Delta 2 Trip Update Day 3 – Eric, Program Director
The night in Marigot was quite windy with occasional rain squalls, but by mid-morning the skies were clearing and the breeze blowing fresh. We enjoyed eggs and English muffins for breakfast, then learned how to bring the anchor up and tie more knots. PJ pulled up her anchor and headed north up the channel. Lucy on Arwen steered out of the harbor, and Liz was on the helm for sail raising. The wind was piping at 20-25 knots and the seas had built up overnight, which made for some very exciting and wet upwind sailing. The spray flew over the bow and soaked those in the cockpit as we sped over one wave and into the next.
Both boats practiced tacking upwind, and stayed close at the northern end of the channel. We cut between Spanish Rocks and the north point of St. Martin, and then aimed towards Tintemarre. Though the mooring field is in the lee of Tintemarre, the swells made mooring difficult, and both boats took several tries to get on the ball. Once we were settled, we ate a late lunch and then went ashore to explore this unique island.
Originally formed as a reef thousands of years ago, Tintemarre has since risen out of the water as a long and low limestone island. Its unusually flat terrain made it well suited as a seaplane base – in fact it was the location of the first seaplane base in the eastern Caribbean. Abandoned long ago, there is still a long clearing (now covered in brush) where aircraft once landed. The remnants of old foundations still stand, and even a few rotary aircraft engines litter the area. It’s amazing how much nature has taken over in the past 50 years!
After exploring the island, everyone went back to boats for showers and dinner of Mahi Mahi. The anchorage is still a bit rocky from the passing front last night, but is all the better for putting us to sleep. Tomorrow we leave St. Martin and civilization behind and head south for Ile Fourche, a tiny but mountainous deserted island 15 miles away.