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8 hours ago Booked our May flight today [by SXMScubaman]
Just booked a redeye on AA out of SEA to MIA to SXM arriving 1:20 Saturday May 10. Yesterday first class was 3,000 each one way. This morning 887.00. Adopted for a 2 hour layover instead of the 45min earlier flight since we wouldn't be able to check in that early in our timeshare. Now I'll book our return with miles in July sometime.
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Yesterday at 10:29 PM June 13 and 14 report [by Lancer]
June 13
Today the plan was to get up at 6am in time to prepare for our drive over to the Nowhere Special Grill dock on Welfare Rd for our catamaran cruise to Anguilla. I seem to always beat the alarm when we’re getting up early for an adventure, and this was no exception. I woke up around 4am and kind of drifted in and out of sleep before finally getting up at 5:30am. We pulled our things together, including passports, jumped in our car around 6:40am, and headed over. Traffic was not a problem, no real backups along the way, and we made it to Welfare Rd around 7:15am or so. I was aware of a public parking area further east on Welfare Rd and on the opposite side of Nowhere Special, down past Skip Jack’s. It was a little difficult to gage where the drive way into the lot was located but we found it easily enough. The lot is just east of Captains Rib Shack and there were plenty of parking spots.

It was stated in the information we were given online that we should arrive by 8:15am so we had plenty of time. Neither of us were interested in coffee or breakfast and a few others going on the cruise began to arrive, so we decided to say hi to folks, and we’d enjoy the coffee and breakfast offerings onboard.

We booked the cruise with Celine Charters on the sailing vessel Enigma C3, which is a 62 ft luxury catamaran. Captain Neil would arrive at the dock behind Nowhere Special to pick us up in a dingy for a short trip out to the catamaran which was docked on a mooring ball just on the other side of the bridge. As 8:15am arrived, the Captain had not arrived yet and only 9 of the passengers were gather. We had heard that there were 14 or 15 who would be sailing. I think it was around 8:30 when we saw a dingy towing another dinghy drawing near and Captain Neil greeted us warmly, salty sailor as he is, and we gingerly began to board one of the dinghy’s down a ladder with most of us perched on the sides. We had removed our shoes, which were collected and placed in a bag.

The trip over to the catamaran, as I mentioned, was brief and as we approached the vessel she looked impressive and roomy. As it turned out, the rest of the passengers were unable to fly to the island in time for the cruise because of the rains in Florida. The vessel can hold 20 people so we’d have a lot of room on this trip. We felt bad for those who didn’t make it.

We had a bit of sunburn so far and we’re a little concerned we’d get more on our excursion, but there is very adequate shade on the main level which is completely enclosed and then you walk up stairs to a second level that also has a canopy above providing for lots of shade. Depending on which way we were sailing and the position of the sun, there would be at time sun coming through at the sides or back for a time, but shifting to another location would remedy this.

The crew was comprised of Captain Neil, who told me in a conversation he got his first boat when he was 4. A small one to be sure, but he loved it so much he was hooked. At one point he sailed from South Africa, up the coast of Brazil to the Caribbean islands, landed in St Martin and hasn’t left since. I didn’t ask but assumed he was quite a bit older than 4 smile Another crew member was Andrew, who was the cook. Andrew had quite an impressive galley located toward the front of the boat on the port side that we could see from our vantage point at the aft of the boat where most of us were congregating. The other crew member was Andrea, who was 26, from Venezuela, and had a most beautiful smile that she would greet us with all through the cruise. Andrea was the bartender and would serve breakfast on this morning. Croissants, coffee, juice and any drink you might want would be available. Andrew and Andrea were also the captains hands when it came to drawing up the anchor or hooking up to the mooring ball.

We were by now off to our destination of Anguilla. We’d be motoring rather than sailing but that was perfectly fine as I was just looking forward to the swell of the sea, the salty sea breeze and watching the coast of St. Martin slip by and away as we drew closer to Anguilla. There was very adequate space to sit in comfortable bench type seating that lined both decks of the boat. A space where you could stretch out was located on both decks also. Andrea, with a smile, made sure we were supplied with any drink we might want. We had a rum punch as we continued on toward Anguilla. The sea breeze is strong as you travel along the deep blue water and as we crossed west of the passage in between the two islands the chop became more noticeable. I loved it, but could tell a few were enjoying it but not loving it. Our destination would be around to the north side of the island where we dropped anchor in a cove of emerald water next to a bright white sandy beach with homes or rentals high above. Quite fancy ones I might add.

