sandy to join us. We had a blast!

Getting ready for the party

Some of the happy folk after the feast!

Then we ventured over to Papagayos for the dancing and fireworks. Regina wore her lace pareo set from Caribbean Wraps. I wore a mesh pair of shorts and tuxedo tie and cuffs.

We got there too late for the entertainment. This was the last year for the carnival dancers to appear. We were sorry we missed them. We waited till they cleared out the tables for the buffet and then occupied about 4 tables with all our friends. What a blast we had dancing and enjoying the evening. A highlight at the end was that Regina borrowed Gherta's feather boa and wig and went over to say hello to Suzie who did not even recognize her with the new do! <LOL>

Fireworks were beautiful. Small camera I brought with me did not do pictures in the dark well, so I only took a couple shots. Had to help a few people, names not mentioned home to their unit next door. Motor impairment was a major issue for lots. Glad we did not have to drive any place tonight!

January 1  -Happy New Year's Day         Back to Top

It was a late rise... Ate breakfast at our unit and then both of us walked over to Le Galion.

Stopped by Orientique for croissants on our return from the walk as they opened late on New Year's day. Every one was moving a bit slower today for some reason <LOL> Had late coffee and croissants on the beach watching the winds beat upon the water. Don't know if have ever seen the Christmas Winds be so strong in all of our trips.

Met Inez and Chuck for lunch at Papagayos and took most of our meals back to the unit because of the late snack on the beach.

Walked the beach again at 4:00 with Kevin and Suzie. Regina walked in her new WW white lace thong as it was a family day on the beach. She got lots of complements from folks about the way it looked on her.

Came back and cleaned up for happy hour at Papagayos. Regina wore her special beaded dress that everyone loves. Even got Philly to try it on and Bill just went "wow". Gave her specific directions on where to find one on Front Street the next day <LOL> We filled up the entire porch with our "gang". While the rest of them ate at Papagayos, Regina and I were due to move to our Time share soon so we went back to our room ate some left overs and then wandered back to Papagayos for dancing and drinks.

That night we had a great conversation about cover-ups and especially what we men should wear walking on the beach. This was the night that Bill uttered he now famous words... "You ain't never going to see me walking in some stinkin skirt" 

You ain't gonna see me walking in no stinkin skirt

After partying at Papagayos we wandered back to Kevin and Suzie's unit and stayed drinking and talking until way too late! The next day we heard from our other Club O friends that if we ever have another party like that and don't invite them boy will we hear about it! Even Dexter and Alice heard our group :ROFL:

January 2  -         Back to Top

Woke before dawn and walked in a small shower at sunrise. What a beautiful day! Rainbow at the end of the beach and clean sand with small birds running along the surf line.

Don't have anything in my notes other than we ate in all meals to clean out the fridge and crashed early after two nights in a row of partying way too hard. The photo opportunities that morning were spectacular but the ongoing difficulties with the camera finally began taking its toll. I could take photos but not see any results. Some times the camera would zoom and some times it would jam. Did try to get a photo with Regina at the foot of the rainbow. It is there if you look carefully!

Said farewell to both Bob and Marla and Pam and Wayne today as they had to head back home for work

January 3  - Moving Day to The Sapphire        Back to Top

Woke early, took our last walk at sunrise on Orient Beach and then ate croissants, yogurt and granola watching the egrets combing the grounds for their breakfast. After a couple of phone calls we determined that we would be allowed an early check in at the Sapphire so we packed up and journeyed over.

Check in was so smooth. We got a beautiful deluxe studio on the Ocean side in building 1. They did promise to show us our 2 bedroom unit we purchased in the other building later on in the week when the folks in it had moved out. We love staying at the Sapphire for a number of reasons. Great location next to Cupecoy, which we can walk to. Near to several other French side beaches like Baie Rouge, where we frequently go when the Christmas Winds get too bad on Orient. Full size kitchen, full bathroom with marble everywhere! King size beds. And last but certainly not least, the Jacuzzi on the balcony facing the Caribbean Sea. It can not get much better than that.  We purchased at the Sapphire on the recommendations of Larry and Janice and we are so glad we did.  See our full description of the Sapphire here.

We had bread, meats and cheese on the balcony for a snack. Then we walked over to Cupecoy to check out the lay of the land for our beach day the next day. Finally at sunset we poured ourselves a glass of wine, snuggled in the Jacuzzi for a while, watched as the cruise ships sailed off to St. Kitts and then crashed for the night.

