Saturday, May 4, 2013

Warning: French Side of Simpson Lagoon, St. Martin

So, I previously blogged about our terrific crossing from the BVIs to Marigot, St. Martin: long smooth swells, no chop, great timing, whales! We were feeling so good! Well, we must have used up all our good karma. We thought getting through the bridge would be the tricky part, because the north swells were building and breaking just by the entrance. However, Chris piloted Mr Mac superbly, and we passed safely into the channel and through the bridge. Yeah!  So, we turned up the well-marked channel to head into the lagoon, and…chunk! We were aground. Now, we’re pretty cautious about where we’re going because we hate to go aground, and actually haven’t done it in years. But here, though we were directly in the channel according to both the chart and the channel markers, which we were firmly between—red on one side, green on the other. A couple of dinghys with cruisers came by and tried to help (thank you Tardis and Storyland!), but we didn’t budge, and had decided to wait for high tide when a local came out in his boat and, with mighty force (and his powerful twin outboards), pulled us off the shoal, then directed us down the rest of the channel to deep water. It was very sweet of him, and we truly appreciated it. It turns out that the channels anchorages are nothing like what is shown on the charts. The entire time we were there, we saw people going around in the “channel”, and Chris helped one boat off twice before they turned around and headed back out the bridge. So, at least we weren’t the only ones. The sketch in the Doyle guide is better than the chart, but beware; the first set of red/green markers heading toward the lagoon are no longer there, and the shoal sticks into the channel from the north. Go slow, watch your depth sounder, and follow a local if possible.

The depths shown here (see channel on right, and where we anchored in the middle) have little to do with reality

1 comment:

  1. Good to know, we're so glad you were OK and no damage.