Don & Linda

Sint Maarten/St Martin
June 4 - June 18, 2010



      (Linda graciously wrote the trip report this has a better flair than I could have ever done.....Linda did the narrative, I did the pictures and captions.....Don)



From OC, Blue Mall keeps getting bigger

New wall provides more security at OC
Friday, June 4:  

Ahh, another adventure to SXM, albeit with hesitation this year, since we love our new house and location and family activities.  Friends Chris and Josie on first AA flight with us to DFW on their way to Cozumel. 

The 4 hour layover we expected in DFW became 5 hours, when our incoming plane was late.  Supposedly they will hold our flight in SJU to SXM tonight, but we worry about the luggage.  Plus, our first night stash of liquor is in our luggage!  Sounds like we might need an emergency trip to "7-Alive" grocery for booze! (haha, that was our late night stop on our very first trip to SXM--and we haven't been back since)   

Well, the pilot made up 30 minutes of the hour late, and we made the SJU connection perfectly--luggage too!

Leslie Bruce of Kenny's Car Rental met us at the airport with a 2010 slightly dented Corolla (preferred--we never want to be the first dent!) 

Quick stop at Maho Express for breakfast cereal and booze. Late check-in at Ocean Club (OC) in Cupecoy was easy with Security having the key.  Time for a dip in the OC pool!


Lots of sand on Baby Beach @ OC

OC Grill

Blue Mall

Gourmet Marche
@ Porto Cupecoy

Saturday, June 5: 

Beautiful morning and time to explore the beach.  Lots of sand at Cupecoy! 

Off to Simpson to Scarlet One to rent a modem. It was actually $39.95 per week instead of the advertised $35.00 once you get there plus $5 setup fee.  [We arranged for a Skype number before leaving  home, so we could use the computer for phone calls.  In other years we rented cell phones on the island, but found that expensive for the poor quality and confusion of making calls.  Scarlet worked satisfactorily, but as expected the internet connection slower than home. Calls to USA were clear, even though there was a transmission delay. Also, we could not complete calls where we had to use a menu /touch tone key--the computer keypad did not make the phone tones.  Still, it was a good deal and very inexpensive to call back to kids frequently.] 

Onward to Grand Marche in Cole Bay for stocking up on food.  We like that store better than the one in Phillipsburg: closer, not as crowded, not as big but has what we need.

Back to Cupecoy beach!   Smooth surf and great sand.  Friends Jo and Bob arrive from NC.

Utility construction along Rhine Road from Blue Mall to Atlantis

   Is this really the remnants of Speed 2 Movie?  Marigot harbor.

OC Landing with plenty of sand.

Sunday, June 6: 

Orient Beach!!  Beautiful as always.   Cupecoy beach in the evening.

Monday, June 7: 

Phillipsburg to buy camera since ours was not doing well. 

Back to Cupecoy beach (lots of sand at Baby Beach and quite deserted) ... then we need a nap! 

We overslept and Jo and Bob had to wake us at 6PM.  We had invited all the folks staying at Ocean Club for pizza, and they were all waiting!  Great pizza by Papa Dan’s near the medical school behind Atlantis casino.

Tuesday, June 8:

Back to Orient after side trip to Oyster Pond.  (We were so early that we decided to revisit the beautiful back road through Quarter d'Orleans along Gallion Bay.)   Great drive and views.

Joined at Orient by Jo, Bob, May, Bill. 

Back and shopped at the new Gourmet Marche at Porto Cupecoy.  It is really nice.   Dinner at Ocean Club Grill with Jo and Bob.  Salads are fantastic!  Jayne and Ken do a great job--great to have the grill operating again.

The Road to Orient is coming right along.....

These are in full bloom!

This is why she always wins at dominos.

Wednesday, June 9: 

Cupecoy and Don's grilled peppers/onions/mushrooms lunch with Jo and Bob.  Another great dinner at Ocean Club Grill.

Thursday, June 10: 

 Errands.  Tried new Market Garden grocery in Simpson at Billy Folly Road just east of drawbridge.  Wow, really nice and closer than Grand Marche. 

Looked for Beachside Villas near Karactors, but it must be on the Beacon Hill side (yes).

Our TTOL meet and greet party at Ocean Club Grill.  Yea! What a wonderful group of about 30 new and existing friends.  Ken and Jayne stayed open this week for this party... thank you

Waiting for more pics from JazzGal have arrived!



Friday, June 11:

Peggy and Paul's Cruise/Snorkel trip!  Wow, what fun!  Arranged for taxi through Peggy and Paul's reservation.  The dock is in Oyster Pond, and we did not want to drive home after drinking that great rum punch and open bar!  Clean SUV arrived with Alvin to pick us up and deliver us right up to the specific pier. Very reasonable at $40 for the two of us round trip from the opposite side of the island. 

Great snorkeling, ample lunch for hungry swimmers, truly open bar, and the silly, healthy fun ritual of a mud bath!  With 10 other great folks and fantastic crew Peggy and Paul, we went out around the "back" (east) side of Tintamarre Island, the NE coast to Anse Marcel (gorgeous snorkeling), remote beaches, picnic at Happy Beach, Baie Rouge swim, around Baie Longue, past Cupecoy, Mullet, holding a while to let a plane land over us at Sunset Beach Bar, then back around to Phillipsburg and back to Oyster Pond.


