February 4, 2020
Last Tuesday morning I moved Antares to the boatyard. It is located just before the entrance of Pont of Sandy Ground, east from where we had anchored. One just needs to be careful motoring east — it’s quite shallow — until you reach the buoyed channel.
The yard is a family business called Polypat Caribbean owned by Beatrice and Fred, both extremely nice and professional. Knowing that my flight was not until Thursday, they let me stay at the dock for two nights. There is room for only two boats; the other half of the dock was damaged, I presume, during hurricane Irma.
The first thing I did was getting my clearance. The process was nothing like on the Dutch side; very easy and civilized. I walked to a boat store called Ile Marine two minutes away from the yard. There you have a computer where you enter the necessary information, one of the guys working at the store checks your passport and the boat registration, then they print a document that becomes your official clearance. Et voila, less than 10 minutes, all for free or a donation to a charity.
The yard is close to several restaurants and bars. I dined and wined at Tropicana (nice Negronis) and, of course, a classic, “Le Pourquoi pas.” Old sailors with a penchant for alcohol, like me, gather there by 10am.
The town — the country in general — has not recovered yet from the devastation caused by Irma in September 2018. But beyond Irma, you see a country that in principle is part of France, with a very unequal distribution of wealth. Many people live better than the rich in France — along the tourists who fuel the economy —, but the majority do not; many are poor. I understand the Dutch are also making it more difficult for those who land on their side to move to the French side.
After almost three, formidable, weeks with Antares I left on Thursday afternoon. The trip was long but uneventful: St Martin, New York, Istanbul, Beirut. My plane took-off at 5pm (11pm Beirut time), and I landed here at 8:30pm local time. A bit less than 24 hours. All good except that I got the flu. It’s not Corona but still very annoying.
Antares is going to stay at the boatyard for two months and get several jobs done including painting the bottom and the hull. I m going back on April 2nd for a passage to Martinique. Richard will join me and this time he expects to sail. Why Martinique ? My daughters and wife are joining me there for spring break !
In the meantime I have a lot work to do. I also started teaching today…