Saint Martin - Sint Maarten
November 18, 2004 to November 25, 2004
Anguilla - November 23, 2004

by
Kinsley Wong - http://XtremeBigAir.com
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Saitnt Martin / Sint Maarten
Carribean
The French side has the Euro as the official currency. On the Dutch side it is the Netherlands Antilles florin (guilder).  However, the US dollar is accepted everywhere on the island.

French and Dutch are the respective official languages on St. Martin/St. Maarten. But English is spoken everywhere and is the unofficial language of the island as a whole

Most flights come to Juliana Airport . US & Canadian citizens can stay up to three months. Others need a valid passport. If entering on the French side: EU citizens need an official identity card, valid passport or French carte de séjour (visitor card); US & Canadian nationals can stay up to two weeks (maximum three months, on request) without a passport if they have the same documentation required for the Dutch side. Citizens of most other countries need both a valid passport and a visa for France.  Be sure to save $25 USD CASH for Departure TAX.
220V



For over 300 years, France and the Netherlands have shared this tiny Caribbean island called St. Martin or St. Maarten. 
A mixture of French, Dutch and Caribbean culture make St. Martin/St. Maarten an unique island.  St. Martin  is a beautiful 37 square mile island located in the Windward islands of the Caribbean. The northern portion is a part of France. The southern portion is a part of the Netherlands Antilles. 

WIND & CLIMATE
October - November: Low pressure will send 12 to 15 knots winds. Stronger winds on good days.
December: The tradewinds are coming back and will stabilize at a good 12 knots.
January-February-March: Steady tradewind between 11 to 18 knots. Average winds: 12 knots.
April-May: generally quiter months, but you can get also strong tradewinds.
June-July: Strong tradewinds because of the tropical stroms. These month are very good for riding. You can get 18 knots winds.
August: Light winds, count on a good 11 knots.
September: Hurricane month -  Bring your 2 meter kite :-)

KITESURFING IN St. Martin
The normal wind direction is from E.  During November 18-25, my friend Ed Cummings and I kited with 14-15 knots of wind everyday.  The wind never seemed to stop.  Some days we kited until past sunset.  If you are 70Kg(150lbs) like me, you would be very happy with a quiver of BEST Yarga 15M and 11M kites and Underground 132 FLX.  If you are in the 80KG or more, bring your 17M and 13M kites.

Orient Bay has shorebreak waves on the inside and on shore wind.  This is definitely not a kite spot for beginner kiters.  You need to be able to go upwind to kite at Orient Bay. 

We love kiting at Le Galion which is Baie de L'Embouchure, a marine preserve.  There is a windsurfing - surfing school at Le Galion.  Le Galion offers smooth water on the inside and nice rolling waves on the reef.  This is a great spot for everyone from beginners to advanced riders.   It is Port tack side shore at Le Galion.  There is a big field next to the windsurfing school to lay out, launch, and land your kite.





GETTING THERE
We got our hotel and airfare package deal through http://www.CheapCarribean.com

We stayed at hotel Cap Caraibes in the Orient Bay.


This OCEAN FRONT Resort built in 2000 is directly situated on St. Martin's most popular Orient Beach on the French side of the island.

The hotel's exceptional location puts you right in the heart of Orient Beach, within walking distance to Orient Bay's most popular beachfront restaurants, water sports and beach chairs.

St. Martin/St. Maarten has 37 beaches:

French Side Beaches - Listed from West to East

Longue Baie

Long Bay or Baie Longue is one of the island’s most stunning stretches of coastline. The silky waters here, at times aquamarine laced with shades of turquoise, are among the Caribbean’s most beautiful.  Long Bay is lovely, but there’s a steep approach and can sometimes be rocky.

Baie Rouge

This small but lovely cove serves up majestic views of elegant villas. Dramatic rock formations dot the coastline, and snorkeling is unsurpassed.  Two beach bars provide food and drink.

Nettle Baie

This resort strip hosts two beaches and several large hotels. On the lagoon side you’ll find several cafes and some thrilling island views.  On the beach side visit Layla's Restaurant for lunch.

Friar's Bay (Anse des Peres)

This is a special beach with powder-white sand on a cove that is accessible through Cripple Creek. There are two restaurants on the beach, which is a favorite of locals. Every full moon you’ll find an all-night party here.  

Grand Case (Petit Plage)

Shouldering a town known for its fine dining, Grand Case Beach is perfect for sunning or strolling. The northern edge fringes Creole Rock, the island’s premier snorkeling spot.  Easy access, a gentle slope and reasonably priced food at lolos — island barbecue stands — make this beach perfect for families.

Anse Marcel

This beach borders Le Meridian Hotel and can be accessed through its tropical gardens. The horseshoe-shaped cove harbors yachts, racing boats and restaurants.  Waters are shallow and there are places to catch some shade.

Pinel Island

You’ll love the boat ride off the eastern coast to this small island, which features several beaches and two restaurants. The ride takes just a few minutes, giving you a whole day to explore the island.  Shade is limited, so remember to bring plenty of sunscreen.

Orient Beach

St. Martin's famous clothes-optional beach.  This half moon-shaped stretch of shore is the St. Tropez of island beaches, with festive bars and more than a dozen charming restaurants, where you can sip an ice-cold beer or a glass of chilled Chardonnay. Water sports range from parasailing to water-skiing and windsurfing. Window-shop among beachwear and souvenir boutiques.

