Update on Sint Maarten/Saint Martin after the hurricanes

Update on Sint Maarten/Saint Martin after the hurricanes

The Dutch side seems to be recovering better than the French side as of 9th February 2018

By Phil Heaton - 10/02/2018

We can only comment on what we have seen which is around the lagoon on the Dutch side and the lagoon and Marigot on the French side. It appears that the Dutch side has done more in terms of recovery as the lagoon is clear of wrecks or they are well-marked, whereas on the French side there are many more unrecovered wrecks. All the marinas sustained serious damage with boats (and we are talking multi-million £ motor yachts) having sunk in their berths. The yacht club beside the Simpson Bay bridge lost most of its deck, the dock for cruiser dinghies and the dock for club sailing dinghies. They are all being rebuilt but the sea removed a section of land where the deck was sited so that is much reduced in size. The club is busy though and we had a drink there on Sunday.

The main chandleries of Island Water World and Budget Marine in Cole Bay are stocked to the rafters and probably the best stocked in the whole of the Caribbean. People are running their businesses. Restaurants and bars are open: Lagoonies is busy with Happy Hour and Soggy Dollar is open albeit much of Palapa marina where it is located was washed away. The supermarkets are generally well-stocked but it can still be a bit hit and miss. Whilst many buildings are damaged, many are unscathed or not badly damaged.

On the French side things are worse. We are told that most of the large hotels are not yet back in business and the most severe damage is on the east coast where beaches have been washed away, such as Maho Bay on the Dutch side, but we have not toured to see for ourselves.

We were here principally for more provisioning (food, wine and rum), to collect replacement anchor chain for that which we bought a year ago but a section of which quickly rusted, and to replace our gooseneck which was very badly worn. For the latter we had been carrying a spare but used FKG to carry out the work and they were excellent.

We had been recommended to lunch at Little Jerusalem run by a lovely character from Palestine – he has been in Sint Maarten for over 25 years – his kitchen is in a steel container which he chained down in preparation for Irma, and although he lost his awning covering the dining area, he was back in business three days after Irma passed. So, it is a mixed picture but for cruisers, Simpson Bay Lagoon has normal bridge opening times, has a lot of space to anchor and you can get pretty much everything you need.

Illustration courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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