Monday, May 04, 2009

French St. Martin - Checking In - May 2009

We checked in to the French side of St. Martin this morning (see photos below). I thought I was being very clever because last time we were here I got a few extra clearance forms so I could fill them in beforehand and be prepared when checking in.

Well, they no longer use the paper forms. They have two computers in the office for cruisers to use instead. You might want to type with two fingers and do the old "hunt & peck" technique as it is a French keyboard (AZERTY not QWERTY) and there are quite a few differences, such as numbers are upper case, punctuation is different (the M is a ? in AZERTY). Quite fun because I used French keyboards when I worked in Paris. Even though it has been over 10 years, I still sometimes type French words like restaurant wrong because of the muscle memory of using French AZERTY keyboards.

Anyway... We had a pleasant surprise. We were only charged US$8.00.

Back in January of this year, we were told that everyone, regardless of where you anchored, had to pay a 20 euro entrance fee which also includes the first day of anchoring in Marigot Bay. Today we were told that the 20 euro entrance fee is only for boats staying in Marigot Bay, along with the 25 eurocents/meter/day anchoring charge, but for boats anchoring anywhere else (NOT Marigot Bay) you only have to pay the $8.00 in/out fee.

Also, if you anchor in Marigot to wait for the bridge to pass into the lagoon, or if you anchor to do the administrative procedures, you are not charged the 20 euros for that.

Where to check in, Marigot, St. Martin...

Marigot St Martin Gare Maritime
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This is a photo from the waterfront of the Gare Maritime which is close to the Fort Louis Marina. This is also the dinghy dock for Marigot Bay. Tie up to the right where the flags are to keep out of the way of the ferries. There are some dumpsters for trash towards the right, as well. You'll see it when you get there. Remember to lock up your dinghy.

Marigot St Martin Gare Maritime from parking lot
[ Click image to enlarge photo ]
Here is a picture of the Gare Maritime from the parking lot. Walk down to the end (when facing the building, to the right) of the building, hang a left and you'll see the door for office where you clear in and out.

Marigot St Martin Office to clear in - Knock on the door
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Voilà! Vous êtes ici! The "Bureaux: Régie du Port". Don't worry as there's always some taxi guys around who will help you if you aren't sure where to go. Knock on the door to let the person in the office know you are there.

We always ask to have our passports stamped. One reason is because the Dutch Immigration police sometimes stop the buses and ask for passports, so it is best to be able to prove that you have checked in to the French side and when :)

Enjoy life on the French side!

Also see newer post: St Martin - Clearing In and Out on the French side