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As those who follow our Spot profile may have noticed, we’re now anchored in Orient Bay on the French side of St. Martin. There is a pretty strong SE breeze blowing right now and that, combined with a fairly large NE swell, would make a trip to St. Barts a tad uncomfortable, even though it is only 13 or so miles from here. And so, we’re “waiting for weather” before we head out.

We first dropped the hook in Orient Bay where we did the last time, just in front of Club Orient, St. Martin’s only nude beach. The anchorage is protected by a reef but with the way the wind and seas are right now, it was crazy rocky. We did tough it out for one night though and, the following day, even snuck ashore to enjoy the beach a bit. When they tried to extort $7.00 US each from us for using their lounge chairs we decided to move on. We also got tricked in their restaurant by thinking that the food prices were in dollars when in fact they’re in Euros. 🙁 We won’t make that mistake again (this season anyway).

Business tip to Club Orient: Instead of charging for the use of your chairs, offer free chairs and make money selling drinks! Have a few waiters/waitresses going around between the chairs. We saw no one doing this so I assume it’s not being done. I do understand that their primary source of income is from their hotel guests but more customers = more money!

Yesterday we decided to pick up anchor and move down the bay to hide behind Ilet Pinel. Both our guide books and a friend of ours said that this is a nice protected anchorage and even though there is a bit of swell creeping around the island right now, we’d have to agree, especially when compared to where we spent the previous night. Strangely the guide book makes no mention of the three different resorts that are on this island. It is a very popular spot and we saw several boats bringing large groups of people there to enjoy the sun, sand and surf.

On the internet front, sadly Club Orient’s Wi-Fi is no longer unlocked as it was last season. This is actually the reason why we visited their restaurant in the hopes of acquiring access to their system so that we could update the blog and check email. Happily there is an unlocked signal by Ilet Pinel that we are making use of right now. Big thanks to who ever owns it!

Can someone tell me why, with a ton of open space all around us, this day-charter boat had to anchor right in front of us? Perhaps they felt that giving their guests a view of us suntanning on our bow would net them bigger tips. Jerks.

I’d question the operator of this place about their competency when it comes to selecting anchor spots!

I guess we should just be glad it wasn’t one of these guys anchoring just off our bow. Photo is of the cruise ships docked at Philipsburg as we made our way out of the harbor.

16 Comments

  1. Hooked on your adventures, picked up information on your site from Rum Shop Ryan. Dont know a thing about sailing but have been out on a few 40ft + sail boats and really enjoyed the day sails. Most recently out of PR on the Erin Go Bragh, a fine sailing boat. I am close to retirement and who knows!

    Be safe in your travels,
    Bob…

  2. Re. the boat anchoring right in front of you:
    No, driving a boat like that is NOT a sign of a competent professional operation.
    Flying a 12-foot URL that points to a blank whois entry with no server and no content: Also NOT a sign of a competent professional operation.

    Re. prices in Euros, prices for renting lounge chairs: Ouch. I suppose it probably says something about the demographic the resort prefers to cater to.

  3. Hey Mike, another great read. Have a few thoughts I wanted to share from our 15 trips to St. Martin, specifically the French side, and more specifically in the Orient Village area.

    While Club Orient may be the only “advertised” clothing optional resort, many of the French side beaches are CO tolerant. One of our favorite spots on the island is Happy Bay, just outside Grand Case. Small and quiet, though no amenities to speak of. See our blog post on St. Martin beaches http://blog.myislandart.com/st-martin_top_beaches/

    There really isn’t a shortcut to the Club O lounge rental. Largely because in season they have a wealth of business, even with the current policies. So changing them isn’t likely, You can however go to a number of the other bars a little further north and those rates generally come with a drink, and WiFi. Club O does have a very attractive Happy Hour at Perch though.

    Unfortunately Euro pricing is the norm in French St. Martin. Technically, it is a part of France, so Euros it is. There are a number of restaurants, especially in Grand Case, that will offer a 1:1 exchange, but for cash purchases only. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should drop anchor in Grand Case and take the dingy to Calmos Cafe. Another favorite!

    Regarding Isle Pinel, yet another favorite! Especially the back side which is generally undiscovered. There is a regular water taxi that runs from the “mainland” to Pinel, so that me be part of what you were seeing. Lot’s of daytrippers, though my last recollection is that the lunch prices on Pinel are quite hefty.

    Hope you are enjoying yourselves. BTW Team Cocktail is headed to SXM in a couple weeks. Keep your eyes peeled for that big flag on Orient. Thanks again Mike, I enjoy your writings.

  4. Wow, that’s like having an intruder in your own backyard when they anchor that close. I agree with you on the thought of CO having free chairs and waiters bringing out drinks. That’s the idea used at Dante’s in Key West (not a beach, but an awesome pool on the wharf), the waiters bring drinks, and before long you are ordering food and more drinks and then they start bringing tables for you because your friends all show up. It’s kind of the potato chip theory… you can’t just have one. Happy New Year to you and Rebecca, and look forward to your posts and pics.

  5. Thanks for sharing the piccies Have a Great, Healthy and Prosperous new year,
    Fair Winds
    Rob!

  6. Regarding your comments about the day charter boat anchoring too close to your boat,
    you really should be a bit more tolerant and polite w/ your posts. Orient Bay is public water and Mirabella has every right to anchor were they see fit. Since they are a local boat they have probably been coming to that spot for years. You on the other hand are a guest in St.Martin and as a representive of your fellow cruisers should be more respectful to local businesses.You make us all look bad. Whats the big deal,they were only there for a couple hours!

    • Hi Rich

      Thanks for your comment but obviously I disagree. If they are professionals then they should have MORE awareness of how their actions affect others boats, not less. Even though the photo may not illustrate it well enough, they were unnecessarily close given the conditions and the space available. If they know the area as you say then they should have been able to select a dozen other spots that would not have been on top of another boat’s anchor. The day was also extremely windy and they only let out minimal scope meaning that there was a real chance of them dragging down on us. With 25 knots of wind the time to react to such a situation would have been extremely short. Whether they intended to be there for an hour or a day makes little difference to this.

  7. Pinel is our favorite place in the world. We go to SXM every year and go to Pinel each day. Beautiful!

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