January 3  - A Day At Cupecoy        Back to Top

Woke early to watch the cruise ships coming around the island making their way to Great Bay. Ate breakfast in, yogurt and granola. Then walked over to Cupecoy the the second cove close to Ocean Club. It was a day from heaven! Played in the water and explored the caves. WE had packed a small cooler with some Caribs, meats and cheeses, a couple slushy vodka and Splash drinks, so we were set for the entire day.. Highlights of the day other than the playful times in the water was watching the Coast Guard cutter off the other parts of Cupecoy doing maneuvers and a couple who came to Cupecoy and enjoyed their first day of nudity on a beach. Another highlight was watching another couple come down to the beach. He got nude and she just ignored him. Eventually they went for a walk down the beach together and disappeared into one of the caves. When they reappeared she walked back to the towel near to us and laid down. All was calm until she began to put on some sun tan lotion when she realized that after what ever they had done over in that cave she had put her thong back on backwards. She looked around and just shrugged her shoulders and popped the whole suit off laughing at herself the entire time.  

Walked home around 3 and took a short nap and then met Larry and Janice for dinner at the Sapphire restaurant. Crashed early after making plans to meet them at Baie Rouge on the 5th as we were going shopping for Regina's dress the next day in Marigot and Philipsburg..

"Thong" couple from the story is off in the distance.

Watched the Coast Guard do maneuvers out off Cupecoy all day too!

 January 5  - Shopping Day         Back to Top

We hit every store on Ed and Sandra's list plus a couple on our own. Turns out that the outfit we both fell in love with was at the Happy House. When Regina tried it on, a couple of ladies from England were in the store at the same time and they oood and ahhd about that dress and just made her buy it. Turns out we are so glad they insisted, because we found nothing better after 8 more hours of shopping. We did not get any jewelry this trip and we also stopped into Rima and cleaned out the store with gifts for the kids and friends.

We ate a very late meal on our way back from shopping, nothing memorable or I would have written it down. After our return we re-hydrated as we had not packed enough water and then I took a quick tour of the unit we had purchased over in building 2.


Regina modeled some of the things we bought and then after a glass of wine in the Jacuzzi we called it a day.


January 5  - Baie Rouge Day         Back to Top

Went to Baie Rouge and met not just Larry and Janice but the whole gang. Turns out that the winds were so bad on Orient that Kevin and Suzie had run into Larry and Janice the day before and when they found out that we were planning on Baie Rouge, they all decided it sounded like a good idea.

I had purchased a waterproof disposable camera for this trip and had taken a number of photos over on Orient on the reef. I wanted to do the same on Baie Rouge, especially with swimming through the Devils cave and the small little private beach on the other side. We did all that, I took lots of pictures but then disaster struck, I went too deep in the water chasing some fish and the camera compartment flooded, ruining all of the pictures. That taught me never to do that again!

Just have a few photos from another camera I brought with me that day... Weather came a bit cloudy at the end of the day, so we all bailed and made arrangements to have dinner at Le Repaire de Pirate a couple of nights later in Grand Case.


 January 5  - Hike at Pic Paradis and L'otterie Farm         Back to Top

We had a late start and decided to stop at Zee Best in Marigot for breakfast. Oh what punishment we did to our diets and waist lines. Kevin and Suzie were there too and together we decimated the croissants as well as polishing off a couple pieces of Quiche and finishing off their fresh squeezed orange juice.

Then as they made their way back to Orient, we made our way up to take part in a guided day hike at L'otterie Farm.

It was quite a treat. We were guided by a biology student doing an internship at the Farm. We learned all sorts of things about the rain forest, about the history of Rum Jumbie and some more about the politics of protecting the environment. We were supposed to also take in lunch, but we were so stuffed by the breakfast that we decided to take a rain check.

January 7  - Orient Beach Day _ Poulet D"orleans and Bliss         Back to Top

 Spent the day at Club Orient after stopping at the Royal Cafe and Store and buying some croissants and quiche for breakfast and lunch. After the beach we cleaned up at the Club Orient showers and journeyed over to Poulet d'Orleans. What a feast! Each of our meals was delicious and the company was great. A few of us were not ready to call it a night, so we arranged to meet at Bliss and carry on the evening. It was Martini night, and women were drinking for 1/2 price or something like that. We had fun but most of us were so tired from a whole day at the beach that we could not wait for the real partying to begin at midnight when the crowd of beautiful people come in and begin to party.



January 8th  -  Next to the last Day         Back to Top

Breakfast in. Over to Orient before dawn, walked the beach and then spent one of the best Orient days that year just relaxing on the beach. Had early lunch at Baywatch with Butch n Kelly and then went home and made arrangements to meet folks at the Pirate. Oh what fun!



January 9th - Last day and trip Home      Back to Top

Spent a lovely morning on Cupecoy. Regina really enjoyed the playing in the waves and the sand again. We hated to say good by to our favorite island.

We shopped in the stores at the airport and Regina got her favorite calendar for work. We also brought home a couple bottles of Rum Jumbie, something that has become a tradition.

Trip home was through Philadelphia. We never will do that again! They did not have a gate when we landed and customs took forever. There were so many people on the plane heading back to Providence that they held the plane for us.