January 2008 SXM Trip Report

SXM Trip report December 29, 2007  through January 14, 2008

For TravelTalkOnline


This report has been viewed

Hit Counter


Click the TTOL Logo to Go to TravelTalkOnline

Click on the SXM Logo to return to our SXM Page

Click Here to Return Home


December 29, 2007 - Travel Day

Up at 2:00 am. Maggie and Matt drove us into Boston in a light rain. We now knew that security did not open till 3:30 so we arrived just as it opened. At check in we asked if there was room on the 5:00 am flight instead of the 6:15. Very glad we did as the 6:15 flight was delayed by 45 minutes, which was our entire connection time in Charlotte. We ate a meal and purchased another at Quiznos for the flight down. Great salad and sub.

Arrived in SXM about 35 minutes late due to the late departure from Charlotte. We waited outside the new terminal where the Unity Car folks would meet us. They arrived shortly after ferrying another group to the lot and whisked us away very quickly over to their spot behind the bank on Simpson's Bay. Michael was very nice and greeted us like long lost friends. Even knew that Kevin and Suzie and Butch n Kelly were part of the Crazy 8's and told us that he was ready for us all <LOL> It was a clean car, transmission lock and full tank of gas, what a nice change!



The lot at Unity Car Rental

Michael showing us how the transmission lock works.


Check in at the Sapphire was just as smooth. Jeanine at the desk wished us a happy anniversary and welcomed us back home. Our room for the first week was 243, right over the pool. We thought initially that the balcony was a little too low and exposed  and that folks in the bar could see us if we used it nude, but after a test placement of a chair and towel while we went down to dinner found out that the angle was deceiving and all the folks sitting at the tables around the pool could see was the tops of our heads. So we used the balcony and Jacuzzi an-natural and really enjoyed the view of the ocean.

Regina went down to the store and bought the "essentials" wine, beer, cheese and crackers and we slipped into the Jacuzzi and had our annual toast of our arrival for vacation!


The Year of the Sunsets!

The sunset was spectacular so popped out of the Jacuzzi and set-up some shots. This was just the first night of many incredible sunsets...

Went down stairs for some of their yummy pizza and salad, checked out the situation with our balcony and then crashed for the evening

Only snag for the Sapphire our entire stay was there was no door on the safe. They said that they would come and fix it and did not. Finally got it fixed on Sunday night after making a bit of a fuss with the maintenance manager.

My new Motorola World Phone would not work with my French Amego simm that worked perfectly with my old one. No matter what I tried, so I plugged back my Cingular simm and roamed for a couple of days while waiting to talk with Adrian and see what I was doing wrong.

 Back to the Top

December 30, 2007 - Sunday and Dining at The Stone

Since we had not bought any real food, Regina slept in a bit while I captured some photos of the sunrise and then left for Orient around 8:00.

Good Morning Star Shine!

Pool below the balcony

Sunrise over the Rainbow

Sunrise over the Rainbow

full kitchen in our unit

living space at the Sapphire

living room at the Sapphire

Balcony with Jacuzzi

View from our balcony toward Saba


Bought our day passes at the desk and set-up some chairs, walked to BayWatch and greeted all our good friends. Adrian's smile, "You want a Chili Omelet?" is something I've been waiting for for a long time. Regina had the pepper and onion scramble and I had my omelet.

We then had a fast walk up to Mt. Vernon and found most of our friends on Club Orient Beach upon our return. I greeted Dennis at Papagayos and as previously arranged, we gathered a small group of owners and friends who were expecting us and set-up a worship service with communion by the rocks in front of Papagayos. That would be repeated each Sunday the next two weeks.

The rest of the morning was catching up with friends and enjoying the sun. Not much wind today and so we spent a good amount of time in the water as well. Both Regina and I had done some tanning at "the electric beach" to get a base this year and I was so glad I had, as I could stay out in the sun much longer than my normal amount of time. Will have to do that again next trip.

Talked with Rich and Sandy over a 1 1/2 mudslide lunch and then walked back to Baywatch to spend time with Cheryl and Regina went to work doing a consult and treatment on LilDeb's ankle. She had torn the Achilles tendon and not taken the time to get it repaired or off her feet long enough to let it heal, so Regina did her magic on the swelling and then promised to bring her special tape the next day to fix her up.

While Regina did the treatment, Adrian worked on my phone and even he could not get it to work. Suggested that I stop at the Amego store in Marigot and give it a try there. Met up with Deepti's sister and a few cousins all enjoying lunch at Baywatch. had a great chat and heard that Deepti's home had been broken into while her Grandparents were there and they had been terrorized by the culprits. They were moving from the home into their condo at the Rainbow that weekend. The crime is beginning to get to everyone on the island.

