This is the 11th post in a series by author Susi Sahlman. I felt this post was particularly relevant since my family and I sailed on Scoobi Too just this past Sunday. Definitely go on a trip with Scoobi Too if you have time while in St. Martin. This post was originally published on Susi’s blog, Sahlman Art Blog. You can check our her beautiful St. Martin themed original artwork here.
February 28, 2018 – Our first time back to Anse Marcel since Irma was for a boat trip. The morning was cool and breezy. Off in the distance, dark clouds loomed with the unmistakable mist of rain. The car barely made the climb as it strained to reach the mountain top. Sections of guardrails were missing at critical points. One false move would send a driver plummeting down in disaster. Descending the other side brought new worries of the cars braking ability. The road’s surface was also wet from a previous shower and it might be slick.
We remembered the year we spent a couple of evenings in a hotel on the hillside above the village of Anse Marcel. The kids were still young. Bill informed me, upon landing on the island, that we didn’t have any reservations — anywhere — and we would just find something as we drove around. Our family of five traversed along, stopping occasionally to see if we could stay, but without success. Things were getting tense by the time we crossed the same mountain into Anse Marcel. Thankfully, we found a room. And the village proved to be a lot of fun, with it’s shops and restaurants. We also enjoyed the best Creme Brûlée ever.
This morning we surveyed the once bustling area — now filled with missing roofs and blown-out, derelict cars. Not much work had been attempted at restoration, although much of the debris was gone. The marina suffered damage with missing docks and ship wrecks.
We checked in at a picnic table in front of one of the few shops left. The restaurant and other businesses were abandoned with garbage. Some contained mattresses and in a former bar/café stood a motorcycle, all untouched since the storm five months prior. A dinghy delivered us to the spacious catamaran out in the bay. From here more destroyed buildings were visible. Except for the marina, the area was eerily void of human activity.
After all the passengers boarded, and we endured a short downpour, we were finally on our way to cross the channel toward Anguilla. The clouds passed as the sun rose over the majestic mountains of St. Martin. We warmed up quickly and so did the collective mood. Our captain carefully watched the cloud formations on either side of the boat. It was the starboard side that gave rise for concern and our destination was amended from Prickly Pear to Meads Bay, on the far northwestern side of Anguilla.
The bay was picturesque, with rock formations to the right — reminiscent of Tintamarre or Cupecoy. Golden layers of limestone with hidden caves jutted out into the sea. Still, I gaze out onto the azure water and hardly believe the color is truly that vivid. Our journey continued to the southwestern side of the island past the Cap Juluca Resort on Maunday’s Bay Beach, where we were invited for another swim. From our vantage point it seemed there was no damage, but the resort was closed and obviously being worked on.
The sun had played hide and seek throughout the entire day while our captain managed to out maneuver any rainfall. On the return trip, St. Martin basked in its warm glow. The mountains shapeliness was revealed and the smaller knolls stood visible in the foreground. It turned out to be a wonderful day and sail.
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