We’d have an hour or so to snorkel, float on noodles, swim over to the beach or simply stay put on the boat. Most chose the water. My wife and I grabbed noodles and she jumped in first. I followed with a not so pretty dive in. The water was warm but felt just a few degrees cooler than at Orient Beach and Friars Bay, with Friars Bay being the warmest of the three. Andrea asked if we wanted a drink, so we each had a can of Carib beer while floating on our noodles. It was very relaxing and brought back memories of a cruise we took back in 2004 on a sailing vessel that I believe was damaged in a hurricane awhile back. On that cruise, we floated on noodles and must have drank 3 or 4 rum punches while floating below the beautiful ship. We are much older now and know our limits but have the greatest of fun within those limits. We drift out of those limits from time to time but on those occasions we aren’t planning to drive anywhere and are not floating in 20 feet of water.

We made our way back onto the boat after awhile and found Andrew had almost completed our lunch for the day. It would be buffet style. Andrea rang the ships bell with a smile, which meant it was time to go through the line. Offerings included Caesar salad, acorn squash with quinoa, broccoli in olive oil and garlic, an amazing macaroni and cheese and while I don’t usually eat Mac n cheese I went back for another helping. Also on the menu was potato salad with jalapeño peppers, jerkin pickles, mayo, and mustard. The jalapeños provide just the right bit of hot I’ve never experienced in potato salad before. I had a second helping of that also. Mahi Mahi, shrimp and rice, beef ribs and the beverage of your choice competed our lunch. There were many layers of flavor in each dish and I gave our compliments to the chef.

After the meal we set off, heading back I assumed. Between the rocking waves, the hearty meal, drinks and sea breezes most all of us were knackered. My wife stretched out on the bench seat at the aft of the ship and I lay next to her for awhile. After a bit, I went above where the breezes are more abundant and there is a much better view of the ocean and islands around you.

I thought we were heading back to disembark, but we arrived at Terres Basses on the tip of St. Martin and Captain Neil steered the Enigma toward another white sandy beach with more emerald green water. This beach was lined with beach chairs and umbrellas but I noticed there was at least a 15 drop from the beach into the water below. Andrew told us the beach used to stretched along the coast for quite a bit more than presently but the sands were washed away resulting in the cliff. Captain Neil told us not to try to swim to the shore as on one excursion a woman had tried to do that and could barely make it out of the water onto the sand at the bottom of the cliff. She was wearing a life vest but was rolling about, back and forth and couldn’t get herself up and away from the beach. He had to get the dinghy out and figure a way to get her back to the boat. He left the story at that, but the impression we got was that she probably made it but don’t make him have to do that again. None of us did.

Soon we were out at sea and it was a little smoother heading back. We paid the balance of our fees, having only booked with a deposit, left a 20% tip which we were were able to put on our AA card (more points for travel smile and said good by to our crew who were all excellent in personality and service during our cruise. Captain Neil said those who come onboard really make the cruise enjoyable for them and counted all of us as providing the crew with a great time also. Captain Neil had us back on the dinghy and to the dock in no time at all. I got back on the dock and thought, “I left my shoes onboard!”. At just about the same time, Captain Neil threw a bag containing all our shoes onto the dock.

On our drive back around 4:30pm we ran into a bit of traffic but nothing unbearable, just routine. I have to say we enjoyed our excursion so much but were completely exhausted from the early wake up time and the rocking of the boat.

We showered up and wondered if we should just have a few snacks at our studio but after a bit decided to go down to La Trattoria again for a pizza and wine. We probably should have stayed in the studio because both of us were too tired not to be irritated at little things. You ever get that way? At first we were among the few at the restaurant, but like ants swarming a dropped piece of pie the placed seemed to get packed to the degree they set up tables at the next restaurant over which was closed tonight. We knew what we wanted so didn’t need the carry over chalk menu at our table. Within minutes our wine arrived with brochette. Then the irritants began. The table behind my wife, a mom and dad with two teenage boys, began to play trivia on their cell phones, very loudly reading the challenges for all to hear, especially us. My wife said none of them guess any of the answers. Then at the table next to us, four people were seated. The waiter brought over the carry over chalk menu and stuck it against a chair that was up against my chair, as was the edge of the chalkboard. It kept digging into my side a bit. As he stood almost on top of me, he wasn’t aware I’m sure, but at least get your behind out of my face. Our pizza arrive, and though we had the other evening, what we felt was one of the best pizzas ever, this one, for lack of ordering pepperoni, or being under cooked, just wasn’t cutting it with us….though none remained on our plates I have to confess. The guy next to me was smoking but fortunately the wind was blowing it away from me. Then my wife leaned in and said, “I have to text you something.” I said, “I know what you’re going to write.” She said, “No you don’t, you can’t see what I see.” So as she texted I tried to make it look like I wasn’t receive her text but maybe, viewing photos of our day. (Because the next table is only a foot away!) She texted, “The guy next to you is smoking but the woman right next to him is on oxygen!” Was our concern founded or did we worry without need?” My wife had visions of an explosion taking us all out, but that didn’t stop us from having desert, rum raisin ice cream for her and crème brûlée for me. Both excellent. Exhaustion, evidently, doesn’t affect attitudes about dessert. No photos of our meal as my fatigue cause me to forget and when I remembered I hadn’t taken a photo we were half way through the meal. Just sharing our irritation, which was completely on us due to our decision to go out exhausted when we should have stayed in our studio. We laughed about it afterwards. No explosions that we noticed.