Drove back to the Sapphire, met up with David and Pam and their two children, Charlotte and Richard. Had drinks in their Penthouse in tower 1. What a beautiful layout and spread.

Then is was soak for a bit in the Jacuzzi, take some photos of the sunset and clean up for a night out with Johann at the Stone. I had the seafood special, tilapia, tuna, shrimp and scallops. Regina had seaweed salad and salmon and cream cheese fitters. Both of us had his delicious sautéed veggies and sweet potatoes. Placed a call into the kids and told them to just call my regular phone number until I stored out the problems with the phone.

It was a beautiful night out on the balcony. Regina crashed early and I sat out on the deck reading until the moon set. If we had been over at Club Orient this night would have been one that I would have swum to the raft and watched the Southern Cross peek over the horizon. By this time I was deeply regretting my decision not to bring my good tripod as the photo opportunities from our balcony were incredible...




Back to the Top

December 31, 2007    -  New Years Eve

Glorious Day at Orient Beach!

Arrived late after stopping in Marigot at the Dauphin Store to attempt to get my phone working. The young lady at the desk was next to useless. Could not get my simm to work in her phone or mine. Eventually she actually sent me across the courtyard to the TelCel office and told me to ask a gentleman over there to take a look. In between customers he tried a couple settings and then said that he could not figure it out either. We later discovered that none of the Dauphin/Amigo Simms would work with a Motorola Razr V3.

Shared mudslides with Rich and Sandy again at the Perch. Then we walked down to KokoMarina for lunch. It is owned by Mariana, daughter of the former owner of California. Delightful couple... Split a seafood salad with lobster and shrimp. Rich had a Flank Steak with pepper sauce. We all had some veggies and rice and topped it off with a couple bottles of wine.

Rich and Sandy

The Special Menu board and the friendly dog who greetd us at KokoMarina

View from insdie KokoMarina


Stayed on the beach till sunset. Cleaned up at security and then dressed for NYE and walked down. Met Tom and Janey as they came in and spent some time at their studio before going on over to Papagayos.

Sat with our friends Paul and Nancy, Rich and Sandy, Mike and Julie and Dennis, when he wasn't doing his "butterfly" job of flitting around and making certain everyone was having a good time.

The buffet was EXCELLENT! Roast pig, lamb, shrimp, crawfish. Great salads and appetizer course before. The dessert was a wonderful chocolate torte.

Had dancers for entertainment. The DJ was great, we danced until the fireworks and then danced some more after.

For the first time ever, Regina drove home after a party like this so I did not have to be the designated driver. That was nice too!

Back to the Top

January 1, 2008    -  New Years Day

Ate breakfast in our unit. Eggs, broccoli, tomato and cheese omelet. Then a quick drive over to Club Orient as there was no traffic any where.

Swam from Raft to Raft with the GPS to measure the distance and coords for Jim and Dennis.

As I promised guys:

Raft 1        N18 05.027 W63 00.869  (Closest to the Perch)

Raft 2        N18 04.992 W63 00.828  (Middle Raft)

Raft 3        N18 04.962 W63 00.789  (Closest to Papagayos)

It appeared that the distance from Raft to raft was about 300 feet give or take 25 feet one way or the other depending on the drift of the rafts on their anchor chains. That made the distance from 1 to 3 about 1 tenth of a mile. Swim them back and forth and you have about a quarter mile give or take a few feet.

I snorkeled around looking for the elusive Flying Gurnard for quite some time. I did not see any adult versions of those beautiful fish, but I did see some babies that were so quick that every time I tried to take a picture I just got sea grass.


We snacked at the beach as Baywatch was closed. had mudslides with Brian and Eileen, and Deb and Tom. It is so good to be able to catch up with good friends!

Drove back to the Sapphire, while Regina was cleaning up I went down and picked up an Italian salad and Pizza and brought it up to the room. We polished that off along with 2 bottles of wine and then soaked in the Jacuzzi to watch the sunset... What a sunset it was!

 Back to the Top

January 2, 2008

Up very early for me... read and watched the sunrise as the cruise ships came in from St. Thomas or St. Croix. Boy do I wish I had a tripod!


Ate breakfast in, eggs, hard meats, cheese and tea and juice.

