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ST. MARTIN, CARIBBEAN

The smallest island in the world partitioned between two different nations, St. Martin/St. Maarten has been shared by the French and the Dutch for almost 350 years.

We anchored in Simson Bay on the Dutch side of St. Martin. The anchorage was pretty exposed so we decided to take advantage of the most unique feature of St. Maarten -- the Caribbean's largest landlocked lagoon.

Phillipsburg Lagoon
After our check-in on the Dutch side and paying the fees, we got in line behind Stardust to go under the lift bridge and into the inner lagoon.

There are several marinas in the harbor, in addition to numerous boats on mooring balls and at anchor.

 

We were anchored right under the flight path to the airport runway. A steady stream of planes flew just hundreds of meters overhead, cracking the silence with the roar of their engines. We waved at the passengers, their noses stuck to the windows to see the sight below.

We carefully wove our way
into the lagoon, keeping
a sharp eye on the depth sounder.

Sunken vessels from
hurricanes past.

We anchored in flat
waters in 9 feet.

We jumped in the dinghy to check out the Marine Stores and the shops on the Dutch side. Then a trip across the lagoon, wandering through various marinas in the fingers leading to Marigot Bay on the French Side, St. Martin. Marigot Bay town boasted colonial buildings and a huge array of shops and galleries.

Marigot Bay

Caribbean colors all around: Markets  on Blvd. de France selling all types of touristy souvenirs lined the waterfront; pastel houses bordering the streets.

Fort St. Louis loomed above the town, the large historical monument named after the crusading king of France and originally built in 1767 to protect Marigot from foreign invaders.

From the top, views of the harbor and Marigot Bay and the surrounding Caribbean islands were stunning.

Island Drive 

We rented a car with Stardust and took a tour of St. Martin. From the high hills souring from the water's edge, we could see for miles over the island.

Orient Beach, St. Maarten - a gorgeous long sandy beach in Phillipsburg.
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