This is the motto of our Captain, John Townsend who along with his petite
wife Debby, .The Admiral with a muscle., were our hosts for a week-long
catamaran cruise with Trade Winds Cruise Club out of Marigot, St. Martin,
F.W.I. Imagine being able to exchange our Harbour Inn week through RCI
for a week in paradise and the opportunity to experience an all-new
With the release of the new RCI 2001/02 directory, we noticed the new
listing for Trade Winds at two locations and immediately went to their
website . tradewindscruiseclub.com . to check it out. When we decided six
months later to try for the Caribbean, lo and behold, the first exchange
that came up was Trade Winds out of St. Martin. Even though there is an
all-inclusive fee of $545 US we booked it immediately and then waited for
a second week that came up a few weeks later for The Towers at Mullet Bay.
We were really excited, but began to waiver when friends and neighbours
couldn.t understand how we could go away and spend a week on a boat with
people we did not know. A few of our adventuresome friends urged us on,
but it was with a bit of apprehension that we boarded the airplane on Jan.
12th. Luckily, everything ran smoothly. We had no trouble finding Trade
Winds at Marina Port la Royale. We left our luggage and explored the
capitol of the French side, Marigot, enjoyed lunch at one of the cafes
around the port and returned to board our home for the week . Solitaire .
a 48. catamaran. Our new home had six cabins with private heads, three in
each pontoon. We had never slept on a boat and found our quarters to be
very comfortable, with two hatches and the Caribbean breezes blowing, it
was well ventilated. You could even have a shower in the head as the sink
faucet pulled out and you sat on the .john.. Once unpacked and back up on
deck, we met our traveling companions for the week over cocktails and knew
we were going to have a great time. Dinner was prepared by Debby and
served by John and then they joined us and we made a toast to new friends
and new places. We felt right at home.
Up bright and early Sunday morning after a wonderful night.s sleep, we set
out through Simpson Bay Lagoon bridge on the French side and into the open
sea, stopping in Marigot Bay and then off to the Island of Anguilla, a
British protectorate, only 5 miles north. We stopped for lunch at Prickly
Pear Cay before checking in with the Coast Guard at Road Bay where we were
to spend the next 2 nights. The village of Sandy Ground, located on the
strip between Road Bay and the salt marsh, was quite unique and even had
an Internet Caf. The next day, John arranged for a tour of the Island and
the very luxurious resorts, with a stop in the main town to pick up some
hot sauce for Debby, then back to Solitaire for lunch. That afternoon we
took off in the dinghy for Little Bay where we snorkeled, swam, kayaked
and climbed in a wonderful, secluded beach only accessible by boat. We
were a hungry group returning to Solitaire as we envisioned what culinary
delights Debby would have waiting for us that evening.
After leaving Anguilla we returned to Grand Case, French St. Martin, for
an evening and enjoyed our night out on the town while Debby & John had a
break from us! We had a feast of BBQ.d goat ribs and Johnnycakes for $4
at one of the hundred beachside restaurants. They were great and the
price was right. Back on board we were not ready to call it a night and
partied until the wee hours.
The next day we stopped in at Anse Marcel for gas and explored the area
before heading off to the Island of Tintamarre where we were all going to
get beautiful by pulverizing the clay and mixing it with sea water and
then covering ourselves with it. We were quite a sight and it was no easy
task removing the mud. We carried on to Ilet Pinel in Orient Bay,
spending the night there before our crossing the next day to St. Barth.s.
And what a crossing it was. 35-knot winds and 12. seas made for a few
queasy stomachs, but St. Bart.s was well worth the upsets! Talk about
luxury! Here we were sitting right in the middle of it! Our return sail,
the next day, with a stop at Ile Fourche for a few to dive and others to
explore the uninhabited island, other than the goats, was a lot calmer.
We cruised into Great Bay with a stop in Philipsburg on the Dutch side of
Sint Maarten, before returning into Simpson Bay and to our anchor back at
Marina Royale on the French side for our last night on board.
What can we say? We have enjoyed many great vacations, skied the Alps, a
few Super Bowls, motor scooters on most islands, but this was the best
adventure of all. We felt so free and relaxed . no TV, no Radio, no
Newspapers, and no kids for a whole week. Gourmet food and wine along
with super hospitality plus new friends who were strangers a week ago made
for an unforgettable exchange. We highly recommend it.
See you sailing!
What a wonderful adventure sailing the Caribbean out of St.
Martin, FWI on Trade Winds Cruise Club 48. catamaran with 6 berths
including private .heads.. We cruised from Marigot to Anguilla and St.
Bart.s and were able to visit places only accessible by water and had all
the amenities on board such as snorkeling gear, dive equipment, kayaks and
even noodles. The sun shone, the all-inclusive package was worth every
penny and we made great friends with the three couples who were our
traveling companions for the week. Captain John and his petite wife Debby
were so informative and certainly made our week unforgettable. Our thanks
to RCI and Trade Winds.