Arrive early to the beach and walked it end to end in a little more than an hour. Later I walked again to go and talk with some of the vendors down the beach about nudity enforcement and so that morning I put in a bit over 6 miles. Never saw a single Gendarrme the entire day and neither had any of the staff at the various places I checked in at, Bikini, Coco, Waikiki, Pirate and Bay Watch. Looks like the Gendarmes have completely disappeared. Tried calling my contact in the French COM today and got his answering machine. We are supposed to meet before I go home. Hope it takes place.

Caribs at 11:30 with some snacks. Happy hour with Rich and Sandy and Deb and Tom while Regina did another treatment on Deb's ankle. Found out the Gilbert likes Club Soda and Whisky, so we bought him one and brought it over to the side where he was taking a break. Got to talking about goat ribs and he suggested a place called Enochs for that in Marigot near the market. he also invited us back to his home for the best homemade meal on the island. Will be taking him up on that offer next trip.

Wandered over to Bay Watch late for some ribs... Regina and I  tasted Ross's Bloody Mary drinks and boy were they good. Have to do that again!

Left the beach around 4:00. It took about 35 minutes to cross the island. Soaked in the Jacuzzi, watched the cruise ships and boats go by while David finished off another bottle of wine. Another salad and pizza for dinner. Still have not connected with Larry and Janice.   Later that night the Sapphire celebrated some one's anniversary with a fireworks display right around midnight. We had a front row seat with our balcony.

Back to the Top

January 3, 2008 - Happy Anniversary!

Since we were needing to be back by 2:00 for our massages, we planned a Cupecoy day for our anniversary.

Gorgeous sunrise again as I watched the cruise ships head into Great Bay. I saw at least 4 so that decided me against trying to go shopping in Philipsburg at all.


Ate breakfast in then we took a trip to the Lido for some good fresh veggies. Got caught at the bridge on our way back with several super yachts leaving. It was quite a sight! Stopped at the Health food store near the Rancho and bought some foods that we could not find at the other stores, plus some great fruits and organic dressings for our salads.

Made it back to our unit and wandered over to see Danny at Cupecoy. What a beautiful day! We were entertained by some Sand Pipers who kept coming up to our chairs for pieces of cracker. Swam and sunned, walked and watched the boats go by.  The sun was so hot that both Regina and I had to hide under the umbrella for a bit. I remember lifting a Carib more than once and both of us saying "It can not get much better than this!" Then it did! We shared a plate of ribs and rice and a couple of Caribs before we had to walk back to clean off the sand for our couples massage by Bianca in our room.

Touch of Healing Massage by Bianca, in your villa or your room is the way to go! Wow what a treat. She showed up right on time and treated Regina and I to one of the best massages I have ever had. You can reach her at 011 599 522 8144 from the States and 005995228144 when you are on the island. I emailed her at make_a_wish_come_true@yahoo.com, but she has intermittent access to email so you may just want to give her a call.It cost us $80/hour and we booked her for 2 full hours.

Regina went first and I meditated while waiting to some wonderful music she brought along. While I was being done, Regina waited for a while and then went down stairs to the Spa at the Sapphire and had her toes re-done for about $12. With her refreshed "bathing suit" Regina was now set for another week on Orient Beach <LOL> Then we just chilled out watching the sunset.


We had reservations for quite late at Peg Leg for our Anniversary dinner, so as we were mellowed out waiting, Butch n Kelly called from their place at the Summit. They brought over some beer and we finished off some wine and re-connected out on our deck.

All of us ventured over to Peg Leg together. Regina and I had melt in your mouth Filet Mignons. Scotch and wine. Butch had the Petit Filet and Kelly had a shrimp salad combo that was just delicious. Regina and Butch got to talking with Shawn about the Greenhouse and the Flying Dutchman after dinner coffee drink, so Shawn gave them a try... I am not certain he got it completely right, but they all agreed that it was tasty just the same. He gave the drink a new name just for the occasion, "Two F__king Idiots!"  <LOL> We called Jim and Bev from the restaurant and put Shawn on the phone so he could talk with our good friends who gave us this night out as such a special treat. Thanks Jim!

Captain Neil brought his boat into Peg Leg for the Pub Crawl, so we had a great time saying hello!

Shawn wishes us a Happy Anniversary

Back to the Top

January 4, 2008 - A Day At Cupecoy

Back to our more organic diet. We had stopped the day before at the Health Food Store in Simpson's Bay so we had breakfast of some organic granola, rice milk and some organic cheese with fruit. While we were sitting out on our deck we watched 4 cruise ships go by on their way into Phillipsburg. While Regina was reading and getting ready for the day, I went down to the fitness room and worked out. Boy does the Sapphire need to upgrade the equipment. Then while I was showering, Regina fixed up a nice salad for the beach for Kelly and we walked over and grabbed chairs with Danny for the 4 of us.

