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Old 23-11-2018, 11:12   #1
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St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

Hi all - longer time reader, first time poster. We are headed to St. Martin's, Anguilla, and St. Barts in early December and would love to hear from folks how may have been there. We have a tentative itinerary, but looking for any and all recommendations from this group. Anchorages, good beaches, what to do/what to avoid, etc. Any and all inputs welcome.

We prefer quieter anchorages, but do enjoy a good stop on land for some town exploring. Just hoping for some great day sails, good food, nice beaches, and beautiful sunsets.

This is a great community, so thanks in advance for the insights.

Cheers,

Tom
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Old 26-11-2018, 12:07   #2
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Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

Tomren
St Martin was hit hard by Hurricane Erma and is still struggling.
Grand Case is an OK anchorage depending on the weather. Some of those restaurants have reopened and hopefully a few more will open this season.
Tintamarre is a pretty anchorage if the weather is right.
Ile Fourchue is part of the St Barts Marine Reserve and it is very pretty.
Colombier is also part of the SBMR. Beautiful beach!
Gustavia is fun. France in the Caribbean. Eat at Eddies. No reservation needed.
All the food is great in Gustavia.
Anchor out unless you get permission to come into the inner harbor and know what you are doing.
I would also urge you to consider going north to Anguilla. Clear in at Road Bay, PAY THE CRUISING FEE and anchor at Crocus Bay. Maybe the prettiest place in the Caribbean. DaVita is a world class restaurant and beach bar at the end of the bay.
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Old 26-11-2018, 12:29   #3
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Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

A highlight in St Barts: Come ashore at Gustavia, climb the hill to the NE of town until you reach the roundabout that overlooks the airport and watch a few planes come in to land
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Old 26-11-2018, 13:14   #4
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Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

Already lots of infos given. I will add a few things.
On the french side of St-Martin
Every monday at Grand Case its a nice party. Craftmans, souvenirs music in the streets.
Marigo is nice and you have a flea market. You can clear customs there.
Keep in mind that if you plan on going to Anguila or St-Barth you will need to clear out of St-Martin.

On the Dutch Side, Groot baai I can get noisy and the cruise ships docks are there.
Simpson bay has lots of room. You can check in near the bridge.
Do go to Maho beach to experience the jet blasts.

Anguila, you need to check in at Road bay. Customs close early but you can send the night there and check in the next day. I suggest you clear out at the same time.
Road bay can get smelly because of the salt pound
Spend the next day in Crocus Bay. Nice little beach in the far corner of that bay called Maunday's Bay. You pick up a mooring ball for the day. But not allowed to stay the night. Simply move to the anchorage in front of the Hotel. You can get a taxi to drive you to Shoal Bay. Beautiful white beach
If you want to go to Prickly Pears Cay or Sandy Island, plan you route well and head out early because the space is limited and the area is confusing.

In St-Barths. Check in at Gustavia. You can Anchor near les gros Islets.
You can rent a 4 wheeler ATV and drive around the island for about $70.
If you do, you have to go to on top of the hill near the airport. Crazy the way the planes land there.
St-Barth is very very expensive. But it's very nice.
Shell beach is nice.
I like Baie St-Jean. Nice burger joint there.
Colombier is nice but gets crowded real fast.
If you sail back to St-Martin from St-Barth there is 2 little islands to the north west of Ile Fourchue. You can sail right between them. You have about 45 feet of bottom there but usually can see the rocks and sands. Crystal clear water

Sailing anywhere in that area where you have 100 feet or less of depth, keep watch for the lobster traps. They mark them with Coke bottles or white jugs that can be hard to see.

