Spent seven perfect days on the island August 11 to 18. We lucked out as Ana fizzled (for the most part) and Bill turned east.

This was our 13th trip to St. Martin and each year gets more relaxing as we are able to focus on what we like to do without trying to do everything.

We flew American from JFK, 667/660 combination and found the very early departure from JFK great since we landed well before noon. Rented a dented Corolla from Kennys. Paperwork took all of 2 minutes and we were off to the Grand Case Beach Club with a short stop at Grand Marche for supplies. Despite the early arrival our room was ready along with the usual complimentary bottle of wine.

Weve always stayed in Grand Case and love it. This was our 8th stay at GCBC and probably not our last. The staff is very pleasant. The rooms are great and the entire property is very well maintained. And the view cant be beat. Took advantage of the free wifi. After a couple of days going to the nice patio in front of the office to connect decided to try connecting from our room and it worked! Weak signal but it got the job done.

It was a slow and peaceful week. Three trips to Orient. The paved road to Club O is a joy. The 2:30 happy hour at the Perch is a strange time. But between the odd time and the slowness of August there were no lines for drinks. Ive never seen Orient Beach and Club O in particular so quiet.

We had lunch at Bay Watch twice. Great as always!

Just a couple of notes on other eating experiences. As has become our custom we bought nice, fresh fish at the Marigot market on Saturday, paid a guy $2 to clean it and cooked it in our room that night.

One of our favorite places had always been Le Petite Auburge des Iles in the Marigot Marina. Saw on this board that the owners had sold the place and moved back to France. But we decided wed try it anyway. We were very glad we did. The new owners, Franz and his sister, are doing a great job. We went for lunch. One of the specials was Quiche Lorraine with fries and a salad for 7.5 Euros. What a bargain! And so delicious. Franz was very attentive. And a very nice guy. I hope they make it.

Over the years weve some to like Le Soleil in Grand Case. But again we had read that it had changed hands. Not to worry. The new owner is doing great! Our meals (perfectly cooked tuna and equally perfectly cooked strip steak, not to mention a fabulous chocolate desert) were great, as was the service.

While Ana and Bill threatened, they did us no hard. A few days before Ana passed by we had heavy rain at the end of the day and two brief power failures. We had to finish our meal at California by candlelight. But whats wrong with that?