Most Excellent Halloween Week

SXM Trip report October 25 through November 1, 2004

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Getting Ready

This trip was a spur of the moment, lets take a quick get away kind of decision. Due to a number of circumstances between job and family obligations David had not been able to take a summer vacation. Events conspired to lead to 6 weeks without a day off and that was making a very tired and pretty cranky guy. With the threat of the US Air situation bankruptcy evaporating a bunch of FF miles we just decided to take a break. FF miles bought the tickets, points with RCI got us a deluxe studio at the Sapphire and Mickey from Tropical Tropicana Car rental was willing to give us a special repeat customer rate. So the vacation was set!

Prior to going we were invited to join the BareCats on a Celine Day Cruise around SXM. That was great because we had been given the task to arrange a day sail for our group of friends in January, this gave us an excuse to check him out! We also emailed Craig Roberts at Pack Light for chairs and umbrella and arranged with Sharon for a sim chip for our quad band cell phone. We got the email from her giving us a number which we gave out to the office, the folks back home etc. David printed up business cards with the number. Regina made other preparations like freezing up some meats and cheeses for our carry on, buying coffee singles.

We also planned for two parties while we were there. The first was the TTOL gathering at Bay Watch with Andy and Cheryl. After promoting the party on TTOL and Orientbeach.Com we had 65+ folks signed up. It was going to be a PARTY!

The second was the famous Halloween party at Papagayos. We had heard that this was THE EVENT of the year at Club Orient so we prepared as best we could. David researched some costumes and corresponded with some folks who had previous experience with the party. It was difficult to get Regina excited about it at first, but when David found the costumes at there was a sparkle in her eye and some anticipation on showing off her new outfit, especially the head dress! (If you look on the site you may find us there <LOL>)

Bags packed. It was off to Providence TF Green Airport at 4:00 in the morning for our early morning flight.

 There and Back Again    Back to Top

Flights were on US Air from Providence to Charlotte and then onto Princess Juliana Airport in SXM. This year was the first year we made all our connections in Charlotte instead of Philadelphia. What a difference. It was painless in both directions! We had good flights, good seats, easy connections, good crews and pleasant seat mates.

On our way there we sat next to Shirley Robertson, a woman who helps to organize the Heineken Regatta. She lives on the island most of the year. She was traveling with her son, daughter in law and grandchild. The little one was so cute and for an almost 2 year old, very well behaved. He slept in most of the trip down. They were there to visit and celebrate her son's 40th birthday. Shirley's daughter runs a Card Shop in Simpson's Bay. near the Rancho Steak House. We stopped by there later in the week and they had some wonderful cards that we have not found elsewhere on the island.

On the way back we sat next to a young lady named Amy from Toronto. She had visited for just the long weekend and was making plans for her return as soon as she could. Our flight was a bit delayed in arriving in SXM, so we were supposed to be delayed getting into Charlotte. The folks at the counter had already given Amy a voucher to stay over in Charlotte because they thought she was going to miss her connecting flight. That had her quite worried. Things turned out all right though, we caught a good tail wind home and arrived in Charlotte right on time. The US Air Representative whisked her through immigration and customs and escorted her personally to her connecting flight.

Where We Stayed - The Sapphire    Back to Top

This was our second trip to stay at The Sapphire. We purchased our unit on the secondary market from a Classified add on TTOL. For any one considering purchasing a Timeshare on SXM buying on the re-sale or secondary market is the route I would highly recommend. You can purchase a unit for a fraction of the cost of buying directly from the resort. We selected the Sapphire for 3 reasons. First it has survived all the hurricanes of the last 10 years without major damage. Second it is within walking distance to Cupecoy. Last but not least, those Jacuzzis on the balcony looking at the Caribbean just make for a nice way to end a perfect day in paradise. The marble bathrooms, granite countertops, ample space all contributed to our decision as well.

We think we got a great deal. For the price of staying 5 days at Club Orient, we got a 99 year deeded 1 1/2 bedroom sleep six unit at the Sapphire. Upon purchase we converted the unit to the RCI points system and with that as our home resort we now get preferred booking using the points from all the other units we own around the country. Since we rarely need anything bigger than  a studio for the two of us, our larger units convert to more nights of stay using the points. An example is the week in our normal unit converted into 9-10 days worth of stay at the smaller deluxe studio across the hall. Our four weeks of timeshares in RCI equal 6 weeks of stay using the points. An additional bonus is that with points you do not need check in on a Saturday or Sunday, but can do it by the night. Since we travel mid-week in order to save $ on air fare, with points our accommodations now match with our travel schedules.

Our unit this trip was a deluxe studio with Ocean view in the third tower (the newest). We love the marble floors and view from the balcony, and especially the Jacuzzi overlooking the Caribbean sunsets. This trip we were able to walk right out onto the beach in front of the Sapphire and walk in both directions quite a distance. No need to walk over to the other coves on Cupecoy for some beach time. We enjoyed the beach the way we always do down there and felt very comfortable in doing so. Thanks to Barry and Sharon for letting us know that it was possible to do so.

The Sapphire On Cupecoy

The main entrance.

The Pool and restaurant from our room

Deluxe Studio bedroom

Kitchen in our 1 1/2 bedroom unit

Bathroom with marble everywhere

View from the balcony

Jacuzzi overlooking the Caribbean

Can it get any better than this?

The beach wall at the Sapphire


Our Transportation    Back to Top

Mickey from Tropical Tropicana Car Rental met us at the airport right on time. When we greeted him he said "Can you folks do me a favor? I have a funeral to go to back over in Marigot and need to leave from here to get there on time. Can you drive your car and the van over to the office for me?" No Problem man, but Regina then realized that she would have to drive on SXM for the first time in all of our trips! We got there with both cars and filled out our paperwork with the lovely Shakira while Junior went through our car with a fine tooth comb cleaning it all up We had a new car this trip. How many rental places do you know that would give you not 1 but 2 cars at the airport with no paperwork and just give you the keys? We love Mickey and his staff! One year we left one of our camera bags in the car when we were leaving. A quick call to Junior at the office had Mickey on his way back to the airport with our bag in hand. If you want to check out his web page:

Mickey's Tropical Tropicana

First Afternoon

After our arrival we went to the Royal Palm to meet up with Sharon  ( to hook-up our phone. She was still under the weather having been in the hospital so Michael was the one who arranged to meet us at The Sapphire to give us our sim. He met us there and we encountered our first snafu of the trip. They had already given out the sim card with the number we had been emailed to somebody else! Michael was apologetic and did arrange to put more time on the phone in compensation for our now having to call the office, the hospital and the kids back home and give them all a new number. I told Michael that he might want to give the person he had given our number to a phone call and give them a heads up that a very busy Pastor had given that number out to three hospitals, a funeral director and several others back home in case he needed to be contacted in an emergency. The funny part of it is that we learned the next day that Doug and Julie got that phone number! Small world <LOL>

We went food and wine shopping down at the Citrus Market. We bought some nice cheeses, gourmet quiche, breads and juice. The food was great but the prices were certainly higher than many of the other smaller markets we shop at. While shopping at Citrus, Craig from Pack Light met up with us and we picked up our chairs and umbrella for the week. $25.00 for the week. The chairs are certainly more comfortable than the Expressit chairs that we usually pack and it was certainly easier than carting around our huge duffle bag with chairs, umbrella and other beach stuff.

The first night we arrived we met Barry and Sharon for drinks and to become acquainted. It was like meeting old friends! We talked and talked for what seemed like hours. We made plans to walk Orient beach with them the next morning at sunrise... After meeting some other friends of Regina's from work back home... small world again! We went back to our unit and ate our meal from Citrus and then went to bed..

October 26         Back to Top

It was a beautiful morning. We woke up early and spent some time out on our deck watching the early dawn.

We walked the beach with Barry and Sharon. Then we went to Baywatch and had our first breakfast on the beach. Ahh we're back in Paradise!

During the day we met some of the BareCats with whom we were going to be spending the day with on the Celine the next day. That was when we found out that Doug had gotten the phone call from Michael telling him that he might be getting some calls from people looking for some minister. We met up with several friends that we see at Club Orient every trip. Gerry from Rhode Island, Frank and Wendy from New York. Terri from New England threw her sandals at us while walking down the stairs at the Sapphire. We had met Terri at the Eastern Naturist Gathering when we all spoke on the same panel discussion about the naturist beaches of St. Martin. Of course we met up with Andy and Cheryl and Adrian and Ross. Cheryl said that we could stop promoting the party at this point! <LOL>.


