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Trip report: Second edition

Posted By: AUCspouse

Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 08:55 AM

Yesterday we drove around the island.

- Maho is a construction zone. Steel framing still at the resort; stucco work and paint are finished at the casino.

- The usual crowd of idiots at the end of the runway.

- Divi Resort at Little Bay has invested in lots of new landscaping, and the place is looking sharp. A snorkeling investigation revealed a big drop in the number of black urchins, but most of the usual fish species were well represented.

- The dump behind Philipsburg isn't burning. One monster cruise ship in port -- looked like it was 14 stories high, but I may be exaggerating.

- There was a relaxed and friendly crowd at Club Orient. Perch Lite now defines Happy Hour as 1:30 to 2:30. Unfortunately there is a 2- or 3-foot wide band of sargassum along the entire beach. Yesterday was windy, and the man who rents chairs and umbrellas says this is the third windy day in a row. Waves were high, and floating sargassum made swimming a little unpleasant. Snorkeling along the reef was a little challenging due to waves and current.

- Bikini Restaurant has a cheerful group of new green beach umbrellas. The beach crowd was quite small. Customers were drinking at the bar, and a few were having meals at the restaurant. Three or four guys were taking advantage of the windy conditions to kite-surf.

- Roofers are working at some of the buildings facing the beach.

- At Cul-de-Sac, the smell of rotting sargassum, which is piled in 6-foot hills, is almost overpowering. Still, the usual crowd of people were sitting on benches at the pier, and the ferry to Ile Pinel seemed to be operating. I inquired about Vanou -- he's the fisherman who sells fish at the market in Marigot, and takes people out to Tintamarre on Sundays. We were told that Vanou is fine, still fishing, and that his boat survived the hurricane just fine.

- No signs of runway extension work at the Grand Case airport.

- Grande Case was hit hard. Three or four restaurants are open, amid the shattered buildings. The Catholic Church still has no roofing - just exposed plywood sheathing.

- The solar panels on the roof of the fire station between Grande Case and Marigot were damaged during Irma -- about 20% of the panels are missing or damaged. The solar system hasn't been repaired.

- At the house between Grande Case and Marigot, the one which has year-round Christmas decorations - near the intersection of the road to Anse Aux Peres - there are no longer any Christmas decorations.

- As usual, the traffic from Grande Case to Marigot is the most congested on the island.

- In Marigot, the T-shirt and souvenir stands in the square were open. Both bakeries across from the market are closed.

- Sandy Ground has damaged houses, of course, but retail establishments are open, and street life looked as usual.

- Baie Nettle is different -- Sands and Dreams are totally gone.

- The French authorities installed brand new utility poles for electricity from Baie Nettle to Basses Terres.

- Still haven't seen Saba.
Posted By: ruralcarrier

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 09:08 AM

Thanks for another update.
Posted By: RonDon

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 10:29 AM

Great concise report on conditions. Many thanks.
Posted By: SandS

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 12:43 PM

Thank you for the information.
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 12:46 PM

thanks for the report. Sorry to hear about the Christmas house. I wonder whether they will put up decorations this year...
Posted By: SXMNorm

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 01:16 PM

Enjoying your tour, although although sad with the visuals.
Posted By: pat

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 01:24 PM

Thank you for the report. Sad to hear much of it but good to know all of it.
Posted By: AUCspouse

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 01:40 PM

My reports of the physical conditions here fail to convey my emotions. Anyone who has been absent from St. Maarten for many months, like my wife and I, is likely to feel an overwhelming sense of joy and relaxation upon returning to this island. It is absolutely good to be here.

Most locations don't smell of sargassum -- they smell of clean ocean air. The sand at Mullet is white, and this morning a small stingray was swimming in the waves, almost at the beach. Ribs and chicken still fall off the bone, and a cold Carib still tastes the way it should, especially when sand is between one's toes.
Posted By: wilsonck

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 01:42 PM

Originally Posted by AUCspouse
Yesterday we drove around the island.

- In Marigot, the T-shirt and souvenir stands in the square were open. Both bakeries across from the market are closed.


According to a post of facebook, Sarafina's will be re-opening in Marina Royal around September/October.
Posted By: SXMbeacher

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 01:54 PM

Thanks for the great reports and updates! How was the debris around Orient and Club O while snorkeling?
Posted By: AUCspouse

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 01:58 PM

No noticeable debris in the water. The two anchored rafts are gone, of course, as is the line of floats parallel to shore. The usual anchored boats aren't there.

The floating sargassum was the issue, not man-made debris.
Posted By: thesimpsons

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 02:59 PM

Thank you for your report!
Posted By: SXMbeacher

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 03:08 PM

That's good news! I've seen some beer bottles, and broken beer bottles in front of Club O pre Irma, but not too many. I'm sure the floats didn't stand a chance!
Posted By: Biturbo

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 03:30 PM

Nice report - very enjoyable reading. Thanks.
Posted By: irish1223

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 04:45 PM

Originally Posted by AUCspouse
My reports of the physical conditions here fail to convey my emotions. Anyone who has been absent from St. Maarten for many months, like my wife and I, is likely to feel an overwhelming sense of joy and relaxation upon returning to this island. It is absolutely good to be here.

Most locations don't smell of sargassum -- they smell of clean ocean air. The sand at Mullet is white, and this morning a small stingray was swimming in the waves, almost at the beach. Ribs and chicken still fall off the bone, and a cold Carib still tastes the way it should, especially when sand is between one's toes.



We can so concur with this. It felt great to get back to the island last month and we are very much looking forward to our return in November. While many things were destroyed, the elements we so love are still there -- sunshine, beaches, turquoise water, good food, and some of the friendliest people around.
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 05:08 PM

Agreed, that was our thoughts too. It seems pretty universal, that anyone who has been recently has been just to happy to have been on island, and happy to see that what we love about the island is still there. She is tattered in a lot of places, still, but overall, still beautiful.
Posted By: jazzgal

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 06:06 PM

Thank you for the informative report. I think Baie Nettle hit me the hardest when I was there in June. No guard at the Nettle Bay Beach Club and many units without roofs. I've been told that Ma Ti Beach next door to Dreams owns the land and will be expanding to at least where Dreams was.
Posted By: SeaStar

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 07:19 PM

Thanks for the report!
Are the 'Club O' chair people cleaning up the sargassum on the beach in front of the chairs they are renting?
Posted By: AUCspouse

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 08:38 PM

I heard from the chair rental guy that before the latest batch of sargassum, they paid for a tractor -- not a cheap step -- to clean the beach. Then the winds picked up, and the latest batch of sargassum came ashore. "That's nature," he said philosophically.
Posted By: SeaStar

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 11:05 PM

Thanks for the update.
I guess we've been spoiled over the year as there were enough people visiting Orient beach to hire the staff to keep on top of the sargassum. In years pass it usually didn't travel much south of Pedro's while we were on the island.
Enjoy the rest of your trip.
Posted By: SXMScubaman

Re: Trip report: Second edition - 07/19/2018 11:49 PM

It's not just the lack of visitors it's the lack of businesses on the orient beach stretch.
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