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Barbados, St. Martin and some days at sea

During Christmas eve dinner several angels paraded through the restaurant singing a Swedish carol and carrying lit candles – lovely!

On Christmas day Santa arrived at the Veranda cafe at 8:00 am. We understood he was a bit hungover. In any event we did not make it.

We spent the day sunning on deck and sailing past St. Lucia and its magnificent Petons. We met a couple a year ago from Miami who told us how much they’d enjoyed St. Lucia – its always good to put a face to a name:

The Petons, St. Lucia
The Petons, St. Lucia as seen from sea

We had a nice Christmas dinner and turned in.

Our next day in Barbados was greatly enhanced by the generosity of our friends Helen and Graham who we have met onboard and who own a beachfront property on the island. They have a car here and we retrieved it and they dropped Mel and I off at the Blue Monkey restaurant and bar for a morning at the beach. This was really nice, and we found our own little stretch with shade and a nice place to swim:

Beach on Barbados
Beach near the Blue Monkey, west coast of Barbados

Graham had suggested lunch at the Sandy Lane Golf Club, and they picked us back up around 2:00 pm. This was a nice place to eat lunch with magnificent views and excellent food.

Lunch on Barbados
Lunch at the Sandy Lane Golf Club – what a view!

They then toured the island with us in their car. The east coast with powerful surf and scenic coastline is quite the contrast to the calm west coast:

East Coast of Barbados
The Atlantic Coast of Barbados – powerful surf and cliffs. We saw some surfers out here this day and it was well overhead.

After a day at sea, we anchored off of Marigot, St. Martin on the 28th. Walked around town a bit. Got a taxi to Grand Case which was small and lovely and serene, especially compared with Marigot. This  town is situated on a crescent bay with white coral sand and turquoise waters. We watched Frigate birds fishing just off the beach – they are beautiful -  black with long, angular wings and long beaks. They fish by soaring over their prey and then diving down to, but not into, the water and scoop up prey fish with their beaks. They seem to have to toss them around a bit before they can ingest them, and I estimate a 50% loss during this maneuver.

We had lunch at Le Tastevin ‘seaside gourmet restaurant.’ The attraction of St. Martin is the combination of Caribbean blue and French cuisine. An excellent lunch of fresh Mahimahi grilled and served with sweet potato puree and herbed butter. We had a half bottle of French champagne and overlooked the ocean, beach, the Frigate birds and Anguilla in the distance. A very enjoyable afternoon indeed!

Grande Case, St. Martin
Grande Case, St. Martin. View between two beach-front buildings along the main (i.e. only) drag.

Lunch table, Grande Case, St. Martin
The view from our lunch table at Le Tastevin restaurant, Grande Case, St. Martin

We took a taxi back to town and looked around a bit more then returned to the oasis that is our ship.

On the morning of the 29th we anchored off a small island near Virgin Gorda where we had a beach barbeque like the one we had a couple of weeks ago on Hunting Caye. That was a tough act to follow, but it was nice there. There were some incredible yachts anchored here. Our friend Graham lusts after the 80 ft + sail boats of which there were two or three examples. Large motor yachts also.

Anchor Bay, Virgin Gorda, BVI
The bay at which we anchored, Virgin Gorda, BVI. The Seabourn Legend is the largest ship in the bay, but not by much!

I expressed my displeasure with the chief purser the night before regarding the fact that they had canceled the shore excursion to ‘The Baths’, a national park on Virgin Gorda. An extended family is on board and the matriarch expressed her displeasure as well, evidently in a more effective manner, as we learned that morning that the ship had freed a tender to take some of us back to Virgin Gorda where we could make private tour arrangements. Anyhow we did get to go there and snorkel among the coves and rocks and bright tropical fish.

The Baths, Virgin Gorda, BVI
At The Baths, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Another journey is coming to an end. Not just our cruise, but that of our dear and mighty hound Ras. We hope she will make it until we get back to California on the night of the 2nd of January. She has been an inspiration in my life…

Happy New Year one and all!  May peace prevail on Earth.

-Steve

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