Caribbean 2015:
Day 9 - St. Martin [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

Caribbean 2015: [Day 1 - St. Maarten] [Day 2 - Saba] [Day 3 - Anguilla] [Day 4 - Virgin Gorda] [Day 5 - Norman Island/Soper's Hole] [Day 6 - Jost Van Dyke] [Day 7 - St. Kitts] [Day 8 - St. Barthélemy] [Day 9 - St. Martin] [Day 10 - St. Martin]

Saturday, December 19, 2015: The next morning was remarkably calm for a cruise ship disembarkation day. We could leave when we wanted and there was no pressure to do so. We had a leisurely breakfast in our favorite breakfast booth (on the opposite end from our favorite dining booth).

It was located right next to Cabin 311. Literally right next to it.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the dining room, Cabin 310 opened right into hotel manager Steve's tiny office, right next to the dining room. These are both category 3 cabins, just like ours was.
Here are two of the category one cabins. Six other category one cabins were on the deck below and also had outside facing doors. The only nicer cabin on the ship is the owner's cabin, which was probably occupied by the actual owner for a change.
We reluctantly disembarked around 9:00 AM. The port was filled with other ships, including the Azamara Journey, the Carnival Liberty, ...
... an unidentified smaller ship, plus the SeaDream Wind Surf (again!), and the Norwegian Gem.
And of course, our own majestic Star Clipper.
We chose to walk through the cruise port rather than ride the golf cart this time, since we were in no hurry.
The sidewalk stores were just starting to set up for the day.
St. Maarten thanked us for visiting and hoped to see us again soon.
We went to the taxi stand and were assigned to a taxi with a family that was going to Orient Bay on the St. Martin half of the island for the day. Because we were sharing, we paid less than the published zone-based fare we were expecting to pay, which was nice.
It was a short 12-minute drive to the Sint Maarten/Saint Martin border, marked with flags, a monument, and ...
... a "Welcome to the French Side" sign.
Ten minutes later, we were near Orient Bay, ...
... where we dropped off our three taxi mates.
Next, we were headed to Grand Case, another 10 minutes away on the other side of the hills.
Welcome to Grand Case Beach Club.
The reception office was under construction when we arrived to check in. It was much too early to get in our room, so we checked our luggage with security, ...
... and set out to explore the resort.
This sign was posted by the beach. The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt are over 10,000 km in that direction, and Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas, is 3837 km in this direction.
The main resort buildings are next to a small peninsula which contains most of the attractions of the resort. We went up to the top to a nice lookout, ...
... and gazed down at the beautiful boardwalk lining the peninsula below.
The pool area had recently been renovated and had just opened up that morning. However, since we didn't have room keys, we couldn't get in yet, and completely forgot to return later on. It sure looked nice though.
We also looked down at the resort's restaurant where we ended up having several meals. This was an outdoor terrace for those who wanted to dine in the sun.
We returned to the end of the peninsula at the beach ...
... so we could walk along the boardwalk this time.
It was just beautiful with several places built especially for sunbathing.
Check out the snorkeling area. We were definitely going there later. If you look closely in this photo, ...
... you'll spot this iguana, one of several who spent their day sunning themselves on the boulders.
Here's the view of the boardwalk looking back to the resort.
We hit the motherlode when we found this sanctuary.
It was shaded, it was spacious, it was near the cafe, and ...
... it had a gorgeous view.
We dropped our stuff and settled in. Of course, Debbie had to study the water to see what was down there before sitting.
Tom went to the cafe and got some sodas to go, then we spent a couple of hours playing on our phones and relaxing. We should have been reading, but we had foolishly left our books and magazines with our luggage.
Several glass-bottom boat tours headed out to Creole Rock passed by during our stay.
After a while, we gave up our little utopia to another couple who came along just as we were ready to go, and we headed to the cafe. We passed more iguanas ...
... and a crab along the way.
At the Sunset Cafe, we got a table overlooking the water on the north side of the peninsula.
That's Anguilla out there across the water.
A club sandwich and a classic burger really hit the spot.
We were given two complimentary rum drinks with our bill. Don't mind if we do, thanks!
It was still too early to check in, so we found a nice shady spot under the trees by the beach.
Around 2:00, we walked up to reception again to see if we could check in, but they still weren't ready, ...
... so this time we parked ourselves in the shade near the start of the boardwalk.
When we got into our room a half hour later, we found that it had been worth the wait.
The room was newly renovated, ...
... with a gorgeous shower, ...
... a full kitchen, and plenty of room. It was a welcome change after seven nights in a very tiny cabin.
And that view! Perfection.
Speaking of views, we had some more undersea sightseeing to do, so we grabbed our snorkeling gear and got into the water. Warning signs on the shore noted that there were urchins in the water, and that was very true.
This little guy is a blackear wrasse.
We were thrilled to see a barracuda, and watched him for a few minutes.
We also saw a yellowtail parrotfish, ...
... more sergeant major damselfish, blue tangs, and urchins, ...
... plus yet another sandperch.
We have no idea what this small glassy pearl-like object is in the lower right corner of this photo, but someday we'll have to figure it out because we saw them pretty regularly.
Debbie popped up to get her bearings and to get a picture of the boardwalk.
Back underwater, we saw a doctorfish, ...
... a pair of beaugregory damselfish, ...
and some tiny sailor's choice (yes, that's their actual name).
We puzzled over these for a while. They looked like clams but didn't seem to be alive. Not sure what they were. At this point, we had seen plenty and were ready to get out of the water for the last time.
We got cleaned up and headed into Grand Case to find something to eat and/or drink.
Our taxi driver had recommended that we eat at one of the lolos in Grand Case. Lolo is the nickname for local, informal outdoor restaurants.
This photo was taken the next morning so the light is all wrong, but it shows the lolos from the street.
That's how we ended up out on this pier looking back at our resort in the distance. (Those are our shadows in the water.)
We had strolled past the lolos out to the pier and were discussing whether or not to give it a try.
Sure, why not? It turned out to be a very good decision. We had a seat at Scooby's Bar & Creole Restaurant, one of six lolos all grouped together.
Our taxi driver had recommended this one in particular. There were so many good things to try, it was hard to choose.
This map on the table gave us a good overview of the places we'd been and the places we still need to visit.
The live lobsters in the lobster tank toward the back of the restaurant had nothing to fear from us, because we were here for the barbecue.
Tom had a plate of barbecue chicken with rice and plantains, and Debbie had a huge pile of barbecue ribs with plantains.
We also had a freshly made Johnny cake, which was fried bread dough in a donut shape. We should have ordered a couple more of those.
After dinner, we strolled back to our hotel.
We passed lots of flowers behind the other buildings in the resort.
Some flowers were growing up trellises facing the parking lot.
This was one of several banana trees.
When we got back to our room, we remembered that we still hadn't gotten a photo of Orchy in St. Martin. His latest left arm was now missing, so please try not to stare.
Here's the view looking back toward Grand Case.
Occasionally, a plane would come in very low for landing at the airport right behind the town.
The property cat came out for a bit of water. As we watched him, some people came along, called him by name, and gave him a bunch of well-received affection.
It was beautiful after sunset, ...

... and even more so after dark.

Day 10 >

Caribbean 2015: [Day 1 - St. Maarten] [Day 2 - Saba] [Day 3 - Anguilla] [Day 4 - Virgin Gorda] [Day 5 - Norman Island/Soper's Hole] [Day 6 - Jost Van Dyke] [Day 7 - St. Kitts] [Day 8 - St. Barthélemy] [Day 9 - St. Martin] [Day 10 - St. Martin] [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

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