We also spent some time with Luiz out in back of Pedros. We ordered some special hand painted pareos this trip so we had to go over a couple of times.  When we went to pick them up a couple of days later he also had a special thong he had made for Regina as a present. Luiz is one of the special people we have come to love on SXM. Regina stocks up on special hand painted half-pareos and sarongs and uses them all year as scarves. They remind her of sunny days and wonderful friends. If you haven't stopped by his little shack on Orient Beach you are missing one of the hidden treasures of the island. He makes custom bathing suits and they fit better than almost anything else you can buy. His web site is: Marlyndy Company - Luiz Gomes. You can email him at

We were supposed to stay at the beach for Happy Hour at Papagayos to meet all of the people we were going to be sailing with the next day but after happy hour with Willy at the Perch at noon and a whole day in the sun, we were ready to crash. We motored off to Grand Case and bought take out from Talk of the Town. Two Plates of food please! We brought them back to our unit and ate dinner on the deck while we watched the sun set over Saba. A short soak in the hot tub and then we crashed for the night.


October 27   - The Celine - The BareCats!        Back to Top

Back during the early fall we received an invitation from Sal and Susie from the BareCats to join them for a day sail on The Celine.  The BareCats is group who goes to SXM every year around Halloween and that is the time of year that the Tiko Tiko is usually still out on dry dock for maintenance. So they have arranged a clothing optional day sail with Neil Roebert and his crew on the Celine. The Celine has a mooring slip behind the Turtle Pier restaurant.

We gathered at the pier at 7:30. The BareCats of 2004 included: Sal & Suzie, Chris and Paul, Barry and Sharon, Doug and Julie, Connie and Stan, Hope and Lloyd. Don and Linda, David & Regina and Bob and Mitzi. Many of the group we were meeting for the first time. It was also Hope and Lloyd's first time doing a day sail like this. For the remaining members of the group it was reunion time and they were enjoying becoming reacquainted while we waited for Neil and the crew to load in the supplies and stow all our gear.

We motored across the lagoon, departed via the French side bridge and then onto Tintemarre for a delightful day of sun, conversation, snorkeling and of course the famous Tintemarre mud. This year we even convinced some of the textiles from the Golden Eagle II to doff their tops and join in the mud baths. Wish we could show you photos of all that fun!

A highlight of the day was the incredible meal put on by Johan, Neil's son. Johan studied in one of the top culinary arts schools in South Africa and came to work on the Celine with his dad for the season. We were the beneficiaries of that arrangement. Seafood, ribs, grilled chicken, salads, dessert. Great wine and wonderful company.

On the way home some of our group were able to take over the boat while the rest of us lounged and shared stories with Captain Neil and the crew. We stopped half way home at Happy Baie for a swim and more dessert. It was simply divine!

I can not say enough good things about our crew. Rachel and Johan were a delight and we had so much fun with them on the boat, on the island and especially on the trip back. Neil is a real professional with his boat and has a great sense of humor. I would recommend his boat and crew to anybody looking for a lovely day sail around the island. We have not yet tried a Pub crawl or Sunset Cruise, but you can be assured that they are both now on our list.



If you want to be in touch with Neil Roebert and book some time on the Celine you can email him at:

The web site for the Celine is: Sail Saint Maarten

October 28  - Beach Day     Back to Top

We spent that day on Orient Beach. Walked the beach a bit later than usual. On our way down the beach who should we meet up with but Nancy and Paul and Mike and Mary Pat, good good friends from our January time at Club Orient. They were having breakfast at the Naked Egg! It was so good to meet up with friends with whom we have become so close. They have been there every year we have and watched us in our journey from textiles to becoming Naturists. See a chronicle of some of that journey here: The Journey From Fear to C/O Freedom

On this walk down the beach we took a short tour of the building between Coco Beach and BooBooJams. It looks lovely! They are creating a beautiful beach bar with some dining space on the top level and a beach bar below.

Spent some time with Luiz. Shopped at Adam and Eve and Sexy Fruits. Ate seafood at Baywatch, Regina had the beer battered shrimp, I had scallops. Both were excellent. I got a Carib hat from Cheryl! We stayed at the beach until late in the afternoon and then went home and prepared for a party at Bob and Mitzi's penthouse at the Flamingo.