We got back to our studio and though I’ve been writing my trip reports before I turn it, I was just too exhausted and it would need to wait a day. Around 9pm it began to pour and we wondered what folks do who our seated outside and just starting their meal in these circumstances.

June 14

Big time lazy day for purposes of recovery smile

We walked down and had breakfast at Good morning. Shared pancakes, fruit and bacon and a bottle of water. I ordered a decaf Americana and glass of orange juice. The juice came with the meal. Everything was very good but we found the seating warm with not much of a breeze. Enjoyable non the less.

Our studio host, Patricia, came by to change our bedding as we have another week ahead of us. She is so pleasant and we enjoy talking with her.

I wrote yesterday’s trip report, while my wife read. We took a nap and then went down to Bikini Beach bar and ordered the fish and chips. We shared a platter last time but each of us wanted our own this time. We also ordered two draft Heinekens and a bowl of ice. Each time I added some ice to our beer I thought of scubaman LOL. The fish and chips were as good as we remembered. As we ate, right out by the sand, we watched people packing it up for the day at the beach as the beach attendant started collecting the chairs and dropping down the umbrellas. The sky, water and beach were complimentary hues of blue, green and beige. Puffy blue, beige clouds drifted in the distance while the wave runners were coming back from a run. We did notice that the breeze was light where we were sitting and it was a bit warmer than up by the high top bar seating. We confirmed this as we left. The breeze was more brisk and cooler as we walked out past the bar where we usually have our sundowners. Our check came and I saw where they had charged us for 6 Heinekens while we only had four. Our waitress, who was very pleasant and quite cute, cleared this up. We paid our bill and left her a nice tip.

Our plan is to do sundowners at the bar later tonight as the beach location is only a 5 minute walk.

Now to load up this report and photos from the day. I included a couple of us as requested. Also one in there for you Carol. I waved but not sure you saw us.

Our plan is to go to Le String tomorrow.

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Yesterday at 09:31 PM Camera on saba at 3 pm [by jeepers]
At 3 pm. today the maho live camera zoomed right in on saba & you could see buildings. What a camera they have! Great picture!
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Yesterday at 08:24 PM Connecting through ATL? [by shieneehead]
Hey Folks,

I am booking flights for our November trip. Flying out of BDL in Connecticut. I try to avoid connecting through MIA. We've had good experiences through CLT in the past, but this time it only leave us 35 min to connect. Delta has flights through ATL with a more comfortable 1hr 15 min layover. I'm not familiar with ATL layout. Anyone have input on connections through there? Many Thanks!
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Yesterday at 03:34 PM All-In Ferry Transfer Costs with Taxis [by MarkS]
I am trying to compare the actual all-in cost of the ferry for 5 passengers from BVI Yacht Charters to STT Airport which would need to include taxis on both sides? I have a quote for $1,125 ($225 per person) for the Water Taxi inclusive of land taxi from Red Hook to the airport and inclusive of customs fees. If we take the ferry there will be ferry cost plus taxi on both ends and customs fees. Can someone share that that cost is?