Fred and Leslie joined us and we had a great day on Cupecoy. A couple short rain showers late in the morning, cleared the humidity out of the air and the rest of the day it was just beautiful.

David, Pam, Charlotte joined us for their last morning at the beach before having to head back to the airport. Charlotte has been really hampered with a difficult abdominal injury and chronic pain for quite a while, so the gals went off to a more private part of the beach and Regina did a treatment and then consulted with Pam as to some of the treatment alternatives that she could search for back home.

We had ribs and rice for lunch, exhausting our supply of Caribs that we brought with us so we just had to order a few more from Danny.

Fred and I partnered up and we went for some extensive snorkeling along the whole of Cupecoy. First time I had snorkeled outside of the famous rock and all the way over to Cupecoy Beach Club. The wave action that day was extensive, so it was very cloudy but I was able to get some photos of the reefs and some fish along the way. I also took some photos of the beaches from the ocean. With the strong currents and wave action, that was much harder than it sounds.


We met Butch n Kelly at the Thai Savannah. Had Pad Thai, Satay Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken and Veggie Spring Rolls.


Tried our hand at the slots at the Atlantis Casino. Once we both had lost our allotment, we drove back to the Sapphire and both picked up our books we had been reading on the beach and finished them.

Back to the Top

January 5, 2008 - Moving Day

Breakfast in of our granola and fruit. Packed up our stuff and walked over to Cupecoy only to find 12-15 foot high roller breakers pounding the beach. The waves were so strong and high that there were danger flags on the ships off the point and the hard core surfer crowd was catching the waves and riding them into the Cupecoy Beach Club Beach and beyond. Met Butch n Kelly who gave us a lift back to the Sapphire as we returned to our room and waited there for word when we could do the move.

While I was taking a shower, Regina saw Larry and Janice having breakfast by the pool and so ran down to catch-up. I followed but missed her as she was coming up in one elevator as I was going down the in the other.

We got our call around 10:30 and were told that our room was ready over in tower 3. Room 334. Not as clear a view, but also not as exposed to the pool so we could use our balcony more naturally. While we were unpacking, I ordered a pizza and salad to go, plus bought a couple cold caribs and we ate our lunch out on the balcony and then went off to Philipsburg for shopping.

Stopped at Rima and got our annual stash of gifts for friends. Regina got 3 sun dresses. Then off to Front Street. Had Regina's rings re-sized and her pendant polished. We also had some preliminary conversations about getting Regina's mother's Aquamarine ring converted into a pendant. Deepti was not there, so we left to take a walk down Front Street for more shopping. One of Deepti's brothers ruined the surprise I had been working on for 6 months with Deepti by telling Regina when we walked in that her bracelet had not yet arrived... oh well. I was going to have to spill the beans some time or other any way. More on that in a couple of days when the bracelet did arrive.

Shopped up and down Front Street for the kids and for myself. I had wanted a good ETL Speedlite Electronic Flash for my Canon Digital SLR camera and was surprised that no one had them on any kind of sale. The prices were actually higher than I could get them from a pro camera store here in the states, even paying cash. Bought the kids some sliver chains and earrings for the girls. Special bag for Rachel and a cute summer outfit for Zachary.

We did have a blast going to the Yoda Guy Gallery. We met Nick Maley and his lovely wife Gloria at the gallery. We spent altogether too much of their time talking about the movies and about his art. Bought Matt some special things there.

His biography and cinematography history  can be found here at his Web site :     http://www.yodaguy.com/



On the way home we got stuck in bridge traffic, so we stopped at Toppers and had an early dinner. Regina had the Brisket Sandwich and David had the Black and Blue (Angus Beef with blue cheese).. We were home by 7:30 and Regina was asleep by 7:45. I sat out on the balcony and watched the moon rise over the ocean.

Back to the Top

January 6, 2008 - A Day At Club Orient

Ate breakfast in our room, packed up our stuff for Orient and also packed up some clothes for the evening as we had planned with Butch n Kelly to meet there and go out for dinner on the French side some place on the way home. We made it through Marigot before 8:00 am and on the beach to stake out chairs for Butch n Kelly, Larry n Janice, Kevin and Suzie and Rick and Deb. Once we had done that we went for our walk by 8:15.

Walked the beach and saw no gendarmes and very few others for that matter. Coco Beach was deserted.

