All four couples that were going to sail St Martin with me were able to come in the day before our Moorings charter began. I prefer coming in a day early whenever possible. It lowers the stress of the first day by allowing me to ease into the sailing trip.
Three of the couples were coming from Atlanta and were on the same flight. The final couple was coming from Washington and arrived about an hour after the Atlanta group. Moorings offered to help arrange a taxi pickup at the airport to take us to Oyster Pond. The cost for this was $10 per person for the group from Atlanta, and $17.50 per person for the couple from Washington.
However, since we were in a day early I decided to plan a side excursion to the Sunset Bar & Grill. This beach bar is located on Maho Beach in Sint Maarten (the Dutch side of St Martin). It is best known for being right at the end of the runway for Princess Juliana International Airport. Its main attraction is allowing you to stand literally 30 yards from the end of the runway while planes take off and land.
When you sail St Martin plan a stop at Sunset Bar & Grill
Since this excursion called for more than a standard taxi trip I contacted Joyce Hanley-Prince. Joyce is a local that runs a small tour company that specializes in helping tourists plan their own excursions. She was very quick to respond to emails and phone calls and overall delightful to deal with. We settled on $25 per person for her to pick us up at the airport, take us to Maho Beach, and then drop us at Oyster Pond. She even included a pitcher of her rum punch made from fresh ingredients grown in her own garden. The punch was amazing, and a perfect way to kick off our time in St Martin.
After some lunch at Sunset Bar & Grill, and experiencing standing behind a large airplane when it takes off, we headed to Oyster Pond. The trip took about 45 minutes. Joyce dropped us at Captain Oliver’s Hotel where we were all staying the first night. (This hotel is part of Captain Oliver’s Resort and Marina where Moorings is based.)
After dropping our luggage in the room, the Atlanta group met up at the hotel’s pool for happy hour while the Washington couple took a quick nap. They had taken the red eye and crossed 3 time zones to get to St Martin so needed a little R&R. Once happy hour was over, everyone was ready for dinner. We ate at a little French restaurant about a 15-minute walk from the hotel.
After dinner, everyone settled in for the night to be ready for our Moorings chart briefing early the next day. Before long we would be casting off to sail St Martin.