Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In St Martin and Saint Maarten

Probably the longest time spent in one island since we left the Bahamas, and there is very little to say about it. Nothing so nice to look at that you would "wow" it. But it has a lot to offer for a boat preparing to cross the Atlantic, including contractors who don't mind taking you out for a ride.
At some point, after a few electric abnormalities, the freezer stopped working, I called those contractors, called Ener-Tech and when they showed up, I told them that the person who takes care of my refrigeration needs in Norfolk had assured me that compressors rarely gave up and he advised me to carry a spare controlling module. They ignored what I had told them, jumped to the conclusion that it had to be the compressor and proceeded to change it. It is only when they realized that the new compressor was not working either that they asked me for my new module, and then the compressor worked fine. They also tested (too late as it was already out) the old compressor, which worked fine with the new controller.
I have a feeling that this was staged and that they wanted to corner me into buying a new compressor. After negociations, they gave me the new compressor for half price, but in fact, I did not even know if that compressor was a new one. Conclusion, if you go to St Martin, or Saint Maarten and you have a refrigeration problem, do not call Ener-Tech.
The  other thing about this island is that you need to check both sides on price and availability before you make a purchase. The price of Diesel on the french side is 1.34 euro per litre, eqivalent to 6.6 US dollar per US Gallon. On the dutch side, we paid 4.64 US dollar per US Gallon. With that difference, we filled up the tank of the boat by carrying 5 gal jerrycan to the dutch side.
For provisionning, we did both. A lot of food product are better and less expensive on the big super market on the french side. But some products were only available on the dutch side.
In terms of tourism, the island is not really beautiful, but it has quite a few very nice beaches and we did visit a few of them. And I am told that it is a very good island for snorkeling and diving.
But at the end of the day, today Wednesday April 24th, we are ready to go and we will leave tomorrow morning with the  Azores as our destination. Jean-Paul has now been with us for one week, was already familiar with Papy Jovial when he arrived, and he will make the crossing a lot more comfortable for me.

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