I'm trying to talk myself into the water taxi to save the aggravation.
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Yesterday at 01:35 AM Roma was excellent [by Carol_Hill]
Went to Roma for dinner tonight and it was excellent. Wish I could say the same about the gambling after.. blush
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06/13/2024 10:32 PM New program to renew passports online [by Carol_Hill]

Good idea!
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06/13/2024 05:14 PM Menu for French Cocotte [by Carol_Hill]
I am so OVER restaurants not having their menus online. Can anyone point me to their menu online somewhere?
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06/13/2024 04:22 PM Posting pictures within a post [by Carol_Hill]
A couple of people have asked about posting pictures within a post. It's not difficult. Basically, the picture just needs to be online somewhere, and then you use the "insert image link" which is located almost exactly in the middle above the screen where you type your message. If you have a private webpage you can post the pictures to, you can use that.

If you don't have anywhere else you can post the pictures, you can do it all within TTOL. It takes two steps to do, unlike using the image attachment at the end of the post, but the pictures do show up much larger.

So, the procedure is to go to the front TTOL page, where it shows all the forums. Scroll WAY down to the SXM Photo Gallery. Click on "new image gallery". You have to insert a title for the post, which would be something like the date, etc. You also have to put SOMETHING in the body of the post. Then you click on Image Manager and proceed the same as before, uploading your photos in your photo album. There is a maximum of 30 photos allowed to be uploaded in a single album. I can't remember what the maximum size is for pictures, but I think it's around 8 megs.

Once you have uploaded all your pictures, then post the note. Once the note is posted with your pictures, find the picture that you want to post and RIGHT CLICK on it, and hit "COPY IMAGE LINK". That gives you the URL for the picture. Then you can use the insert image link.

With regard to any trip report here, I always compose offline and then upload here. That definitely works best if you want to insert pictures within the post. Upload your pictures to the SXM Photo Gallery first, so that the url is ready for you to upload the pictures. Upload your trip report and post it. Then you have a couple of hours to edit the post to insert the pictures. Then just go in and insert the pictures.

I realize this sounds complicated, but the result is worth it, to me. Let me know if you have any questions.
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06/13/2024 01:45 AM Trip Review: June 1-9 Moorings Mono [by tmsxmsails]
Just got back from our trip and I'd like to thank everyone for answering all my pre-trip questions and offering advice and counsel - we had a great trip.

I'll do a review in the hopes it will help or be of interest to others.

Preamble: Crew was my wife and I (who have chartered a number of times) and another couple who have not chartered. No kids. The forecast for the week was pretty bad. Overcast and rain from Sunday (start day) to Thursday.

Day 1: Arrival and sleep aboard day. Had to chill for a while waiting for the boat to be ready but got on around 5:00 and got settled in. Riteway delivered provisions but it was only about 2/3 of my order. They didn't charge me for the stuff they didn't deliver but just didn't give me all that I had on my order. They did forget a couple things that they charged me for and I found out the next day when we went to get the rest of what we needed it was because I said "no substitutions" that they didn't give me everything - which I then picked up myself when I went there :-) Oh well.

One thing that surprised me about the boat was that it had a self-tacking jib. I was conflicted on this because, while it would make tacking easier (obviously), it was much smaller than a regular genoa and I wasn't thrilled about the loss of power.

Day 2: Took the Rum Bus to Riteway - very convenient and a pleasant surprise as I wasn't sure how best to get there and back. Got away from the dock around 11:00 as I had to wait for fuel to be topped off - grrrr. First stop was Marina Cay. Had a nice sail despite the clouds and it actually turned into a nice sunny day later on. I gotta say, the self-tacking jib was really nice for tacking but man, it looked terrible shape-wise and didn't produce much power. I guess on balance, I liked it - but just barely. Had dinner onboard. The foredeck crew - my wife and the husband of the other couple - were absolutely fantastic. The whole trip they got every ball on the first try. We looked like pros - no shouting, just a couple of hand signals and bam, we were on. Every. Single. Time. I did have occasion to use a blip of the bow thruster once or twice but I probably didn't need to. I kinda just wanted to use it because I had it.

Day 3: Left early and motored directly upwind to The Baths. It pained me not to sail but I wanted to get there before the crowds and it's a good thing as there were only two balls left when we arrived. Took the dinghy to the tie-up and swam in. I didn't remember it being that long of a swim in!! I had heard there was a defined direction that you needed to go through the rocks but I thought it was just a suggestion. No, they made us take the trail up to the top - to pay the fee I now realize - and then come back the Devil's Bay side. I'll just say it; The Baths are cool but having seen them before, I could do without seeing them again. I'm glad I took our guests but I probably won't be stopping there again.

Unhooked and sailed up to Leverick. Had dinner upstairs and it was hot and buggy. I wanted to leave as soon as we sat down. Everyone but me really liked their meals. To be fair I was recovering from a cold from the week before so I wasn't feeling all that great but I think we all felt unimpressed by Leverick - which is surprising given the praise it gets here.

