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2 hours ago Thursday, Dec. 3 in the year of COVID-19 [by pat]
Another beautiful sunrise.....And the beginnings of what looks to be another beautiful day. Ah, paradise.

Breakfast at home and morning at the pool with lunch at home again. Are you getting the drift of our island time yet? But honestly, after all these years and trips and weeks spent in beautiful Sint Maarten, we really have no great desire to do it all anymore. Kinda’ like binderdundat enough times over the years so we can really relax and just enjoy at our turtle pace.

Can’t help but marvel at how the sky and surf changes almost hourly. This morning we felt things were a little hazy with big puffy clouds everywhere but all the near islands became much clearer about midday at around the same time a big Carnival cruise ship cruised in and then out of our area. And now it’s beautifully sunny and the waves are coming higher and higher and closer to our building. Swimmable for many but not this Grandma - I definitely know my limitations but I could sit here forever and just mentally embrace the sounds of the waves. And finally, coming home this evening it looks as though it may have rained lightly and briefly in our area judging by the new puddles every so often.

Remembering the traffic back-up last evening, we left early tonight to meet friends for dinner at Lee’s. No traffic and we were 40 minutes early but no troubles - it was more than worth the wait and we secured a perfect parking spot at Lee’s and that’s an accomplishment in itself. Grilled garlic butter basted lobsters amidst the presence of great people. Laughter and reminiscing of good times long past. I truly don’t think it could get any better ............

Ah, life is good.
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Yesterday at 09:25 PM AA actually called to notify us of slight departure time change [by IslandBoi]
we're used to AA making changes to our flight times, but usually we just get an email notifying us of the change, or sometimes all we get is a notification of the change in our phone's AA app...but yesterday we actually had a voicemail message left on our phone from a real person, just giving us a heads up our departure from SXM to MIA in january will be a little over an hour earlier than originally planned...i had already noticed the change in the AA app, and was surprised someone actually called us for the relatively minor change....that could be quite a lot of calls to quite a lot of people if they start doing this all the time wink
2 115 Read More
Yesterday at 06:40 PM Log into AA for a gift! [by Carol_Hill]
Got an email from AA, so logged in. Eric and I both got 100 bonus miles. Not much, but better than I have ever gotten from them before! grin

I need to log in again tomorrow, to see if this changed my expiration date, as I have some miles that are due to expire next year. There are different things I can do to make sure they don't expire, but if this works, then I won't have to worry about it. smile So far, it still shows my original date of expiration though.
13 427 Read More
Yesterday at 05:53 PM Flap over Carnival [by Carol_Hill]
Daily Herald link

One wonders at this point also if Heineken Regatta should proceed..
5 319 Read More
Yesterday at 04:07 PM Entering BVI with covid vaccine [by tpcook]
I expect to get a covid vaccine Jan-feb so now starting to think about going down to the villa but wondering how the regulations will be changed to allow a vaccinated person to enter without hoops.
Seems airlines are starting to put together regulations for vaccinated folks.
12 435 Read More
Yesterday at 01:12 PM The cruise that wasn’t [by davemy]
The cruise that wasn’t, or travel attempts in 2020. Back in March, when the world was shutting down for 4 to 6 weeks to “flatten the curve”; Norwegian Cruise Line was offering reasonable fares and all their perks to encourage booking. Since my wife and I were looking at cruising with Norwegian for an Alaska cruise in 2022, we decided to book a 5-night cruise in December. (We have booked the Alaska cruise, along with 5 other couples) This would allow us an opportunity to see how Norwegian differed from other lines with which we have cruised and provide a vacation to look forward to, since we had nothing else planned for the year. Certainly, in 10 months’ time this whole pandemic would be over, and the world will be back to normal. I reached out to my friends and family and we booked three cabins for three couples. I spent the next 4 months following the prices, getting the best deal possible; planning excursions for our port stops and selecting in which specialty restaurants we wanted to book dinners.