Enjoy and
Beam winds!!
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Old 26-11-2018, 16:16   #5
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Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

Thanks everyone for the great info. This is exactly the type of sage guidance and wisdom I was hoping from this group. Many thanks again.
Looking forward to a great trip.
Best,
Tom
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Old 27-11-2018, 14:04   #6
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Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

If the winds are not too strong go to Saba. It has fabulous diving but no beaches at all. Cliffs rise from the water all around. The land is a gem with a small, relaxed population. You have to love a spot with only two villages named The Bottom and Windwardside.
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Old 08-12-2018, 19:14   #7
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Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

I'll be doing the same trip next June. My tentative plan is St. Martin to Anguilla for two nights, back to St. Martin for a night, then to St. Barts for two nights, and finally returning to St. Martin. I've seen so many conflicting reports on checking in/out.

Do I need to check out of French St. Martin to go to St. Barts?

I know you need to check in and out of St. Barts, but then if I'm returning to French St. Martin, do I need to check in again?

Also, how far in advance can I check out? If I want to spend the second night in St. Barts at Colombier, can I check out the same time I check in, or at least can I check out before heading up to Colombier? I would want to avoid having to return to Gustavia before heading out.
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Old 09-12-2018, 02:27   #8
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Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

You ned to do customs every time you change countries.
Exception going is ST-Martin.
You do not need to do customs when you go from the french side to the dutch side or vise versa.
But any other island you need to do the customs things
Keep in mind that when you do customs you also end up paying for a cruising permit.
Not sure the maximum days in advance you can check out.
But usually if you stay 2 days yo can do both at the same time.

The only thing I would change from you plan is the Anguilla to St-Martin for a night.
I'd bypass St-Martin and head straight for St-Barth. It's a fun sail and not very long.
No point going back to St-Martin for only a day.
St-Barth is pretty loose for the check out.
You do the whole process yourself from a computer at Gustavia port authority building and then pay whatever amount the computer spits out.
So if you say you stay 2 nights you will be checked out and you cruising permit will expire.
Anguilla...prepare yourself for a demonstration of pure bureaucratie.
Sign here print this ( 6X ) sign there. Print this.
Then do the same process on the next chair and end up paying over US$100 for the whole thing.
Takes about 45 to 60 minutes.
St-Martin is pretty fast since the boats are usually from St-Martin
St-Barth, they don't care...they only want the money.
Turn you VHF on when approaching the Gustavia and you are not allowed to enter with the boat unless you have permission to.


Beam winds
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Old 09-12-2018, 03:10   #9
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Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

St Martin: Grand-Case was effectively a nice and lively place before Irma… nowadays, I Don't know.
St Barts: if possible try mooring in front of Corossol: a genuine and picturesgue village. You'll enjoy a little car park (if you consider to hire a car or a bike) and two slipways for your tender. It's very close to Gustavia, but withou traffic and traffic jams
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:03   #10
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Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagman101 View Post
The only thing I would change from you plan is the Anguilla to St-Martin for a night.
I'd bypass St-Martin and head straight for St-Barth. It's a fun sail and not very long.
No point going back to St-Martin for only a day.
Thanks for all of the informations! If I went from Crocus Bay, Anguilla to directly to St Barth, would you recommend going around the northern tip of Anguilla, and then making a straight line for Guistavia, or heading though the Anguilla Channel and skirting St. Martin for part of the way?
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:24   #11
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pirate Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

Depends pretty much on the wind direction really.. Easterly go N.. SE'ly go S.. its a decision to make on the day..
Regarding clearing in.. I never have when sailing from SXM.. but then I'm a Brit and a cheeky git..
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Old 11-12-2018, 13:57   #12
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Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

Tom,

How was the trip? We'll be going for nine days over the holidays (starting in St. Martin).
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Old 18-12-2018, 07:28   #13
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Re: St. Martin, St. Barts in early December

Depends on wind speed and direction and your boat.
If you have a Cat you will want to not go above beam winds.
I was on a cat and went from west from Crocus then turned east in between SMX and Anguilla. Between SMX and Tintamare then straight down to St-Barth. We had scattered thunder storms that played with the wind direction bit but it was a nice sail. About 4-5 hours if I remember correctly.
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