Le Galion

This horseshoe-shaped beach stretches out for nearly 100 feet, but waters won’t rise above your knees. There’s a windsurfing school here.  The best beach on the island, with a good bit of shade.  


Dutch Side Beaches - Listed from East to West

Cupecoy

One of the island’s most photographed beaches, its white, craggy cliffs have caves along the side and it borders the intense sapphire-blue sea. On the far side is a clothing-optional area, where you can tan all over.  Limited shade and not particularly easy to get to, but a beautiful beach nonetheless.  On the southern end is the Cliffhanger Bar, a great place to watch the sunset.  Food, drinks and beach chairs available.

Mullet Bay

Bordering the golf course, this long stretch of beach offers gentle surf and powder-white sand. It’s a favorite with locals.  Easy access and plenty of shade.

Maho (Airport Beach)

Popular Maho Beach has one of the most unusual locations you will ever see. When planes land on St. Maarten they fly right over it.  This is the closest observation point in the world where the public can watch planes as large as 747's land. The beach is surprisingly good, and the snorkeling is great. The surf can sometimes be rough but it is a great place to stop, take a quick dip and watch a few jets land right over head.   

Simpson Bay

This sickle-shaped beach is dotted with inns and villas, lining one of the island’s traditional fishing villages. Undulating waves here gently lap at the shore. The beach borders the airport runway and offers great opportunities for swimming and walking.  Shade is limited.  

Great Bay

Recently widened, this long expanse of beach features a drop-off, depending on the season. The water by Great Bay Hotel is calm and smooth. Several beach bars and restaurants front the beach.  Because it’s so wide, this beach is great for a walk and water sports.  Combine shopping in Philipsburg with a day at the beach.

Guana Bay

At this exotic stretch of beach you’ll find a luxurious residential community with no hotels. Known as one of the best surfing beaches on the island, waves are wonderful and you have a magnificent view of Ile Fourche and St. Barths.  There’s a beach bar here at the far end of the beach.  Usually uncrowded.

Dawn Beach (Oyster Pond)

A wide beach bordering a magnificent stretch of coastline, where snorkeling is sublime and a dazzling offshore reef is easily accessible. The point meets at the inlet to Oyster Pond and you have great views of St. Barths.  Kids love this untamed beach, but watch out for the surf, which can be strong at times.  Scavenger's Beach Bar and Mr. Busby's offer beach chair rentals, food and drinks.


OTHER ACTIVITIES:

Water sports: Kitesurfing, Windsurfing, water-skiing, parasailing, and jet-skiing.

Deep sea fishing: The offshore waters offer a wide and challenging variety of gamefish including marlin, tuna, dolphinfish, barracuda, and kingfish. The Angers Big Fishing Tournament occurs at the end of March and the Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament takes place here every year in the month of June. Boats can be chartered at reasonable rates all year long, although some of the fish are only in season in these waters from December through March. Charters typically include bait, tackle, and some form of refreshment.

Golf: the one 18-hole golf course on the island is located on the Dutch side of St. Maarten nearby at Mullet Bay. The course is open to all visitors.

Tennis: Tennis remains one of the favorite pastimes in St. Martin, and there are more than 70 courts over the whole island. Many of these are to be found in the hotels, and squash is available at a number of sports clubs and fitness centers. Tennis pros are on hand in several of these places to give instruction for a modest fee.

Duty free shopping: One of the great attractions of the island has been the duty-free shopping available on both sides of the island. Luxury items from all over the world, French and Italian clothing fashions, Dutch and Japanese electronics, Indonesian batiks and Chinese embroidery, jewelry, leather, crystal, liquors, and fine porcelain, free of all taxes and customs, are regularly offered at bargain prices. The French side also provides a more leisurely shopping experience since the crowds from the cruise ships tend to be attracted more to the Dutch side.

Restaurants: the island provides a wide variety of restaurants, bistros, brassieres, and barbecue shacks called lolos that delight even the most sophisticated of gourmets.

Casino: French St. Martin does not have any casinos; however, St. Maarten, has ten casinos on the Dutch side. Most major hotels provide round-trip transportation to the casinos.

NIGHTLIFE


St. Martin Web Links:
Live cam: http://cnssxm.dyndns.org/view/view.shtml
Live wind: http://windadventures.free.fr/orientbaywind.htm
Club Natalie Simon: http://wf014.lerelaisinternet.com/kitesurf/notice.asp
http://www.stmaartenlinks.com
http://www.stmartin.com

Anguilla - November 23, 2004:

We took the ferry from Marigot (French's Capital of St.Martin) which leaves every half hour.  The cost is $12 USD each way and departure tax of $3 each way.    You can rent a car in Anguilla for $30 a day or scooter for $25 a day.  Other costs: $20 for Anguilla driver license and $5 for gas. 
Anguilla is a very beautiful, quiet and sleepy little island.  It is home of Bankie Banx, a famous reggae artist.  We visited the Dune Preserve which is next to CruisinArt Resort.  At the Dune Preserve, you will find the Rendezvous bay, probably the best spot for windsurfing and kiting in Anguilla.  The wind is Port Tack side shore here.  We had a killer lunch and got our CDs signed by Bankie Banx.  We then visite Shoal Bay West and Shoal Bay East.
Shoal Bay East has the best snorkeling area on the island.