Day 1 - St. Maarten
Friday, December 11, 2015: We left Indy at 5:15 AM so it was dawn when we arrived in Charlotte for our connection.
|A Facebook post and reply led to a 30-second reunion with Debbie's colleague Holly as she ran to make her connection home in a different concourse.
|We had a several-hour layover so we had plenty of time to make it to our gate. A couple of years later, Tom got a similar photo of this airplane and gate area on his way to London.
|The approach into St. Maarten takes you right along the shoreline, ...
|... and right over Maho Beach where tourists get to see the underside of jet planes up close.
|Being a tropical destination, passengers deplane onto the tarmac then take a bus to the airport, walking the last bit in the sun.
|A half hour later, we had made it through immigration and luggage claim, and were on our way in a taxi.
|We passed the Simpson Bay Lagoon ...
|... and lots of impressive boats on our way to Simpson Bay, a short drive away.
|We were checked into the Villas at Simpson Bay by 3:00 PM. Here's our room, ...
|... the bathroom, ...
|... the balcony, ...
|... and the fantastic view.
|We changed and went out for a look around the property. Our room was on the 7th floor in one of the tall buildings on the left in this photo.
|Here's the clear water out front viewed from a tiny dock.
|Looking back at the pool from the dock.
|This little guy was our first lizard sighting of the trip.
|Yes! Our luggage arrived and so did we, so we were now officially on vacation!
|Our plan was to spend some time in the pool and relax, but only Debbie made it in. She declared it to be cold, so very cold, and quickly came out after determining that it wasn't going to warm up enough to be worth it.
|Change of plans -- we headed out in search of drinks and a very early dinner instead.
|Here's the view looking up from our resort as we were leaving.
|We walked about a block down the road and found the Green House.
|It had outdoor seating with the beach and Simpson Bay right behind it.
|Of course, we had to start out with Bang Bang Calamari. With a name like that, who could resist?
|We were there during happy hour, so drinks were 2-for-1. We were too sleepy for alcohol so we had delicious frozen lemonades and a Diet Coke with our calamari.
|Next, Tom had black bean soup and Debbie had lobster sliders.
|After dinner, we walked to the beach to get a photo of our little mascot, Orchy, ...
|... and to check out the view.
|Back in our room, we headed out onto the patio.
|The view was even prettier as the sun was going down, ...
|... but the real scenery was in the crystal clear water below.
|Even from seven stories up, we were able to see a spotted eagle ray swimming just under the surface of the water for quite a while.
|If you look closely at the black spot in the middle left of this photo, ...
|... you'll see a barracuda in the water. We estimated that he was at least three feet long.
|At dusk, the resort lit up, including reindeer figures on the lawn.
At dark, there was a brief but intense rain shower, so we went out onto our dry balcony to take a look before heading to bed very early.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy