Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Voyeurism Can Be Helpful

If you haven’t yet, first read my blog on our experiences with the channel into the lagoon (Warning: French Side of Simpson Lagoon, St. Martin).

What goes up must come down, and what goes in must come out. So, there we were in the lagoon at St. Martin…planning our departure...dreading the moment we would have to face the channel again going out…

Coming in, we had gone aground by being on the wrong side of the green channel marker (we weren’t REALLY on the wrong side, but see the previous blog).  We were determined not to repeat the experience. So the morning of the day we planned to leave, I sat in the cockpit for about an hour before the 8 am bridge opening and played the voyeur, binoculars glued to my eyes, watching every boat that went by toward the bridge. Amazingly, most of them went aground, though only one had to be towed off the shoal. By watching where they went as they traversed the channel, I figured out the path we needed to take: through the first set of channel markers, head waaay over to starboard toward the anchored monohull with the red stripe, then back to port toward the green channel marker, and finally straight toward the anchored catamaran near the entrance to the marina channel. Great! We can do this! That afternoon, we went ashore to check out of the country, and as we returned to Mr Mac, we noticed that THE GREEN CHANNEL MARKER WAS GONE! All right, one of our landmarks was missing, but that’s okay, the rest are there. Oops, except there’s a new catamaran anchored right in the middle of the channel near our original catamaran landmark. Still okay…remain calm. Finally, it’s time to go. Anchor up, through the first set of channel markers, and toward the anchored red-striped sailboat. All’s good, except…THE !@#$%*! SAILBOAT IS MOVING FORWARD AS IT RAISES ITS ANCHOR, so we’re heading TOO far to starboard—not good, there are shoals over there, too. Slowly, slowly, we edged around the port-side shoal, which thankfully was visible in this light, and got to the deeper water by the bridge channel. Yeah! Voyeurs again, we watched several boats go aground (though they all got off okay) as they came down the channel we had just successfully negotiated. After this, navigating across the open sea from St. Martin to St. Croix was a breeze!

Hill-top view of Simpson Bay/Marigot Bay Lagoon

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