Day 4: The forecast was for clouds and rain so we made the decision to delay the sail to Anegada in hopes it would be clearer the next day so we moved over to Saba. We poked around BEYC and peeked at Biras Creek and then did some SUPing south of Saba. Went over for Tarpon feeding and drinks and then dinner back on the boat. Of course the weather was great - sunny and no rain.

Day 5: Set sail for Anegada despite it being worse weather than the day before. Not a ton of wind so it was a long sail but just before we got to the channel (actually my waypoint just West of the channel), all hell broke loose. Massive squall came through and reduced visibility to near zero. As it was approaching I got the sails down/in and then just rode it out orbiting my waypoint. I was seriously considering whether I would need to go back to Gorda because I didn't want to try and go through the channel and into the mooring field with all the rain and wind. Luckily, it cleared and the channel markers appeared and it was an easy trip in. In hindsight, I probably could have made it in but this was my first time going in in about 20 years all the warnings were going through my head. We had dinner at Potters and enjoyed it. When we got back on board, I fired up the generator to get some A/C on and it ran for a bit and then turned off. Hmm. The other husband and I are famous (to our wives anyway) for McGyvering our way out of all kinds of situations so we set about trying to figure out what was wrong. Opened up the engine room panel to find the control panel on the genny and its display said "High Heat". Hmm, not getting water. Found the filter basked and it had some weeds in it but it wasn't that bad. No water coming in when we tried to start the genny again. Hmm. Disconnected the intake hose and blew through it and also sucked water in so it didn't seem like there was blockage on the intake side. I figured it was probably the impeller and I wasn't confident on finding it and didn't have a spare anyway. Called the Moorings but, of course, they don't service at Anegada. It was a hot night. And I feel bad about saying that. I've never had A/C before and I always kind of looked down my nose at all the cats that were buttoned up running their generators while my wife and I dealt with the heat (and rain, and bugs) like real sailors. Yeah, nah, I'm over that. Give me A/C. Sorry Dad.

Day 6: We had planned to rent a jeep and go to the North beaches but the day dawned ugly and the forecast didn't look good. We figured it would be a lousy beach day and we might as well use the dreary weather to sail back to Jost.
We were just about to leave when guess what broke loose again? Hell, yes, hell broke loose again. Lightning, rain, wind. It was crazy. It lasted about an hour or maybe more but finally settled down enough for us to feel okay about heading out. It was a long, low wind reach/run to Jost so we motor-sailed most of the way. Almost the whole way there we watched as Tortola got pounded. I saw on another thread that there was flooding. Wow.

About the time we got to Jost, the skies cleared and the wind came up - just in time to drop everything and head into Little Harbor. We actually poked our nose into Great Harbor but everything was taken and I wasn't comfortable anchoring. I had called the Moorings on the way and they showed up about an hour after we got there. It was indeed the impeller that had come apart. They got it fixed and we were back in A/C business. We took a taxi over to Foxy's and had a great meal. As much as Foxy's is kind of almost too commercialized, I really enjoyed it.

Day 7: We actually won the Boatyball lottery and got a ball in Great Harbor. I was really hoping we could get one as I wanted the ability to noodle around Green Cay/Sandy Spit and Diamond Cay without having to worry about hurrying back to get a ball and I wanted to be able to dinghy around to White Bay. We got all four people going for a ball and managed to get one (after failing completely on a couple of earlier days (which ended up not mattering)). I cannot believe how fast they go. With the ball locked up, we motored over to Sandy Spit and had a great time there. We wanted to do the Bubbly Pool but I had a good anchor set so we just dinghied over to Foxy's Taboo. We started heading down the path but ran into a group coming back who said not to bother since it was just not flowing. So, we turned around and had drinks at Foxy's. Headed back to the boat and to our ball then dinghied over to White Bay and The Soggy Dollar. Really, really enjoyed that vibe. Dinner that night at Corsairs.

Day 8: Headed over to Norman and got a ball. Dinghied out to the Indians for snorkeling and then over to the Caves. Then it was over to the Willy T for drinks and debauchery which shall not be described further here (ahem). The shot ski is fun! I feel somewhat bad for all the parents of children who may have been permanently scared... Took a trip over to the Pirates Bight for souvenirs but had our last dinner onboard.

Day 9: Sail to the base, taxi to airport, home at 2 am the next day. Phew!

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk
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