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Sail St Martin – Grand Case to Anse Marcel to Tintamarre

Sail St Martin with MooringsAfter another restful night, day 4 of our sail St Martin trip started with a quick stop at Anse Marcel to top off our water tanks. Anse Marcel is just east of Grand Case, and not far enough to bother putting the sails up. It features a great little marina that is very protected. It would be a great place to shelter if you were riding out a storm.

The approach to the marina is through a narrow channel on the east side of the bay. As we approached I wondered whether it was wide enough for my Moorings 4800 catamaran. Once in the channel though, I had about 10 to 15 feet of clearance on either side. Since there is only room in the channel for one boat at a time there is a passing point about halfway through the channel. Once we reached the marina I was able to dock the boat on the first try. Yeah me!

Sail St Martin - Coming Out of Anse Marcel Channel

Our Boat Coming Out of Anse Marcel Channel

It cost about $8 to fill one of our water tanks and top off the second. While we were on-boarding water, some of the crew went ashore to find ice. After about 15 minutes we had ice and water, and were headed back out through channel. As we left, there were huge lizards on both sides of channel. Most were just lying in the sun, but others were running around chasing each other. At one point I heard Heather shout from the bow of the boat, “Oh, he got her!” I glanced off to starboard and apparently those two lizards had been playing “adult tag”!

Sail St Martin - Giant Lizard at Anse Marcel

Giant Lizards of Anse Marcel

As we left Anse Marcel and turned east to head toward Tintamarre we encountered some pretty stiff wind right on our bow. Since we would have been sailing into a heavy wind and seas of 5 to 7 feet I decided to just motor over to Tintamarre. The wind and waves were enough to throw water back over the cockpit several times.

As we pulled into the lee of Tintamarre the wind and waves decreased, and were able to snag a mooring ball for our boat pretty close to shore. Since it was lunchtime, some of the crew set about making sandwiches while others prepared to head ashore. Aaron took one look at the beach and decided that this was a “Yeti Ashore” opportunity.

My boat was fortunate to have a Yeti aboard. Moorings will provide a standard Coleman cooler for the boat. This is good, but a Yeti meant colder beer and less need to purchase ice during the trip. This year, Aaron decided to bring his Yeti as his luggage. He even managed to create a set of wheels that snapped onto the bottom of the Yeti so he could pull it through the airport. When he didn’t want the wheels, they fit conveniently inside the Yeti itself.

Sail St Martin – Yeti with Wheels!

Throughout the trip we perfected our use of the Yeti. A Yeti will keep ice for days. It is one of its selling points. However, we were noticing the ice was melting faster than we had anticipated. We realized that the problem was our “take one, leave one” policy for the beer cooler. When you took a beer you replaced it with a warm beer so that there would always be cold beer in the cooler.

However, the warm beer was melting the ice faster. Fortunately, we had decided to also bring the Moorings-provided cooler with us. To solve the warm-beer-melting-the-ice-too-fast problem we used the Coleman as a “staging” cooler. We filled it with beer and ice, and pre-cooled the beer before transferring it to the Yeti. We called this our two-stage-beer-cooling-system. This saved the ice in the Yeti, and we were able to enjoy Yeti-cold beer throughout the trip. Plus, since we were not opening and closing the Coleman as often, it did not go through as much ice as it would have had it been our primary cooler.

Since Tintamarre was a “Yeti Ashore” stop, this meant we needed to load the Yeti into the dingy. If you’ve ever lifter a Yeti fully loaded with ice and beer you’ll understand that this is easier said that one. We figured it out though, and before long Aaron and the Yeti were headed ashore.

We spent several hours at Tintamarre. Heather and I did a little exploring of the island, but mostly we hung out in waist deep water listening to music, drinking beer, and just enjoying the company of those on the trip with us. Before long it was time to leave. Nobody was ready to leave, but this was not our stopping point for the night.

Sail St Martin - Tintamarre Panoramic

Panoramic View of Tintamarre

After getting everyone, and the Yeti, back aboard we headed for Il Pinel. This was another short trip so I decided to motor it rather than raise the sails. When we left the lee of Tintamarre the wind and seas picked up again. About halfway to Il Pinel I broke one of the major rules of sailing… when underway, maintain three points of contact with the boat at all times. As I headed out of the cockpit to talk to Aaron on the bow, my foot slipped and I fell hard on the deck. The fall was hard enough to knock the wind out of me, and I laid on the deck for a good 30 seconds before I was able to get up.

I was fortunate though, I could have just as easily fallen overboard and nobody would’ve known about it. Later that night it became apparent that I had either broken or bruised some ribs, banged my knee up pretty good, and wrenched my back. As I write this about six weeks later, my ribs are still not fully healed. That night we added a new rule for our boat. Nobody is allowed at the back of the boat alone. You need someone to see you fall off should that happen!

Getting into Il Pinel is not for the faint of heart. Moorings had been kind enough to put the course on the chart plotter for us, but it was still not an easy approach. If you are not sailing with Moorings make sure you study the Cruising Guide and take extra care on your approach.

We set the anchor in about 6 feet of water, and went ashore for dinner. Ashore at Il Pinel was about a quarter mile away from where we anchored. There was a resort within swimming distance, but it closed at 3:30. We ended up heading ashore and eating at a French restaurant before returning to the boat to turn in for the night.

Read Part 7 of the Sail St Martin Story >>




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