We toured the Flamingo looking for the place. When we finally found it we are so glad we did. Good conversations, good food. Took some pictures for some. I was having trouble with the auto-focus in the dark with my new Canon Rebel. Turns out that the night before I had changed it to manual focus to catch the moon and I forgot to change it back. Ahh the things we have to learn about new technology!.



October 29 - TTOL Party day at Baywatch        Back to the Top

Today is the day we had planned the party at Baywatch. We knew that we were going to spend the afternoon and evening at Orient so we spent the morning at the beach at the Sapphire. As I said before, you could walk on the sand from the Sapphire all the way past Cliffside and in the other direction almost to the first cove of Cupecoy. We had a delightful morning on the beach. Took some photos, swam a bit and enjoyed our beach.

Beach critter


First we went into Marigot and had a delightful brunch/breakfast at Zee Best. What a way to kill a diet. We polished off a whole basket of croissants while waiting for the Jeff de Bruges store to open. After breakfast we went to Rue de Charles deGaule only to find that Jeff de Bruges was closed for some very obscure reason that was explained in French that was beyond my ability to translate. What a disappointment! We toured the East Indies Mall and then traveled over to Philipsburg and did some of our Christmas shopping at the Rima outlet.

After our shopping it was time to venture over to Orient for the party at Baywatch.

We parked at Club O and met Martin Brink on his way out. We renewed our friendship and he told us that he was on his way to Brazil to explore the BrazilNat Naturist resort that his father Brink had been working on about 7 years ago. We wished him luck and then made our way over to Andy and Cheryl's.

What a party! We had 65 people there easily. The food was incredible. The people were too! We met up with Gunny and Gail, Big Mike, Ann and Dave, Emily and Bob celebrated their anniversary with us. Mac and Bev, the whole Barecat crew with friends and some who we did not know. The list of all who attended is too long to post here but I know that all had a great time! We danced the Hokey Pokey and sang with the Village People. Just when you thought it could not be any better, it did. The full moon came up over Orient Bay and it was a Harvest Moon. I took a picture of it, but without a tripod I could not do it justice.

A memory that will last a life time is when Bev lost her top. We danced naked under the moon and partied until the music stopped!

None of this would have been possible without all the work that Cheryl and Andy did behind the scenes. At the last minute Andy was able to hire somebody to come set-up the music. We had the full staff of Baywatch there to serve and make everyone feel at home. Thank you everyone! You are the Best!

Paul and MaryAnn M. - Joni and Chuck G.

Gunny and Gail

Regina with Bob P

Petek and Mitzi

Connie with Julie and Doug

Connie and Stan

Bev and Mitch

Happy Girls

Moon over the Bay

Cheryl and Andy

Tom and Sue

Dancing under the moon

More moons over Orient

Cheryl with Ross


We will be certain to have this kind of party again! 

Thank You Cheryl and Andy for making this such a fun night!

October 30  -  Beach Day        Back to Top

A very late start for our day and that meant getting stuck in traffic on our way to Orient. We had a funny thing happen on our way to Orient Beach this morning. On our way from Marigot to Grand Case we started seeing many, many dump trucks fully loaded with gravel. Regina remarked that we were very glad they were going the other way on those hills because so many of those trucks were underpowered for the loads. Then she said... boy I hope that they check their brakes. No sooner than she had said that then we came upon an accident scene of a full dump truck that had run off the road with failed brakes at the turn going into Columbier. It took them forever to clean it up!

 It was a great day at the beach. Now that we had met so many people at the party the night before, Regina and I just visited and got to know people up and down the beach all day. We made happy hour at noon at the Perch and 5:30 at Papagayos  Whew that is hard work! LOL...

We had a long discussion today about the No Outside Guests after 6:30 sign at Papagayos with some long term visitors to Club Orient. Some had never seen the sign before and were taken quite by surprise. One couple took it on themselves to try to track down if it was being enforced and why. After some discussions with Carlos at the Bar and Willy at the Perch and two of the long-term security guards about it here is what they found.

The sign was put up after some local residents of the island started coming over to Club Orient for dinner on a regular basis. Some of them would get nude, most would not. They started making the guests of the resort feel uncomfortable because it felt like they ( the guests) were the entertainment for the evening for the residents of the island who came over to look. The sign was put up in order that those folks could be asked to leave. We were specifically told that they did not enforce the policy very often and that it was there to prevent "problems from outsiders, not for visitors like you". One of the security guards then made sure we understood by inviting us all to return to the Halloween Party the following night.