Blue Lagoon at Tintamarre

Happy Bay


Baie Rouge Arch for a break

Riding the waves

La Samanna

Dany's @ Cupecoy


Baby Beach at Ocean Club

Dropping off passengers for the ship

From the Sapphire 4th floor balcony

Saturday, June 12:

Having to move, ugh!  Going to Sapphire for our second week for the first time.  Jo and Bob were here the first week and had several days without hot water.  We've heard other building complaints in previous years, but we are eternal optimists, the price is right, and it's next door to Ocean Club and Cupecoy! 

We got room 344 (3rd bldg, 4th floor, 4th room), the newer of the buildings, great ocean view and ample supplies in the kitchen.

We had the hot tub water changed.  (How often do they change it on their own?) 

Our friends Steve and MaryLou arrived and are also in Sapphire building 3.

Overall, we had no problems at Sapphire--just needed a friendlier staff at the front desk.



Sunday, June 13:

Orient!  Lunch at Andy&Cheryl's of our favorite places. Cheryl and Adrian were there with their wonderful smiles.  Andy and Cheryl have remodeled the place, making it much larger and airy.  Fantastic food as always!

Monday, June 14:

Phillipsburg for shopping at Rima's  etc. 

Beach time at Cupecoy. 

Big group dinner at Jo and Bob's along with Bill and May, Sandy and Bud, Steve and MaryLou.  Always great food with Bill's steaks and "pot luck," but the best part is the laughter and the conversation!

(Sorry about the pictures of the party...getting used to the settings on the new camera.  Hopefully someone else took some better ones and will send them)


Tuesday, June 15: 

Marigot--Ft. Louis. Absolutely gorgeous panoramic views! I can't believe this is our 8th trip to SXM and we never came up to the Fort before!  Definitely worth it. 

Lunch at our favorite spot:  Tropicana in the harbor.  Incredible salads, real French fries (!), love that carrot soup, and that very special surprise touch: homemade banana rhum cordial! 

Onward to check the unique view of Simpson Bay from the pool deck of Summit Resort.  Then to Sunset Beach Bar to watch the planes come in and get “free” drinks! : ) 

Home to Cupecoy for beach siesta zzzzzz after my drinks! Evening at Sugar Cane Cafe and Atlantis Casino. 



Wednesday, June 16: 

Mullet beach -- we haven't been there in a few years and found it absolutely beautiful and calm. Rented chairs and umbrella from Franke aka "Poker."  Food available but we went back to Sapphire to grab sack lunches and stay longer at the beach. 

Linda decided to swim from the south end of Mullet beach to past Ocean Club's area of Cupecoy (Baby Beach), a distance Google Earth says is .7 mile.  Don and friends had to lug all the stuff and get the car back!   Jo, Bob and the group were all there at Cupecoy, so we had an impromptu reunion once we all arrived ("one if by land, two if by sea...")  The surf was stronger in Cupecoy,

We went to dinner at Cheri's Cafe in Maho:  fun entertainment and good food that we wanted our friends to experience on their first trip to SXM.  Ramon, Ivan, and the Sweet Chocolate group always put on a great show.  "Hot Sauce" was our requested waiter.



Thursday, June 17: 

Took friends to airport at 5:30 AM.  Concerned about how much more rain the lowlands road through golf course can handle, since water has been standing there past two days.  Storm east of St. Lucia is moving in earlier than predicted.  Called AA and moved our flights up, so going to MIA Thursday afternoon to overnight at MIA airport hotel.  Missed additional beach time Thursday, but....

Friday, June 18: 

So glad we stayed at the airport hotel with a 6:30 AM flight!  We were through DFW and back to SAT by 11 AM!  Our original Friday flight from SXM was delayed 3 hours, and we would have missed our MIA connection to DFW and probably not have made it back home until Saturday! 

Good that we watched the weather forecasts!  Heavy rains were intermittent through Friday and beyond, as our friends in SXM now report.   Jo and Bob did make it back after the Spirit strike on Saturday.

Great to be back home.  Have our home week 23 at OC and working on reserving week 24.  

Next trip will be
June 5-20, 2011


Observations and Hints

Telephone Service Sprint had no service on our phones.  Used Skype on computer WIFI.  $6/month and about 2 cents per minute to States.   Did not work well to call SXM numbers with Skype.
Traffic Not really too bad.   The new airport road helps and the runway is being lengthened.
Weather Wind was variable.  There were quick showers, several times per night, most days. 
Restaurants Tropicana was excellent as always.  Andy&Cheryl's is a joy.  The Sugar Cafe at Atlantis has a great selection of food at reasonable prices.  Cheri's is always fun.   The little Pizza cafe Papa Dan's near the Summit and the Medical University has great, large pizzas.
$$$ Took cash and only used MC at Marche and for car.  Left with $1600 and came back with $200.  That includes tips, gifts, and incidentals (and rum).    There were more restaurants open this year in Marigot.  We cooked in our OC and Sapphire unit some meals.
Flights and Luggage Used AA mileage miles (35,000 each).  Booked 330 days out.  Came home early because of expected rain on Friday the 18th
Crime We did not witness nor were affected by any crime.  There were practically no cliff boys or any one using the Cupecoy Baby Beach.   Very nice to have it to ourselves.
Shopping Rima's in Phillipsburg is still the best place to shop for island clothing and souvenirs.

Grande Marche on the Cole Bay Road to Marigot is the nicest place to buy groceries, but the new Gourmet Marche in Porto Cupecoy is handy and nice.  The Market Garden is also a great place in Simpson Bay.

The Sapphire store is still really the closest for some things.

Mosquitos There are plenty of them around.  We use deet when going out early or late.