When we returned to the beach we saw another couple who had staked out some chairs looking around for people they recognized. So we walked up and introduced ourselves. It turned out that it was Rick and Deb. They had saved chairs for Kevin and Suzie too, what a hoot. Eventually having that many chairs saved was a good thing because Fred and Leslie and Scottie and Carol also joined us. It was a great time to catch up with every one.

While some of that was going on, I wandered down and joined Paul D and the Church of the Naked Truth <LOL>, for a church service led by Paul. Later on that morning we gathered by Papagayos at 11:00 and did a communion service for the late rising crowd. Felt just like home with the early and late services.

Ate lunch at Bay Watch with Scottie and Carol. We had 2 Bloody Mary's each, Beer Battered Scallops for me. Caesar Scallops for Regina. Polished off a

 Carib bought for us by some one Regina had treated on the beach and then split a piece of cheese cake. Yum! All that for about $70.00.Scottie took the occasion to present Andy with a special apron bought for him last winter in Montreal.

Spent a wonderful afternoon on the beach. Regina did another treatment on Rich at his chair and in the water. It is amazing the progress we have seen in just a week and even more amazing that he was in a wheel chair just a few short weeks ago from his terrible accident. Rich and Sandy invited us back to their bungalow at Club Orient so I could check emails and then we packed up and drove over to Kevin and Suzie's at The Cottages to clean up for our night out at Gut Side. While I was checking emails, got a phone call from Deepti, the bracelet had arrived. When can we come in to size it?

Table for Ten please! Scottie and Carol, Butch n Kelly, Keve n Suz, Rick and Deb and David n Regina. I had the broiled Mahi Mahi, Regina had the stewed Chicken. Suzie had the shrimp again, as did Rick and Deb. I can not recall what the others had but all said that it was delicious. $50.00 for the two of us with our glasses of wine and the meals and the rum, can't beat that!

After dinner we did rum shots and talked late into the night with Richard and Lourdes. They tied the knot this year. 


Back to the Top

January 7, 2008 - Another Day at Club Orient

Brisket with eggs for Regina, left over pizza and hard boiled eggs for DHB. Packed the water and snacks and headed for Orient.

Don't think I have ever seen traffic so bad, so early in the morning. We got stuck at the bridge, stuck at the Marina, stuck going all the various back roads, it was just complete grid lock through the city both ways today. Double YUK!

It was a great day on Orient. Started making connections with folks for the Celine Cruise. Met Laura and Bill, friends of Randy and John, they want to come. Regina did another treatment on LilDeb's ankle and we asked her and Tom. They are in too. Don't know about Tom and Janey and Fred and Leslie's friends, but Carol and Scott have some friends they want to bring, so we may be full any way.

Went back to the Sapphire and got totally stuck in traffic again going through Marigot. By the time we got back to our unit I was totally fried, so we ditched our plans to go out for the evening, ordered a pizza and salad from down stairs and enjoyed a bottle of wine and snuggle in the hot tub and life was good again!

Back to the Top

January 8, 2008 - Bling - Bling!

Into Phillipsburg to meet with Deepti and pick up the much anticipated bracelet.

Let's start at the beginning. A couple years ago Regina had let me know that she really wanted a nice Peridot bracelet to wear. Peridot is her birth stone and her Dad had once given her a Peridot ring that she treasured for a long time. We had just lost her Dad during the summer so my mind got to work. I had Regina try a diamond tennis bracelet during our trip in July, so I knew what style she liked, we even tried several weights and sizes of stones, so I had a good idea of that as well. I contacted Deepti by email and fax and showed her photos I had taken the previous trip of the styles and set her free to create a bracelet that would meet her high standards. We were not disappointed!

Deepti took months trying to located 35 matching weight and color stones. Two sets of stones later, she finally had them mounted in a solitaire tennis bracelet style with gold prongs. In the course of obtaining the stones she had to go up a couple weights in size to get the color and brilliance that she was looking for. It was worth the upgrade for the effect.



As usual, Regina's wrist was too small, so Deepti had to take out 4 of the links to get the correct fit. We had planned that on the phone as well. Deepti and Regina designed up a pendant out of the links to go with a new necklace. Thus the ensemble was complete. Then we got to work in designing up Regina's mothers Aquamarine pendant. Deepti came to the rescue there too, with an elegant but simple designed setting matched with a two tone Omega necklace.

While we were there, Butch n Kelly came in, so we celebrated together with a couple glasses of champagne as the two girls went to town for Kelly. She fell in love with the Peridot bracelet and as it is her birth stone too, well something had to be done! The girls designed a pendant for Kelly along with some Peridot earrings that looked just gorgeous.

