The three-week long party known as Carnival drew to a close on Tuesday. We spent Monday doing some shopping and provisioning, dropping off laundry, and giving Beatitude a long-overdue bath. We also had Beatitude’s bottom cleaned once again, allowing for adequate water flow through all the raw water intakes (some of which were plugged with growth). On Tuesday, we did a little more shopping and returned to our favorite French bistro in St. Martin, O Plongeoir, for lunch.
After lunch, we picked up our laundry and then drove over to Maho Beach, which is one of the best places in the world to watch planes take off and land. At the Princess Juliana Aiport, planes zoom just over the beach and come in incredibly low for landing. We arrived late in the day and only saw one sizable jet land, although several smaller planes did.
On Tuesday evening, we hopped back in the rental car for the short drive to Philipsburg for the closing ceremonies of Carnival. The highlight of the evening was the burning of King Momo. Carnival is, of course, a time of revelry, partying, drinking, dancing, celebrating and other mischief-making. King Momo is the king of the festival, so his burning signifies that all the partying and mischief has come to an end. In some countries, there is an actual human who is designated to be King Momo for Carnival. In others, a large paper-mache doll in the form of a king is paraded around as King Momo. Fortunately, since he was to be burned on this night, Sint Maarten chooses the fake Momo. We went early to get a good parking spot and people-watched the time away until King Momo was set aflame just before midnight. We probably won’t stay up ’til midnight to see such a thing again, but for this one time, it was well worth it.
On Wednesday morning we checked out of the marina and made our way beneath the Simpson Bay drawbridge at 10:30 a.m., on the way to St. Barts. In keeping with our usual traveling conditions, the wind was directly on the nose at 14-15 knots and the seas of were 2-4 feet. It was sloppy and a little uncomfortable, but a short 18 miles later we had dropped anchor just outside the harbor of Gustavia on St. Barts.
We took Dalí into the inner harbor, tied up next to the Capitainerie, and checked into the country. Unlike any other place we’ve visited in our cruising adventures, the process was entirely computerized. It was pretty easy except for using the French keyboard in which certain letters were inexplicably moved to hidden spots. After checking in, we walked a few blocks along the waterfront, ate at a nice French restaurant for a late lunch, and then returned to Beatitude for the evening.