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3 hours ago Sahara dust returning [by SXMScubaman]

The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley hereby informs the public of a lot of dust ahead. People with pulmonary or eye conditions should take the necessary precautions. In distinguishing the possible symptoms from COVID-19, the latter has more systemic effects/symptoms; headaches, fever, sore muscles. Dust symptoms are usually limited to eye irritation, dry cough and shortness of breath especially in those who are susceptible. If in doubt, consult your General Practitioner."
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Yesterday at 10:29 PM SBR [by BlueGreenWater]
So sorry to hear that Rose Blackwell has retired from Simpson Bay Resort. Very happy for Rose, but what a loss for all SBR owners.
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Yesterday at 09:14 PM Trip report Day 1 [by eilandmens]
The trip down yesterday was not pleasant! Most of it was nobody’s fault but some of it I do not understand. First, the plane was on Tarmac for an hour because, according to pilot announcement, was due to flight plan changes due to tropical depression 2 near Bermuda. So we take off and go down the eastern coast over land from Newark. The change in flight plan turns out to add 30 minutes to flight. So now we are arriving 90 minutes late. We arrive just in time to have to be behInd 2 AA flights, one of which is huge. The biggest AA plane I seen at SXM. Knowing it will be crowded, I thought- thank God they St. Maarten spent the money to develop a QR code for their approval doc. Went in arrival to be greeted by a very long, long line. But fool that I am, the scanning will move through this in a snap. But to my chagrin, they had people reviewing the documents and stamping them twice. We were there for an hour and a half. It would of longer, but they pulling old people out of line to go to immigration. I guess they thought we die before getting in the country. I understand the lines because of the large plane, but I do not understand the stamping and the foregoing of the QR code they paid possibly very good money to be programmed to their site. Just venting, I feel better now!

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Yesterday at 02:21 PM Anniversary Dinner [by CaribLee]
For the first time, my wife and I will be in Sint Maarten for our anniversary in August. Where do you suggest we go for our anniversary dinner on the Dutch side. We are staying in the Maho area and food favorites include seafood, steak and italian. Give me your recommendation and tell me why it is a favorite of yours. Thanks in advance.
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Yesterday at 01:43 PM Trip Report Saturday and Sunday [by Carol_Hill]
Saturday morning we had sausage and croissants from Au Pain Gourmande, then headed out to Orient around 9:30. We headed to Club Orient beach, but decided to do the chairs immediately beside Club O beach. The chairs there are lovely PADDED chairs, with a small table, 2 chairs and umbrella for $20. Very nice, and worth more to me. I felt a little bad that we didn't rent from Cedric, but it was very nice. The day was absolutely lovely, with a nice breeze, totally flat entrance into the water, and zero seaweed.

Cedric came back to collect from the folks right next to us, and I asked him about the rebuilding plans at Club O. He said "maybe the fall, maybe in February". Didn't sound real confident to me. They are definitely doing the weekly chair deal there, but not sure what the cost was. There is a bathroom there, but apparently very rustic. I did not check it out.

Living in Florida, neither one of us has any tan, which makes sense, right??? jester So we decided at lunchtime to pack up and head down the beach for lunch. We ended up at Le String around 1:15.

[Linked Image] There were several people there when we got there and it got PACKED shortly thereafter. Virtually everyone there was French. We enjoyed a lovely Cote de Provence wine.

[Linked Image] I ordered the flank steak from the menu (sorry about the blurry pictures, as they were taken with a cell phone and I'm not good with it!)

[Linked Image],

which came with French fries (of course!)

[Linked Image] and Eric wanted the snapper, but they were out of that, so he 'settled' for tuna.

[Linked Image]

I'm not sure what happened, but my meal arrived COLD, so I sent it back and it came back fairly quickly, hot, with hot french fries, but I wonder if they re-heated the steak, as it was overdone.. The taste of the steak was decent but the french fries were another bust, REALLY skinny, about a 1.5 on the French fry o-meter scale. Eric enjoyed his tuna.

After a long lunch, we headed to Leader Price, which has provided some good deals on wine in the past, and they didn't disappoint this time. We headed back through Grand Case to check out which restaurants were open for lunch. Ocean 82 was open, so we stopped in and made a reservation for the next evening at 5:30. Back home we took a nap, after a hard day on the beach, then cooked chicken breast on the grill for dinner. I think we saw the Celebrity ship come by as we were eating dinner around 8:30. I took a couple of pictures, but it was too far away and the picture did not turn out. A few minutes of TV, and off again for an early night.

Thus endeth another lovely day..


Breakfast was scrambled eggs and sausage, toast and mimosa... I could get used to having mimosa every day... grin
Reading some online reviews of Ocean 82, one talked about the KITCHEN closing at 6:30, which made us very apprehensive about our dinner choice. We decided to head out to Carrefour for a backup plan for the evening of spare ribs. Back home at BSV, we heard from bran from TTOL, who said he had contacted Pascal from Ocean 82, who assured him that we would not be rushed through dinner, so we were on for dinner.

Sunday afternoon consisted of some cheese and crackers for a light snack, and watching the planes in the BACK

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

, and the sailboats from the Sint Maarten Sailing School in the FRONT.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

What a lovely afternoon!

Too soon it was time to head out to Grand Case. (Did I say, I hate this curfew crap on the French side??) We headed through Mullet, toward Sandy Ground, and the back side of Marigot. We were BARELY able to pass through Mullet on the road, as there were cars parked EVERYWHERE, all up and down the beach, and on both sides of the road. I can't imagine being on Mullet on Sunday!! Monday was Flag Day in Sint Maarten, so I assume maybe a lot of people had the day off on Monday?? Dunno.

