Friday, January 30, 2009

Yesterday in St. Martin & Sint Maarten

Yesterday we went over to Marigot on the French side of St. Martin to see the charter yacht ALOHA MALOLO who graciously delivered a few packages to us from St. Thomas. DVDs from Amazon, and our new electric motor. Thanks, Erik!

We noticed that the number of yachts anchored in Marigot were way down, probably due to the new anchoring fees. Usually there would be boats from the marina almost to the bridge channel. Yesterday they didn't even pass the resorts! Most of the boats that are anchored there have French flags. They are charged half the rate of foreign flagged vessels.

Upon returning to Simpson Bay, we passed under the Dutch bridge at 5:30pm just as the yachts were entering the lagoon. There were quite a few. I wouldn't be surprised if it was an exodus from Antigua, following Perseus. In fact, Salute a 184-foot sistership, was amongst the group.

I don't know why, but there were two Coast Guard "dinghies" stationed in the channel for this bridge opening.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Salute to s/v PERSEUS in St Maarten

This morning's Dutch bridge opening in St. Maarten was quite moving... As the sailing yacht PERSEUS entered the lagoon everyone saluted the yacht with their horns. It lasted about 5 minutes.

Here's a photo of the 163-foot, Perini Navi charter yacht Perseus from the 2008 St. Barths Bucket Race from the Monaco Eye website.

s/v PERSEUS used by permission,
( kindly granted us permission to use this photo. Please do not copy.)

As most of you probably already know, the Australian 38-year-old yacht skipper Drew Gollan was fatally shot in Antigua last week. You can read about this tragic incident in Latitude 38's online magazine... CLICK HERE

Our sincere condolences to all...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sunny St. Maarten

My last post was "Wintry Washington" where my brother lives, so today I'm showing where I live. This photo was taken about 20 minutes ago on our way back to the boat. Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten.

I'm NOT wearing socks :)

... I just noticed that one of today's Deal of the Day is an IceDozer Plus Ergonomic Ice Scraper. Definitely not necessary here, but if you need one click on the LINK and go for it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wintry Washington

This morning my brother who lives in Eastern Washington State sent this photo that his wife, Laura, took the other day.

Notice the ice-covered plants due to the freezing fog... brrrrrrrrrr!

This hawk was perched on one of their very popular bird feeding stands... hoping for some tender tidbits of his own, I bet!

My brother felt good that it was 16ºF this morning because they had forecast 9ºF.

It's in the 80's here in St. Maarten.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meeting tonight about Marigot St. Martin fees

There will be a meeting tonight, Thursday January 22, 2009, at the "Le Village" restaurant at the Marina Port La Royale (the one inside the lagoon) to discuss the new fees for anchoring in Marigot Bay, French St. Martin.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Watch Obama's Presidential Inauguration on web

Lifehacker has a good post this morning of sites covering the US presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.

CLICK => Lifehacker's Guide to Catching the Inauguration from Anywhere

Maybe we'll be able to watch history in the making live on the internet aboard So It Goes while at anchor in St. Maarten. It will definitely be warmer and less crowded than Washington D.C.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cat Blog Friday: Buffy & Willow

I haven't posted a photo of Buffy & Willow for awhile...

Buffy has a big smile for the camera :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CULEBRITA Puerto Rico closed to visitors

Just read this in today's (Jan.14,2009) eTN and thought some of you might like to know about it...
Puerto Rico bars tourists from Culebrita while it clears US military ordinance


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A tiny Puerto Rican island popular with tourists has been closed to allow contractors to sweep its beaches for buried ammunition.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has hired a private company to scour the natural reserve for leftover projectile and bomb fragments. The U.S. military used the island for bombing practice from 1930 to 1975.

The Corps said Friday that Florida-based contractor USA Environmental hired a biologist to monitor any turtle nests that might be disturbed.

Culebrita lies east of mainland Puerto Rico and is popular with snorkelers and divers. It is home to the ruins of one of the oldest lighthouses in the Caribbean.
No mention of how long it will be closed for.

Monday, January 12, 2009

More about Marigot St. Martin fees

Today's St. Maarten newspaper (The Daily Herald - January 12, 2009) has another article concerning the new anchoring fees for Marigot Bay, French St. Martin.
Métimer calls for discussions on anchorage fee collection

MARIGOT--French side Marine Trades Association Métimer has called for a 30-day suspension on collection of anchorage fees to allow room for negotiations with the Port Authority amid fears the new fees are too expensive and may influence boats to visit other islands instead. The fees were implemented on January 1, 2009...
Read the entire article: CLICK HERE

Sunday, January 11, 2009

And we thought St. Martin was bad... Sarasota anchoring

And we thought things were bad here in Dutch & French St. Martin... At least we are allowed to anchor for more than three days!
On Monday afternoon, the Sarasota City Commissioners approved an ordinance criminalizing anchoring in the bay for longer than 72 hours.

Boaters risk having their vessels seized and having to spend 60 days in jail if they spend more than three days "on the hook."

By a one-vote margin, the City of Sarasota joined the ranks of the most boater-unfriendly cities in the nation...
Read the article in the Pelican Press of Sarasota, Florida

Another destination to cross off the list :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

St. Barths rate hike!

I think it is contagious! Just read an article in the January 9, 2009 'Lectronic Latitude 38 (click here). The author says (about St. Barths):
To give you an example of how absurd it's become, as of January 1, we're being charged nearly $900 U.S. a month for the privilege of anchoring our Leopard 45 catamaran. Not for docking or mooring her, mind you, but for anchoring her anywhere around the island. This marks the second year in a row that the rates were jacked up approximately 50% at the height of the season.
Read this issue for more info.

