A week ago yesterday, we left for (what we thought would be) a 5 day vacation to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten/St.Martin. We were guests of our long-time friends, Patti and Mike at their beautiful condo on the beach. The day before our scheduled flight, we had some concern about tropical storm/hurricane Danny in the Caribbean. We decided if the flight was not canceled we would go. Upon arrival Sunday, the weather was perfect! For extra precaution, the authorities shut down the island on Monday in anticipation of the storm. Monday morning brought cloudy skies and a little rain, but that was the extent of Danny. For a brief time while still well southeast of St. Maarten, Danny had been a Category 3 hurricane, but thankfully had diminished and passed by almost unnoticed. By afternoon, most of the businesses re-opened and things were back to normal. Tuesday and Wednesday brought back typical tropical weather….and it was perfect! We were in the clear! Or so we thought. Enter tropical storm Erika.
By late Wednesday afternoon, we heard of another storm approaching us. And this would surely put a kink in our plans, as we were scheduled to fly out on Thursday afternoon. We went ahead and checked in online, but we caught wind of authorities on the island implementing a mandatory curfew and shutting down the island starting at 10 pm. To prepare for the approaching storm, maintenance men from the resort came and secured and locked the storm shutters on all our sliding terrace doors and large windows. By midnight, the howling winds began to blow. It wasn’t looking like we would be leaving as planned. Thursday morning brought pounding waves, high winds, and the dreaded email that our flight was canceled.
We sat in safety and in the company of good friends, French pastries and tarts, Dutch cheeses, and crackers as the weather deteriorated. One thing was for sure– we would not go hungry!! The winds increased to 45-50 mph sustained and 60 + mph gusts (and maintained that level for twelve hours!) while the waves were crashing up to the second stories on adjacent buildings! We were forced to relax…and it was a welcomed time of rest! There were no Delta flights on Friday and we were rescheduled to depart on Saturday afternoon.
As I have more life experiences, hopefully, I have learned that plans can suddenly change and there is no reason to fret over things that are out of my control! I mean, we had two extra days with friends on a Caribbean island…what is there to complain about?! Unfortunately, the neighboring island of Dominica was hard hit with loss of life, property, and devastating floods. Butch and I are grateful for the mystery of God’s mercy that kept us safe!
St. Maarten/St.Martin is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influence vibe with Caribbean flair. Considered the culinary capital of the Caribbean, locals like to think of St. Maarten/St. Martin as delightfully Dutch and fantastically French!
The temptation to soak up sun and surf is overwhelming, but we also chose to take in the two-country ambience! The entire island has a population of 80,000 comprising more than 150 nationalities and is only 37 miles square!
People line the beach to capture KLM’s landing! This is the largest aircraft that lands on the island!
The Philipsburg Courthouse (on the Dutch side) was built in 1793 and has been renovated several times over the years
We shopped the Wednesday market in Marigot (French side) to see the diverse wares that were offered! The “Spiceman” makes his own blends of spices and sells them along with classic spices at his stand.
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