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Sail St Martin – St Barths to Oyster Pond

Sail St Martin with MooringsThe last day of our sail St Martin trip had arrived. Before long we would be headed home. Back to our world where everyone is in a hurry, and island time does not exist. We had one last day in St Martin though so we decide to make the best of it.

I had read in the Cruising Guide that Il Fourche, located a little northwest of St Barths, is a great spot to see turtles. Since this was on our way back to Moorings, in Oyster Pond, we decided to stop and spend a few hours. We were not disappointed.

The approach to Ill Fourche is very easy. It sort of resembles a volcano where the west side has been blown out, allowing it to fill with water. The only thing to watch out for is a rock that is awash on the south side of the entrance. The rock is pretty easy to spot if you are looking for it as some small waves crash over it.

We made short work of hooking a mooring ball, and were ready to start exploring. Right away we spotted a few turtles coming up for air, and a few suspicious black blobs against the sand at the bottom. Aaron quickly donned his mask and fins, and with camera in hand jumped in. For about 30 minutes he snorkeled around checking out the turtles. Here are few of the pictures he took.
Sail St Martin - Large Turtle - Ile Fourche

Sail St Martin – Large turtle at Ile Fourche

Sail St Martin - Small Turtle - Ile Fourche

Sail St Martin – Baby turtle at Ile Fourche

Sail St Martin - Bad Parking Job - Ile Fourche

Sail St Martin – Where not to park your boat in Ile Fourche

My wife and I decided to snorkel from the boat to a rocky beach area. Along the way we spent some time watching a HUGE turtle eating along the bottom. We also saw a pretty large stingray that we followed around for a bit. And, I was impressed by the size of the sand dollars on the bottom. They had to be as large as the dinner plates we use back home.

Once on the beach we went for a short hike. I wish we had had more time to spend at Il Fourche as I believe that hiking up over the hills to the windward side of the island would have been afforded some spectacular views. The island is rocky with desert-style vegetation so having decent shoes (flip-flops do not qualify) is a necessity for any semi-serious hiking.

After our hike we snorkeled back to the boat, once again enjoying the turtles along the way. Our crew enjoyed our last meal aboard the boat, and before long it was time to make our way to Oyster Pond. After leaving Ile Fourche behind, we raised the sails and enjoyed one last close-hauled sail heading northeast. Once we were abeam of Oyster Pond to port we pointed the boat in the wind, lowered the spinnaker, brought the mainsail in tight, and headed for port.

It was not as windy on our return so the trip through the channel into Oyster Pond was not nearly as rough. After we cleared the channel, we dropped the mainsail and headed for the fuel dock. We refueled the boat, and a Moorings staff member took the boat and placed it in its dock for the evening.

Tomorrow morning we would head home.

READ PART 10 OF THE SAIL ST MARTIN STORY >>

 

 

 

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