We arrived in Grand Case too early, so decided to head over to Orient Village to see what was open. We arrived there a few minutes after 5 and everyone was kind of still setting up except Le Telegraphe, which is open for lunch. The others I guess all open at 5. We were actually hoping maybe to eat at one of them for lunch later in the week, but I guess that was not to be.

We were able to get a place to park right outside Ocean 82. We keep a couple of masks in the car all the time here, but were surprised when they wanted us to wear a mask from entry into the restaurant until we were seated, with some water on the table. Whatever. They did give us the masks free.

I had looked at the menu online, so knew that they offered a Grand Marnier souffle' so I told our waitress up front that we wanted to order that, as I know some restaurants require advance notice that you want a souffle'. We ordered a lobster bisque to share

[Linked Image]

, a kind of fish stew for Eric, with lobster, clams, mussels, etc.,

[Linked Image]

and a beef tenderloin for me

[Linked Image]

, along with a Beaujolas Village.

[Linked Image]

Eric thoroughly enjoyed his meal, which came with your choice of side, so he chose pasta. He said the broth tasted almost like a lobster bisque. My tenderloin was perfectly cooked, along with some lovely rosettes on the plate and one perfectly cooked sprig of asparagus. I could have done with about a half dozen more of those!! And the piece de resistance, some FRENCH FRIES!! toast

[Linked Image]

So far, these were the definite winners in the French Fry contest, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, fried in ?? Perhaps duck fat. Just to keep my options open, will give these French Fries a 4.5 out of 5 on my French Fry O Meter.

Dessert was the mile-high Grand Marnier souffle', [Linked Image]

served with two sauces, one chocolate and one ? --not sure, it didn't seem to have a lot of taste. Served with our choice of American coffee, it was a perfect complement to the meal, as was the stunning sunset.

[Linked Image]

A word here regarding the comments online about Ocean 82. Two different comments were stating that they had arrived ONE MINUTE late for their reservation and were denied seating. Frankly I kind of doubt that, but if so, one could almost understand. The curfew has to be extremely difficult on restauranteurs, who are used to many or most patrons arriving at 7:30 or after and spending 2-3 hours on dinner. Technically they are supposed to get everyone out of the restaurant by 8 PM and if people are late for their reservations, they make it impossible to do. One comment said that the KITCHEN had to close at 6:30. This is obviously incorrect, as they were still seating people for dinner around 6:30 or a few minutes after. We received our souffle' right around sunset, which was 6:45.

At the time that we left the restaurant at 7:30, Ocean 82 was at least still half full. Of the restaurants that were open, including Bistrot Cariabes, Auberge Gourmande and La Villa, they were ALL still at least half full at 7:30, so I don't see any way they could have served all their customers by 8 PM. The staff were busting their a$$es, but it has to be a very uncomfortable time for them. Perhaps by tomorrow, they will lift the curfew. I hope so, for the restauranteurs' sakes. We travelled through Marigot at 7:45 and the streets were still full of traffic and pedestrians. We didn't see any gendarmes setting up at the border either. A friend of ours told us that he had 'heard' that if people were eating on the French side and going back to the Dutch side, that they would be ok if they got back to the Dutch side by 8:30 PM. Regardless, it made an anxious end to a wonderful evening, wondering if we would get back across by 8 PM.
Back home with no issues, and time for another early night, replete from a wonderful meal.

[Linked Image]

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06/15/2021 10:37 PM Pinel [by Snorkeller]
We went to Pinel yesterday and learned that Yellow Beach is closed with most of staff on vacation from June 14 to July 9. Karibuni will be more crowded than usual.

We had heard ferry starts now at 9:30 - I was skeptical, but we got there a little before 9:30. First ferry left a few minutes before 10. Still 10 euros or 12 dollars for the round trip. Last ferry was 4pm.
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06/15/2021 09:10 PM PCR test [by pburke40]
Looking at the SXM website today. The PCR test timeline is changing from 120 hours to 72 hours as of July 1. I am concerned that I will not be able to get the results, submit the paperwork and get confirmation from SXM in that time frame.. Should I be worried?
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06/15/2021 08:18 PM BVI Covid Portal [by GeorgeC1]
I just finished filling out the BVI portal for our 18 June trip. Wife’s took 2 hours mostly because of needing to scan documents. Mine took less than 30 minutes once I knew the drill. It helps to have the following scanned and ready to upload.
Scanned copy of Accomadations booking sheet with names of everyone in your party listed or yacht booking contract with names.
Scanned passports
Scanned proof of negative PCR covid test
Scanned vaccination cards
Scanned proof of covid insurance

For the most part the site functioned well. I hope we get the clearance without to many problems. Getting excited for the return to the BVI!
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06/15/2021 07:11 PM Da Boat to be removed [by GaryB]
Have a friend who is working on the lagoon wreck removal project. He confirmed that Da Boat on Beacon Hill is included in the total wreck removal program. As well as the old floating try dock an other wreck in Simpson Bay. It may be some time before they get to these wrecks but they are to be removed.

They have removed over 100 wrecks on the Dutch side of the lagoon. More yet to do. The French side has not signed a contract for removal on their side of the lagoon yet. May be months before they do. Work can not start on that side until then.
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06/15/2021 07:05 PM 2 months of work and now free [by bailau]
24 hours after the last of the Day 0 test for vaccinaters we are free...

Appreciate the help of those on this board and the good people of the BVIs for making this happen...

Flying VA Tech colors on a 514 PC if you happen to see us come over...

Good to be back...
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