Friday, June 30, 2006

Free WiFi in Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten

We subscribe to a local ISP for our wifi service, but there are times when the system is down and we need to find other means to be connected to the big world out there.

We just discovered that our wonderful French bakery, Le Sucriere (see previous post) next to the FedEx building in Simpson Bay Lagoon, offers free wifi. Sit out on the covered terrace with an excellent cafe and croissant and catch up on your email.

Some other places that offer free wifi in the Lagoon in St. Maarten are:
  • Rick's Cafe
  • McDonald's
  • Coconut Joe's
  • Place across the street from Coconut Joe's
  • Jimbo's at Simpson Bay Marina
  • Some people get free wifi outside of the Soggy Dollar Bar at the Palapa Marina

For an inexpensive, no frills, internet cafe try Moc's computers. Just across the street from Plaza de Lago (Simpson Bay Marina) next to where the Asian Food Store used to be and the Duty Free liquor store. Moc is a nice guy and cheaper than the place in the marina complex.

Don't have much information about the French side of St. Martin. I heard that you can get wifi close to the Port St. Louis marina out in Marigot Bay. Someone told me that you can get wifi as far in the Simpson Bay Lagoon on the French side of St. Martin as Time Out Boatyard (Time Out has a marine flea market the first Saturday of the month during season). There's a service called Orange? Hopefully, you can find more information about it. Let me know!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Yvonne's Laundry in Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten

Many of us would love to have a laundromat where we could wash our own clothes, but unfortunately there really isn't one that I know of anywhere close to the Simpson Bay Lagoon in St. Maarten (the Dutch side of St. Martin).

I now take our clothes to Yvonne's Laundry at Bobby's Boat Yard in Simpson Bay Lagoon, just past the runway extension. They have a long dinghy dock. She charges (July 2006) $8/load to wash, dry and fold. Two years ago, the laundry at Simpson Bay Marina was $12, as was the laundry at Palapa. I don't know recent rates.

I did take our clothes to a place at Portofino Marina that last year charged $9/load ($10 because I'd give the girl a buck). The problem was that three times in a row many of our t-shirts came back with what appeared to be burn holes in them. I know, why did I allow this happen three times...??? What was really bad was that most of the holes were on a fold right at the nipple line, thus making the shirts unwearable in public. We also had a couple of pairs of brand new shorts ruined in this fashion. I was a pleasant customer and always tipped... so I don't think it was revenge. Perhaps cigarettes or cleaning chemical burns? Definitely carelessness was involved...

There use to be a laundromat over at Lagoonies but that has been gone for over a year. It was $3 to wash and the tokens for drying was $3 each. Those machines were really beat anyways. There is supposed to be a new self-serve laundry on the opposite side of where the old one was. An unofficial beta-tester reported that they had some problems to be worked out. It is near the big red building with the sailmaker (nice guy) upstairs. When you get to their stairs, walk across the driveway to the other building and it's around there somewhere... The manager said the laundry is supposed to open when the marina is finished (no date given). So, in reality, a minimum of $6/load and all the waiting around for a machine to open up, and then the wait during the actual wash, dry and fold, it is worth another $2 to have someone do it for you. Your time is worth more than the $2 you are "losing".

Anyway, try Yvonne's at Bobby's Boatyard as she takes very good care of us. Quick turnaround. She does lots of laundry for the American University students up the road. Clothes are put in large, heavy, clear plastic bags which are great for taking the clothes back to the boat in the dinghy.

Just my humble opinion...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lunch at The Boathouse in Simpson Bay Lagoon SXM

We had another excellent lunch today at The Boathouse in Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten. I love their Club Wrap because it has lots of bacon. It comes with a salad and is really a good deal for $6.95. Bob got one of his favorites there, fish and chips.

They do add 15% for service, but that's OK because their service is GOOD! They are attentive, if you ask for a refill they ask everyone if they want a refill (I know... common sense, but rarely seen unfortunately) and the food is good, decent sized portions and "reasonably" priced.

I sometimes get something different but I really like the Club Wrap and it just so happens to be one of the least expensive things on the menu... I really make out... such a deal!

Bob usually gets the fish & chips because he likes them but occasionally will get their lunch special of the day, which is also good.

We must admit that we weren't too thrilled with their hamburgers, but that's OK as they have other choices which we love.

We had a good Blue Cheese & Bacon Hamburger at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club the other day but I think they were $10 with fries...

Peg Leg's burgers are usually good but the service is haphazard. I feel sorry for the waitress. They only have the one waitress at lunch and they are quite busy. Sometimes we get a refill but it also takes a long time to pay and get out of there.

Gunboat Looking for Elvis in St. Martin

When we went to the Island Water World gas dock in the Simpson Bay Lagoon in Sint Maarten this morning, we noticed this 62-foot Gunboat catamaran with the wonderful name of "Looking for Elvis". Earlier this year, there was another interesting boat name... "Elvis the Gecko". I love it!
We were told that Looking For Elvis is a private yacht and not a charter boat.