We also learned about the new policy on the Wine and Cheese party. It has been moved to Monday nights and they now issue "invitations" for paying guests at Club Orient and ask you to bring your invitation in order to attend. I hope that they reconsider that one, the wine and cheese party was a great way to introduce new folks to Club Orient and I have appreciated the ability to attend with new naturists with us, even when we are not staying at the resort in order to help them in their journey to freedom.

We also introduced ourselves to the couple who come to Orient every year and dress in matching thongs from Luiz. Here is their story. They like to exercise. Back home they run 5-10 miles every day. So they walk the beach back and forth the entire length at least 3 times a day to get in their miles. Since they do not want to become somebody's home video of nudes on Orient, they have purchased many of these matching sets from Luiz and Venus swimwear and a Tan-thru vendor. That's what they told us at least.

Back to our unit for late meal by sunset and then some wine in the Jacuzzi... That was enough to finish a perfect St. Martin day.

Sunday Oct 31 - Halloween Party at Papagayos

We had a great day at Orient after the rain went away. It seemed to cloud up then clear several different times. Each time was just enough to empty the beach... then it would clear up. We said a fond farewell to Mindy and her husband and walked the beach twice.

This year we finally had the opportunity to meet Adrian's family over at Bay Watch. Adrian's mother brought his daughter over to the beach so we could meet her. What a cutie! We know just how much it has meant to Adrian to have his child back on the island. His sister was there too and it was a good time to meet them all.



After a late lunch meal at Bay Watch, we spent some time with Andy and Cheryl and then went back to our car and picked up our costumes and headed over to Connie and Stan's unit for a Pre-Halloween dinner party.  We had ton's of food, I don't know why that always happens to pot-luck gatherings, but every one brings enough food to feed ten times as many people and every one wants to have a taste of it all. It was all so good! We brought two orders of Andy's ribs... they were yummy as usual.

We had about 20 people gather at Connie and Stan's. While we were starting to get ready, Carlos the bartender at Papagoyos arrives and asks for assistance in face painting him up for the evening. Julie came to the rescue with the paints and Regina did the honors.


We met Vickie and Paul for the first time as they came in with Doug and Julie. I give them a lot of credit. They had just gotten off the plane and here they were with a bunch of nakos they had never met and getting ready to party.


Our costumes from ShimmyShimmy were a big hit, but we did not win the grand prize, which is a week's stay at Club Orient anytime in calendar year 2005. We had a lots of fun dancing up a storm. The party at Papagayos was just a hoot. We had a blast, danced until David the DJ shut the music off. Some of the highlights of the evening were Mike and Gunny singing America. Meeting Emily and Bob and all their friends. Dancing with a good friend was very nice too. The parade of costumes was such fun. The Three Blind Mice were a great group and the honorable mention of the people with a checkered past as well as the person with the baby were so creative. I still liked the troupe from Margaritaville.

Connie & Stan

Dave and Ann

Juile the Ice Queen

Bev and Mitch


November 1 - The Trip Home        Back to Top

After such a fun night the weather on Monday was socked in, foggy, rainy and no sun for the first part of the day. That made saying good-bye to our favorite place a bit easier. Craig from Pack Light met me in the parking lot at The Sapphire in the morning and picked-up the chairs. We packed and then decided to take a quick trip to Zee Best in Simpson's Bay for breakfast. It was closed... We then back tracked to Ric's place for breakfast. We met the new owners and had the worst meal of our entire trip. We probably will not go back there again.

We stopped by Buccaneer Beach Bar, bought our kids some shirts, stopped at a store to buy our good friend Patricia some Rum Jumbie and then headed back to the Sapphire to check out.

After packing the car we took our last two Carib's down to the pool area at the Sapphire and had our farewell toast to the island. Chris and Paul met us there by chance and joined us for a bit.

Then it was off to the airport. Mickey was waiting for us at the curb, we did the paperwork and were off. We ran into so many people we knew from the beach at the airport. One person we did not expect to meet, but did, was Martin and his family as they were leaving to go to Brazil.


We had so much fun this trip. One week is never enough time for me to really relax. I finally started being relaxed enough to sleep on the beach on Friday and then it was time to go. We made some new great friends that will last a life time. I don't know if we will ever get back for another Halloween Party or BareCat trip with all of our new friends, but we certainly will remember this one for a long, long time.