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Old 07-02-2015, 15:38   #1
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Saint Martin low down

G'day. We are headed to st martin in a day or two from st barts and wondering about the best way to arrive. Looking at the guide book I'm thinking of heading in through the Dutch bridge at 1730 and anchoring near witches tit on the French side before checking in with the frenchies the next day. Or are there moorings available near there? Also I remember reading something about checking in not at the ferry terminal but elsewhere? We will spend a week or so there taking a look around the island and such.
Also we may need a marine electrician to check our batteries so if anyone can recommend a decent one that would be sweet.
Ps does the road bridge open just after the Dutch bridge?
Thanks and cheers
Monte
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Old 07-02-2015, 16:43   #2
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Re: Saint Martin low down

Hi Monte - in all my visits to SXM I have never entered the lagoon and have no regrets and no intention to do so in the future. Some cruisers do nothing else but enter the lagoon as soon as they get there and don't leave until they leave the island. But I like to run my water maker every day..... Technically, you have to pay a fee to traverse the Dutch Bridge but I know lots of cruisers who have never paid anything. Go figure.

Clearing in on the Dutch side is way more expensive than on the French side and goes in increments of weeks and is according to your vessel length. It costs me US$40/week for anchoring outside the lagoon or just being there. If you clear in on the Dutch side they will ask you whether you will enter the lagoon and charge you more if you intend to or have done so already. Many cruisers enter the lagoon thru the Dutch bridge and get to the French side and clear in on the French side at Port Royale and never pay anything to the Dutch. Cheaper and easier, but I'm not sure whether this is completely legal. Costs on the French side was either 5 or 7 euro, I can't remember, for as long as you stay.

The new swing bridge is coordinated with the Dutch bascule bridge, as you would expect. For an "outgoing" bascule bridge, the swing bridge opens 15 minutes earlier and vice versa on an "incoming" bascule bridge. There is a bascule bridge on the French side, but it's a lot narrower. Your boat should be fine. I can't remember the Dutch bridge opening times, but I never needed to know them except to watch the parade in and out.

If anchoring in Marigot Bay, expect to be hassled by the harbour guys who will demand you "check in" at the customs office on the ferry dock so they can charge you mooring fees applicable only for anchoring in Marigot Bay - no where else on the French side. Go figure again. Someone reported their boat was destroyed during the hurricane last year and maybe this stopped the hassling. Regardless, most cruisers ignore this and clear in at the customs office at the Captainerie in Port Royale. Dink to the waterfront, lock your dink and walk thru town to the inner harbour. Find the Captainerie, which used to be at the end of the inner dock, but I hear has now moved, perhaps. Or dink in to the lagoon via the French bridge, turn left and go as far as you can, looking for the Captainerie.

Best VHF cruisers net in the Carib is run by Mike of Shrimpy's Laundry on channel 10 at 0730, I think, X Sunday. Very entertaining and informative.

Enjoy! Good prices at both Island Water World and Budget Marine for boat stuff. This island is no place for recovering alcoholics....

Edit: I've been boarded twice by the Dutch Coast Guard. Once in Simpson Bay, while anchored, and once down at Saba, while heading to the mooring field. They were professional and we had no issues - because we were fully legal. But if we were NOT fully legal, e.g., had the proper clearance papers, who knows what would have happened? Just stay legal.

Dave
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Old 07-02-2015, 16:58   #3
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Re: Saint Martin low down

Thanks Dave. Weather mid this week shows 15K from N then E then S then W then N then E! I figure the lagoon might be a nice place to hang out and get some stuff done and maybe have a look around the island if there's something interesting to see there. Thanks for the previous tips. Nonsuch was great for kiting and generally doing not much for about 10 days. Pretty nice snorkeling here at Anse de Columbier, had a nice close encounter with a spotted eagle ray today
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Old 07-02-2015, 17:30   #4
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Re: Saint Martin low down

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Originally Posted by monte View Post
Weather mid this week shows 15K from N then E then S then W then N then E! I figure the lagoon might be a nice place to hang out and get some stuff done and maybe have a look around the island if there's something interesting to see there.
Sounds like a front making it that far down. Yes, the lagoon would be a good place to set the hook and watch the wind clock around. Outside you might have to move around the island with the wind, in and out of customs, etc. Another good location could be Isle Pinel on the NE coast. Almost 360 protection there. Oyster Pond looks tempting from the chart, but small and crowded.

Be sure to get a Gouda Wheel....

Dave
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Old 07-02-2015, 17:51   #5
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Re: Saint Martin low down

Hi Monte,
We are in St. Maarten right now. All the stores and services are entered off the lagoon. Most of the stores and services are on the Dutch side. Depending on how long you are wanting to stay whether you anchor outside the Dutch side or inside the lagoon on the Dutch side you still pay an anchoring fee. On our 42 foot boat we pay $20.00 per week. If you pre-pay for 4 weeks you get 6 weeks. Cost to go through bridge is $21.00 for 42 feet. If you wish to carry on to the French side then the swing bridge opens 15 minutes later. We do not find the fees excessive and it is very convenient and close to everything on the Dutch side. The net is on ch 10 and that's the freq everyone monitors. The bridge traffic is ch 12 (both bridges) We are currently anchored on the Dutch side right behind Mark on SeaLife. Give us a shout when you are coming in and we will give you the lowdown on most things you will need to know about the area. The depths in the lagoon are 5-15 feet give or take but put out excessive scope when you anchor. Cheers, Robert
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:12   #6
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Re: Saint Martin low down

Hi, currently in Toby's, nr French bridge. For electrician try Dave in "s/y heymede". First class guy for the job. Bob, "Tiger Lily"
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Old 08-02-2015, 10:54   #7
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Re: Saint Martin low down

Thanks guys. Having a lazy sail down as I type, will probably catch the 1730 bridge
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:36   #8
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Re: Saint Martin low down

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Thanks guys. Having a lazy sail down as I type, will probably catch the 1730 bridge
Here's the bridges timetable... It's 17:00 not 17:30 & if there are few boats they'll close the bridge asap. Sailboats going out go first, then the one coming in... The causeway bridge is a swing bridge with two channels so boats go both ways at the same time There's a big anchorage on the French side after the causeway bridge... Cheers !
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Old 26-02-2015, 07:49   #9
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Re: Saint Martin low down

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Originally Posted by ALAIN97133 View Post
Here's the bridges timetable... It's 17:00 not 17:30 & if there are few boats they'll close the bridge asap. Sailboats going out go first, then the one coming in... The causeway bridge is a swing bridge with two channels so boats go both ways at the same time There's a big anchorage on the French side after the causeway bridge... Cheers !
Hello,
the times bridge and contact for the bridge operators, have a nice sail. Paula

The attached fail

Pont de Sandy Ground/Sandy Ground gridge
tel 00 590 590 29 04 75 / 00 590 590 87 20 43 - VHF 16
Monday to Saturday
9.00 Out & In Traffic
14.30 Out & In Traffic
17.30 Out & In Traffic
Sunday and holidays
9.00 Out & In Traffic
17.30 Out & In Traffic

Simpson Bay Bridges
tel 00 1721 545 5230 / 00 1721 545 3183 - VHF 12
Simpson Bay Bridge
8.30 Out Traffic
9.30 In Traffic
10.30 Out Traffic
11.30 In Traffic
15.00 In Traffic
16.00 Out Traffic
17.00 In Traffic

Causeway Bridge
8.15 Out & In Traffic
9.45 Out & In Traffic
10.15 Out & In Traffic
11.45 Out & In Traffic
15.15 Out & In Traffic on call
15.45 Out & In Traffic
17.15 Out & In Traffic
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Old 26-02-2015, 16:38   #10
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Re: Saint Martin low down

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Originally Posted by PAULINHA SXM View Post
Hello, the times bridge and contact for the bridge operators, have a nice sail. Paula ...
The last time (3 weeks ago) I entered on the Dutch side -coming from St-Barth- the Dutch lifting bridge opened on time, with no outgoing traffic, we went in real fast. We then proceed to the causeway swing bridge -in the middle of the lagoon- where the Dutch operator made us wait 1/2 an hour beyond the schedule opening time for no reason (The road traffic was very light)... Luckily I wasn't trying to go through the French bridge, further North
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Old 26-02-2015, 19:15   #11
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Re: Saint Martin low down

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Originally Posted by ALAIN97133 View Post
The last time (3 weeks ago) I entered on the Dutch side -coming from St-Barth- the Dutch lifting bridge opened on time, with no outgoing traffic, we went in real fast. We then proceed to the causeway swing bridge -in the middle of the lagoon- where the Dutch operator made us wait 1/2 an hour beyond the schedule opening time for no reason (The road traffic was very light)... Luckily I wasn't trying to go through the French bridge, further North
One of the joys of the Caribbean
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