If you are interested in chartering a Gunboat though, you may wish to look at SAFARI, a 62-foot Gunboat available for charter in the Western Mediterranean this summer 2006. They will be chartering in the Caribbean this coming winter.

Click here to view Safari's electronic brochure.

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters (click here) for more information.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Google Earth

I had so much fun with Google Earth last night. They now have a MAC version which you can use if you have MAC OS 10.3.9 or higher. Hurray!!!

I checked out where my brother lives in Washington State, then I had a fly down to St. Maarten to look at Simpson Bay Lagoon, I then zipped over to Paris to see where I used to work, then cruised on over to check out the marina at Joinville-Le-Pont on the Marne river where we lived for several years... They also had a great view of Le Porte Marly on the river Seine where we lived on a barge before we built Loose Moose.

Some locations have excellent high resolution photographs. You can make out catamarans at anchor in Arrecife, for example. So cool! Thanks Google!!!

You can download Google Earth at:

Saturday, June 24, 2006

St. John, USVI Dinghy Dock Fees at Customs

I recently learned from our friend Kerry, Captain of the sail/ dive charter yacht PROMENADE, that she was charged to use the dinghy dock while checking in to St. John, USVI. I assume this applies to everyone and not just charter boats.

This is what she said "We had to laugh at this one. We thought it was absolutely brilliant. We went to check into the USVI at Cruz Bay, tied our dinghy to the dock as we normally do, cleared in and then returned to the dinghy. A couple guys stopped us outside and said we now had to pay to tie our dinghy up at customs. 60 cents a foot and 60 cents per passenger. Does not matter if you are only there for two minutes. AND there is no way to get there without tying up your dinghy somewhere, so they have you. The same fee is also in effect at the dinghy docks behind the ferries at Mongoose junction. Only $8.40, but brilliant I thought! Apparently a lot of the marine ports authority fees are going up in the USVI including shipping your vehicle back and forth on the ferries. Everywhere we turn fees rise and our charter rates are about the same as they were in 1998."

Thanks for the info Kerry and the beautiful photo of this colorful fish!

For more information about chartering the trimaran PROMENADE, which is an excellent choice for family charters, groups of friends, and diving enthusiasts, CLICK HERE to view their electronic brochure.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

First Named Tropical Storm of Season 2006

It's official! This morning's 11:00am forecast has upgraded Tropical Depression Number One to Tropical Storm Alberto.

For more information, visit the web site for the National Hurricane Center / Tropical Prediction Center : CLICK HERE

So it goes...

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Well, it's officially that time of year but I hope Dr.Gray and his hurricane forecast will be proven wrong and it will be a better (calmer) H-Season than predicted.

Tropical Depression Number One was issued this morning, Saturday June 10, 2006 at 08:00am. What a way to start the day.

Well, at least it should provide some motivation to get our buns in gear and get out of Dodge :-)

I realize that our part of the Northeastern Caribbean (Virgin Islands and St. Maarten / St. Martin) has been relatively calm for the last couple of years, while the previously safe areas farther south have been hit, but this summer we are planning to go south. Just feels right. We want to visit Martinique, where we made our transatlantic landfall ten years ago, and explore the Grenadines.

Click HERE to view 2005's Storm Tracks from weather website.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

New BBQ for So It Goes

Yesterday while at Budget Marine in St. Maarten, Bob noticed a price sticker of $130 on a BBQ box. We couldn't believe it! I hate to say that $130 seems reasonable, but a BBQ we had been considering, although too pricey, was $330. We asked to look at it and decided that we should buy it. We'd prefer to wait a day or two before making the purchase but we have had many experiences that you must buy it when you see it because IF they get another unit in, it'll probably take months (unless special ordered).

So, we are now the proud & happy owners of a bright, new, shiny Force 10 propane BBQ.

We didn't have time to go to the store, and this evening we are probably going to a movie... Perhaps tomorrow we'll go and get something to grill. MMMMmmmmmmm... Bullwinkle is looking forward to it, too!

Now I have another project on "the list"... a cover for the new BBQ.

Have a good one!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

New French Bakery on St. Maarten Lagoon (sxm)

LA SUCRIERE is a French bakery with terrace seating. They are located on the Simpson Bay Lagoon (Dutch side) and they are right next to the FedEx building across the way from Budget Marine. They do have cleats to tie up your dinghy but it is a bit shallow and there are objects in the water so we tie up next door at the FedEx dock and just walk around to the road and enter in their front door.

It is a very nice atmosphere to have coffee and a croissant, plus a pain au chocolat, out on the terrace. Besides having the normal French breakfast pastries and quiches, they also have bread (slicer too!), cakes, and tartes.

I haven't tried their eclairs yet... perhaps tomorrow!