I'd love to see the official rate sheet for St. Barths. Perhaps one of our charter or cruising friends can pass one along?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Newpaper article about Marigot anchoring fees

There was an article in today's (Jan.9,2009) "The Daily Herald", a Sint Maarten newspaper, concerning the new fees on the French side of St. Martin. The link is:

Port applies anchorage fees for Marigot Bay

MARIGOT--All vessels anchoring in Marigot Bay must now pay anchorage fees that were implemented effective January 1, Ports Authority Director Alberic Ellis disclosed Thursday.

Anchorage fees were not fully collected in the past and were applied mainly to cruise ships, although all vessels were required to pay the clearing-in fee.

Ellis said the new anchorage fees were necessary for the better development of the bay and in keeping with new infrastructure projects, including expansion of marinas for megayachts and yachts in general. The fees will also be used to assist the Collectivité which up to now collects nothing for garbage disposal from yachts.

The fees currently apply to Marigot Bay, but discussions are ongoing about also implementing their collection in Grand Case Bay.

The rate structure is based on the size of vessels, the larger vessels paying more than the smaller vessels. The size categories range from vessels of eight metres in length up to 75 metres. Vessels have the option of paying a one-day rate or a different rate for stays longer than one day.

The one-day anchorage fee (plus the clearance fee) for all vessels 8-13 metres is 20 euros, 13-18 metres 30 euros, 18-23 metres 40 euros, and so on.

Longer stays for non-residents are charged on a per metre per day basis. For example, a 13-metre vessel will pay an anchorage fee of 25 euro cents per metre for a charge of about three euros per day for up to a three-day stay. For stays longer than three days, the rate goes up to 35 euro cents. St. Martin residents are charged 13 euro cents.

“We believe the fees are reasonable and come with all the services,” Ellis explained. “Efforts are currently being put in place to provide more security on the dock. We have already installed surveillance cameras to watch over dinghies and more cameras will be added. The Collectivité is also looking into improving the lighting on the waterfront, and on the dock in particular where the dinghies are tied up. There is a technical problem there which is being addressed.”

Some 150,000 euros will also be spent on refurbishing the deck of the waterfront dock, while Semsamar will also be investing in improvements to Marina Port La Royale in 2009 and 2010

Ellis said the introduction of anchorage fees in Marigot should not come as any surprise, as they were applied in harbours all over the world.

“We understand for quite some time anchorage fees were not charged, but St. Martin is changing and evolving,” he said. “If we are to continue giving the level of service expected of us, that comes with a price. That said, we fully recognise the yachting and marine industry’s significant contribution to our economy. Naturally we want to keep St. Martin/St. Maarten as an important port of call.”

Ellis and First Vice-President Daniel Gibbs stressed they did not want the fees to be viewed as a tax on cruising yachtsmen, but as a participation fee to continue ensuring that the necessary infrastructure can be put in place.

“It’s not fair that only the population pays for upgrades in infrastructure and new facilities. It’s reasonable for yachts to contribute and our prices are well below the other islands,” Gibbs added.

The Ports Authority has no jurisdiction over anchoring in Simpson Bay Lagoon and only collects the clearance fees.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

New anchoring fees Marigot St. Martin

Yesterday we went to Marigot and spoke with the official who clears the boats in & out, rather than depending on rumors that have been going through the SXM boating community.

New fees for French St. Martin, Marigot Bay as of January 1, 2009.

1 euro is currently about US$1.40

Clearance fee: 5 euros

Initial administrative fee includes first day anchoring charges:
  • 8 to 13 meters: 20 euros
  • 13 to 18 meters: 30 euros
  • 18 to 23 meters: 40 euros
  • 23 to 28 meters: 50 euros
  • 28 to 33 meters: 60 euros
  • 33 to 38 meters: 70 euros
  • 38 to 43 meters: 100 euros
  • 43 to 50 meters: 120 euros
  • 50 to 75 meters: 130 euros
  • more than 75 meters: 150 euros

Non-resident boats:
  • Days 2 & 3: 0.25 euros per meter per day
  • Days 4 and thereafter: 0.35 euros per meter per day
  • (they might change this to all days at 0.25 euros/m/day)

Residents of French St. Martin:
  • 0.13 euros per meter per day

No minimum fee. A 10m boat is 20 euros, then 2.50 euros/day for days 2 & 3.
No charge for French lagoon, Grand Case, etc... Only for Marigot Bay.
Based on honor system, but next week they will have a harbour patrol boat to check who is in the bay.

According to a friend of ours, if you need to anchor for a couple of hours in Marigot Bay while waiting for the Sandy Ground bridge to enter the Lagoon, you will not have to pay the fees.

Port Authority Hours:
  • Monday through Friday: 8:00am to Noon, 2:00pm to 4:00pm
  • Saturday: 8:00am to Noon

For times outside of office hours, you may clear in or out at Marina Fort-Louis in Marigot. Their may be an additional charge for this service.

Hope this helps!

Monday, January 05, 2009

French St. Martin - New cruising / anchoring fees

Well, we were warned about this two years ago... The French side of St. Martin has finally instituted their cruising / anchoring fees.

On the SXM cruiser's net, a few boats said that beginning January 1, 2009 that the French side is now charging 0.35 euros per meter per day, along with an administration clearance fee. Someone was complaining that they are 45 feet and being charged 5 euros/day ($7). Not sure if there is a minimum fee. I bet this has made the Dutch side of Sint Maarten very happy.

What we are reporting is only 3rd hand so we intend to go to Marigot and find out for ourselves directly from the horse's mouth. We'll let you know ASAP what the new fee structure is.