Ben and Kathy met up with Ariana and Ross at Princess Juliana Airport in Sint Maarten and proceeded from there to Captain Oliver's Marina on Oyster Pond Bay (now in St. Martin) to find old friend and colleague Pete and his wife Jessica waiting to board our Sunsail 44 for a week of adventure in the Caribbean. Because the swells were running large out of the north, and also because we needed a supermarket (EPIC FAIL on the part of our supposed provisioner, Le Grand Marché), we headed off first to St. Barth's. After two nights there we headed back up to St. Martin via Tintamarre. Then up to Anguilla for a night. Finally, two nights back in St. Martin before we headed home.
Weather was gorgeous, all the provisioning worked out great, in large part due to mega help and cheffage from Pete. We had grand and glorious meals aboard, as well as one great one at Le Pressoir in Grand Case. Steak, chicken, super-fancy baby carrots and leeks (obtained in the gourmet shop in Gustavia on St. B's), shrimp stir-fry. Plus spaghetti and salad the first night, not so bad!
Snorkeling in these islands was overall not as good as in the BVI, but there were a few spectacular highlights nevertheless: On our first entry to the water in Ile Fourchue, Kathy and I spotted a small nurse shark; Kathy also found a moray eel. Swimming back out to the boat on Tintamarre, Kathy found and followed a spotted eagle ray, which got nervous after a bit and lit out for the surface, where it jumped 4 times before disappearing. We got to see this from the boat, quite spectacular!
The sailing in the islands is good - much more open water and many fewer boats than the BVI - but the fact that St M/Sint M, St B, and Anguilla are all separate countries makes travel a bit more of a headache, as one has to plan around clearing customs here, there, and everywhere. We managed well enough, though.
All in all a great trip!