They were still waiting for one of their pieces to come back from the jeweler's workshop when we had to dash back to the Sapphire to meet Bianca for our second set of couple's massage at our unit. These massages were even better than the ones we had 5 days earlier. She knew just where to go...

While we just melted back into our bed for a nap, the sun started to set... It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in my life. So out came the camera while we enjoyed a glass of champagne in the Jacuzzi.


We had made arrangements to meet Neil at Uncle Harry's for dinner. I thought that meal was just so, so. Regina loved her beef, I had the shrimp. We called it an early night as we had our day sail on the Celine the next morning.

January 9th    Celine Day .             Back to the Top


Early start in order to be at the dock by 7:00. Actually got there lots earlier with no traffic for a Wednesday morning. As is our usual practice, we were the first to arrive, followed by Nikki, Neil's new hostess and first mate. I now see why Neil has raved about Nikki so much. She is a well acquainted with boats, having sailed quite a bit, she also knows her way around the galley and is not afraid of the work all the work that a boat entails. In addition she has a great sense of humor and wonderful smile, what more can you ask for in a first mate?


The others soon trickled in. Butch n Kelly, Fred n Leslie, Deb and Rick, Kev n Suzie, Scottie and Carol, Gary and Joanne, Tom and LilDeb and Bill and Laura. With us and Neil and Nikki it made for a total of 20 on the boat. We were in for a great day.


Left to right sitting:  Carol, Suzie, Regina with David kneeling behind) LilDeb, Joanne.  Standing: Butch, Rick, Bill (in back), Deb (with Tom in back), Laura standing in the far back, Leslie, Kevin, Kelly, Scottie, Gary and Fred.

Our breakfast was Croissants, (with some special ones purchased at the new bakery in the Royal Islander plaza, Cereal, yogurt, Fresh Fruit, Coffee, Juice. We were all so busy eating I don't think anyone bothered to take a photo of the spread. Those new croissants were especially delicious.

The morning on the ride out was a pleasant sail for all, (except Kelly, even her special seasickness pills from Captain Bill did not work all that well).  It was a bit chilly that morning so many did not exercise the clothing option till we got almost all the way to Tintemarre when the sun finally came up full force. That meant I could take a lot more photos and show folks enjoying the sail.


We had just too much fun on Tintemarre. Neil had confessed to Regina and I the night before that he was so busy in his dental lab practice that he had hired another captain to take some of his day charters. That captain was available on the day of our trip and volunteered to take it so that Neil could catch up in the lab. Neil said "No way I'm giving up that group" LOL  A testimony to just how much fun we were having, I did not get on the snorkel gear at all to get some photos. Back in July I snorkeled all the way around the point and was away from the beach for a little over an hour. This time we just soaked, enjoyed each other's company and did the mud before we headed back to the boat for out feast.

A few of the boats anchored off Tintemarre

Folks from the other boats enjoying the mud, but not completely LOL

Every person on the Eagle this year was given a snorkel vest to wear in the water. First time we have ever seen that.

Some came over to find out where the mud was and to ask questions about our Captain and the boat.

Another group from a bare boat out of Oyster Pond

Rinse off everybody!

Some happy sailors enjoying a soak


Neil outdid himself on the food this trip. Tilapia on the grill, 4 different kinds of salad, even stuff that Kelly could eat without feeling she was cheating. Ribs, paeillie, grilled mahi mahi, grilled sesame seed tuna, garlic bread. I was feeling quite happy from the sea breezes on the beach so did not take out the good camera for the photos, instead used the cam with the underwater housing on it. So forgive the foggy on the photos, they do not do the quality of the food very much justice.

Nikki at work on the grill


It was then back into the water for a swim and gather our things on the beach so we could head around to Happy Bay for the next stop. The trip over was a delightful sail. My favorite part of the trip. Regina got to sail the boat again and the others chatted on the net in the bow or took some naps till we arrived at Happy Bay. When we arrived at Happy Bay the dessert was distributed. A total Fruit platter delight! I can still taste that fresh pineapple and mango!

Nap time

Anothe one caught napping

Still nap time

Even Neil covers up with the sun at full strength some times

Nikki enjoying a moment off on deck

Captain Neil

Happy Bay beach calls

Leslie and Kelly catch up

Nikki checking if the gals needed something more to drink

It was delicious

Just leave the whole platter here Neil


After Happy Bay we headed back to Marigot Bridge. We made it for the 5:30 opening and did our sunset sail across the lagoon. Another delight of the trip. The sunset was spectacular and right in the middle of it a 737 took off right over our heads. This year I was ready with the camera as was Kelly and I think we got a few dramatic shots.