About the middle of June, it became apparent that a backup plan might be needed. Since we already had airfare to Miami, we planned for several nights in Key Largo and a final night on South Beach in Miami before we came home. This would still give us a week in the warmth and sunshine; diving, fishing and sitting on the beach. Another 3 months of excursion planning and finding restaurants ensued. One of the other couples found a deal to fly to Sint Maarten from Miami; roundtrip with 2 nights hotel for $750 per couple; and suggested we add this to our plan. Quickly the plan became a full week in Sint Maarten; the beach resort there was half the price of the Holiday Inn in Key Largo which more than covered the increase in airfare. Hotels, rental cars and flights were cancelled and booked anew. We also admitted defeat and cancelled the cruise. Our deposits were promptly returned.

While researching our stay in St. Maarten and talking with friends we added two new couples but lost one of the original couples. I continued to monitor the cruise cancellations and various refund/credits being given and felt slight vindication when December cruising was actually (finally) cancelled. Having only been to St. Maarten as a one-day cruise stop, there was lots of research into activities, restaurants, night life and shopping. I found several SXM forums and websites, started watching the weather forecasts (Hurricane season!) and plans formed. All the bookings had a 24-hour full refund policy which allowed anyone who couldn’t get to SXM not to suffer added financial loss, in addition to the disappointment of not traveling. I helped one of the couples reschedule their flights when they were cancelled with no notice, changed routing for the other three couples when Silver canceled our flight off the island, so Delta had us traveling for 36 hours.

With just a couple of weeks until departure Covid hit our group hard. Every couple had either a member of their household test positive or the couple tested positive. There was a death of one parent as well as hospitalization of the other partners parent, so the couple who originally suggested SXM had to cancel. In the final week before departure another couple cancelled due to Covid. There was great concern over getting tested, getting results in a timely manner, and getting pre-approval from the government of St. Maarten. Five days prior to departure, we began to get tested, two of the four of us used CVS (different cities). We had three of the four results back within 55 hours. The St. Maarten application process was easy, though I did have to submit three times because my original test results didn’t have the laboratory address. Response time for the preapproval was three hours or less (if you don’t receive an email confirming your submission resubmit the entire application). Now there is a flurry of packing and final preparations as we count down for Saturday departure. Thanks to this group for the many insights and detailed explanations!
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Yesterday at 12:30 PM Question on "external cooking burner" [by FrenchLaundry]
This is a "newbie" question. We have done a bareboat charter at least a half dozen times. We have found ways to have our food prepared. Using the gas stove in the saloon heats up the cabin. Has anyone used an external propane burner or a simple electric burner outside to do their cooking, heating up a boiling pot of water?

Thank you..
1 139 Read More
Yesterday at 12:09 PM Causeway open? [by George1234]
On SXM island view, I just saw the causeway open for boat traffic. Has it been working for a while or is this something new?
2 333 Read More
Yesterday at 12:03 PM Low cost apartment? [by CaptainT]

We have a 14 days sailing trip booked to BVI coming up in ten days, ORY->SXM->EIS.

The Airline (Air Caraibes) have rescheduled us to another flight as the don't operate ORY-SXM anymore (no one seems to know why, maybe someone had an apparition stating that "You shall NOT fly to SXM", what do I know.)
I cannot find the Winair flight for SXM-EIS that we have tickets to on winairs web site. I figure that leaves us with the risk that we are stranded on St Martin (landing on Grand Case 13:th dec) for two weeks until our flight back on the 27:th.
As I love St Martin too, been there four times so far, that's not really so bad - if it wasn't for all our money spent on a boat that we won't be able to use as it's on Tortola.

Therefor I'm looking if there is a "cheap" apartment/villa with at least three bedrooms (four adults and three teenagers) that we could rent. All the booking sites is stuffed with luxury super villas and resorts but we cannot afford that at this time, given the facts above.

So do you know of any houses or apartments that's available for rent with short notice and doesn't cost much?
Yeah, I know Santa usually only comes on the 25:th, I do live pretty close to the Noth pole, but I figure that given the situation at hand maybe there is a surplus of accommodation as a shortage of tourists.

A bare boat with four cabins could work as well of course even if I think that will be to costly for us.
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Yesterday at 11:35 AM And You Wonder Why There is Inconsistency in Parking Enforcement [by ruralcarrier]

A long read but a lot of inconsistencies and lack of direction.
2 312 Read More
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