We sailed overnight from Antigua to Sint Maarten (Dutch) leaving at 1.30 pm and arriving just on light the next day. (to avoid a nasty weather pattern that will develop over the next few days) Good sailing with no surprises and nice wind after the first few hours. Anchored at Simpson Bay (next to the Maltese Falcon)  which is heavily geared to super yachts but found little on shore that would interest the owners so assume that it is all about the crews provisioning and getting parts and work done as the supermarket is excellent and the chandleries enormous. The super yachts come into the lagoon through an opening bridge that is the local amusement centre as some of the huge ones only just scrape (literally sometimes!) through and you prop yourself up at the yacht club bar ready to spot a disaster. We put up with pretty swelly conditions but after a bus trip to Philipsburg to the south we up anchored and moved there – much nicer with lots to do on shore. The big cruise liners stop here and ashore is wall to wall designer label shops (we didn’t see one not represented) and duty free. Lots of nice little beach front bars selling $2 beers and $4 wines where you can lose some time…. no trouble…..Our modem from Simpsons Bay is working here too. Pete has been getting desperate for an Aussie meat pie so he made some – very successful.

My sister Amanda arrived on Monday night (13th) and taxied from the airport to meet us in a restaurant here. Her second visit. We all spent a day messing around Philipsburg (where there is a tablecoth thing going on – King of Tablecloths, Tablecloth World etc??!!) then sailed the next day to Simpsons to take the modem back and buy baguettes then left for Marigot (French) just around the corner. Overnight we decided to go to Anguilla for the night (British). A lovely pretty island with cafes and restaurants manned by ex pats of all breeds. It seems that Anguilla makes it easy to drop out and stay there so long as you make yourself useful and start a business. Mandy and I had a very nice snorkel on some rocks near the boat. All of a sudden it was Saturday and we were back in Marigot for Mandy to get her flight home. She made us some vegan patties for burgers on our last night that I loved but Pete was secretly thinking of his meat pies in the freezer! We had a great time and she managed to get the local handmade chocolates for her gifts and for us to eat.

Mandy had ordered James A Michener’s “Caribbean” for me on my Kindle so Pete and I are reading it avidly. I had read it years and years ago but to read it now in the setting is incredibly good. I must remember to re read the “South Pacific” beforewe come home that way.