Kelly getting a picture of that great sunset

Bill and Laura enjoyung the view

Fred n Leslie enjoying the sun going down too

Joanne and her Titanic Moment

here comes the plane

Kelly took this one


After settling up at the pier we drove home as happy campers and slipped into the hot tub for a soak, glass of wine, snack and bed. What a wonderful day!


January 10th    Day At Club Orient         Back to the Top

We got a very early start to Orient. Arrived through Marigot with very little time but by the time we got to the other side of Marigot traffic going into the city was already backed up to the hill in Grand Case. This traffic is becoming crazy.

Hung out on the beach, thoroughly enjoyed the day. Had some great conversation with Tom and Janey in particular. I appreciate the offer folks, but it is out of our price range

Got in line at the perch with Eileen and Brian and had a fun 2 mud-slide lunch. Wow I am so glad that Willy is back!

Late afternoon meal at Baywatch. Beer battered scallops for me and Caesar Scallops for Regina.

Then it was back to the Sapphire for our evening glass of wine while soaking in the Jacuzzi and watch the sunset. Regina was feeling up to some photos, so out came the camera and I attempted to get some photos with her in the foreground and the beautiful sunset in the back ground. For the most part the art type photos I was trying to create was a total bust as I just needed that tripod that was left sitting on the bed back home. We added some foreground flash and that helped a bit, but next time I will bring the tripod!

We got dressed for dinner then off to the lobby to meet Larry and Janice. Drove down to Thai Savannah for dinner. They dropped us back at the Sapphire where we went and crashed while they drove into Maho and closed down Sopranos for the third night in a row.


January 11th    Phillipsburg and Orient             Back to the Top

Late start. We've been having just too much fun this trip! We drove into Phillipsburg and parked by the salt pond near Rima and walked into Front Street to pick up the two pendants and do our final shopping for the kids back home.

The re-set aquamarine pendant is incredible! Regina liked the look of it on an Omega necklace so much that she ordered a two tone, white gold, yellow gold Omega and had it shipped to the house.

While we were on Front Street that was the hugest funeral we have ever seen. Most of the city streets were shut down. Motorcades, dignitaries from all over the Caribbean and the funeral itself was televised to the crowd standing outside the Methodist Church as well as to others on the island. The person they were honoring was the founder of the Dutch side college, secondary school, former head of the government and well regarded by all, rich or poor alike. we had heard wonderful stories about him all week on the radio and personal testimonies from folks like Deepti. It was an impressive sight seeing all the island's government workers and students from his two schools come to pay him tribute.

Drove to Orient via the back road through Oyster Pond to avoid the motorcades. WE arrived around noon and went directly to Bay Watch for lunch I had the ribs and Regina had the eggplant parm.

Still trying to get Andy;s recipe for those ribs... Often immitated but never duplicated! Yum!

Regina raves about Andy;s sauces. This was especially good today.

Left the beach later than usual and got stuck at the bridge in Marigot. We were only two cars from the front of the line and so I got out to take a look at the boats coming in as I knew that Neil had a day charter that day. Sure enough along they came and I caught a couple pictures of  that group making their way to the lagoon and their sunset cruise. They were pretty mellowed out on the boat and Neil later said not half as much fun!

The sun started to set as we sat waiting for the bridge

They look pretty mellow, but not having as much fun as our crew LOL

Back at the Sapphire we caught a few minutes of the last rays of the sun on the balcony and tried some more art type photos... I was trying to get total silhouettes of Regina with the beautiful sunset behind her and her glasses of wine. Words can not say just how beautiful she looked, but the camera man just could not capture the magic. Maybe with a better lens and tripod. Certainly it was not for the lack of a beautiful subject. While most of these shots are blurred, they still capture part of the moment.


We changed and walked down to Carlos, the pizza place at the Atlantis Casino. We had thin crust pizza with some nice seasonings. Larry and Janice brought their boys there a few days previous and raved about the place. It was good, but not as good as the pizza at la California  We then went back to our unit and packed up as it was moving day the next day to go over to Club Orient.

The rest of our crew of friends had driven over to Happy Baie in the afternoon and were spending the late afternoon and evening at a special barbecue and party hosted by Gary and Jo and Scottie and Carol. Gary offered some financial backing to get the bush lurkers over at Happy Baie to set-up a concession. Gary was trying to show them that the naturist tourists would support their business and help them make a good living. All had a great time. Wish I had photos to share with you, maybe I will eventually get some from Gary or Scottie

January 12th    Moving Day to Club Orient .             Back to the Top

Out of the Sapphire by 7:45. Got caught by the bridge in Marigot but still over to Club Orient by 8:45. Checked right into Jim and Jan's unit (#16) one of our favorite studios. They had just left to return to Boston.

Bought a replacement phone for my simm from Adrian $50.00 It will take Telcel, Amego, and UTS chips. Set-up the voice mail and converted it to English so we are now good to go. Found out I missed the connection with the Assistant to Daniel Briggs for talking about the naturist and nude legal situation on Orient and other places on the French side. I knew that the phone situation was going to cause difficulties, but I am sorry I missed that meeting.

Brought back to our beach chairs 2 Bloody Mary's from Ross so Regina and I could have a mid-morning treat. Not planning on driving anyplace today. So I can finally relax and drink what I want on the beach

Regina worked a good portion of the morning. Our friends Fred and Joan from Wisconsin had a good friend that needed some scar treatment for adhesions from some major surgery. Mary Ellen and Eddie both were totally toast and Regina went to work on them as well.  Butch's knee was acting up from his surgery so she did some work on him as well. Can you tell she is ready for vacation to end.  Butch brought her another Bloody Mary from the Perch, (not as good as Ross's) so it was not all work.

Had a 1 mud slide lunch, then a late snack at Andy's Andy had one of his flank steak sandwiches left, so we got that and also a Philly Steak n Cheese sub. Then we split them up and enjoyed a few caribs. Life is good!.

Talked with Frank and Wendy on the way back for a long,long time,  till way past sunset. When we returned to our unit there was a wonderful bottle of wine from Eddie and Mary Ellen for he work Regina had done that morning. Our friends do take good care of us!

 Then we cleaned up and walked down to Papagayos for dinner. Regina had vegiterian lasagna and I had Prime Rib. Both were excellent. Haven't had a bad meal at Papagayos yet this year! Met the chaplain from St. E's in Boston and danced until about 10:00 when Regina wanted to go back to the unit and finally get to her book.

January 13th    Last Full Day              Back to the Top

We woke early and took a beautiful walk on the beach. No sight of the Gendarmes this entire trip, no matter what time of day we walked. I hope this is a good sign. The morning sun was just gorgeous so we took some great photos of both of us in the morning sun.

Sunrise on Orient


After the walk a group of us gathered down at Papagayos for sharing communion and worship. I ahve come to love this great group of Christian disciples (we called ourselves the Church of the Naked Truth)

When communion was over we walked back to the unit so I could get the materials for establishing a GeoCache at BayWatch. Called Andy's Cheeseburger in Paradise, it is now the most popular GeoCache in the Caribbean.  For more information about GeoCaching go here...http://www.geocaching.com/

Basically it is a game of hiding a container in a location and posting the clues and GPS coordinates up on the web site for others to try and find. We got the one approved for placement at BayWatch and Andy and his crew have been having a great time with folks from around the world coming to try and find it.

After a very relaxing afternoon Regina and Butch walked down to Bay Watch and picked up her bottle of Johnny Walker Blue. Then we took a few pictures of Garfield enjoying his stay at Club Orient for Regina's work.




Finally we cleaned up and traveled over to Sun Caribes and took a tour of Rick and Deb's studio. it was cosy, right by the pool and within walking distance of the beach. What more can you want? (I goofed up on my camera that night and all the pics came out so blurry due to my turning off auto focus for those art photos two previous evenings ago... Dumb!

After the tour we all met at La California for a wonderful dinner with a great group of friends. I did not write down what we all had, nor did any of us wait for me to take pictures of the food. All said it was good. We ended the night with too many rounds of rum cordials and my traditional Creme Broulee for dessert.


Inside of the Sun Caribes studio

Still the best Creme Broulee on the island

Tried to capture the beauty of the moon rise over Grand Case harbor and beach.


January 14th   Time to Go Home              Back to the Top

Took another early morning walk and then checked with the staff at the front desk. We could have a late check out, which is one of the reasons we love staying at Club Orient for our last couple nights. That and I finally can not wear anything for days at a time.

BayWatch was closed so we could not do our traditional Ribs to go last meal. Instead we had a couple mudslides and broke out a few bottles of champagne to share with all our wonderful friends on the beach.

Then it was time to clean up, pack up and take our flights home!

Home sweet home for Jim and Jan. Thanks for sharing it with us!

View at the airport

Bye SXM. See You Next Year!