Transatlantic Sunset Tour: Day 5 ~ Philipsburg, St Maarten

Philipsburg St Maarten Logo

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After a quick bacon roll from Lido’s on Deck 9, Sarah & i found our way off the ship, and to the shore excursion point. 

St Maarten Island Tour…(excursion details)

Flying under two flags, St Maarten has got something of a split personality. But despite being one half Dutch and the other French, its whole is as Caribbean as it gets. And on this trip you’ll get to see both sides of this two-faced island, with your guide giving you snippets of history as you go

You’ll travel from Philipsburg(Dutch capital) to Marigot(French capital) passing through dinky villages hardly touched by time. Once you reach Marigot, you have some free time to explore this four street-wide city. All patisseries, pavement cafés and designer boutiques, it’s easy to see why it’s known as the French Riviera of the Caribbean.

The Dutch Side…

Our tour started with a drive around the beautiful Dutch side of the island, the air conditioned bus was perfect on this hot day. The guide pretty much told us that this was the place for the profligates. Casinos, night clubs, fast food outlets etc.  I instantly thought of  Mathew 23 “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean”. Not quite in context, but you get the idea! 🙂

I know i keep going on about the vivid colours, i still can’t put into words how stunning they are, i couldn’t get my camera to do them justice! The Colours will be the main thing i remember about the caribbean! 🙂  

Lookout Point, Simpson Bay Lagoon…

The driver/tour guide said he’d stop the bus for about 5 minutes so we could take some photos of the bay. “Excellent”, i thought as Sarah & i followed a man with a DSLR who was leaving in a hurry off the bus. I thought “if he is so keen to get off, then it must be a beautiful bay”. But as soon as he had moved to the edge of the cliff, he started saying “Why did he stop here? This is horrible, and a building site! There were much nicer places where he should’ve stopped”.

I ignored his complaining and started taking photos of the scenery i couldn’t see anyway, as i wanted to see what he was talking about when i zoomed in at home after the holiday. I still can’t make out the detail, but what i can see looks beautiful!, and well worth stopping for! 🙂

Photo taken of Lookout Point, Simpson Bay Lagoon.jpeg

Lookout Point, Simpson Bay Lagoon.jpeg

St Maarten Bay 4

St Maarten Bay

⇧ Lookout Point – Simpson Bay Lagoon ⇧

The French Side…

Moving seamlessly from the Dutch side of the island to the French side, Sarah started to feel a little more at home as the guide said “You won’t find any Burger King, KFC, casino’s etc. You’ll find cafe’s, restaurants, small independent market stores etc”.

After more fascinating history of the island, we pulled into Marigot(French capital), and now had 45 minutes to have a look around! 

Marigot…

 After leaving the bus, we headed straight for the open space where we found another lovely bay 

St Maarten Bay 5

⇧ Marigot bay ⇧ 

After standing a moment to absorb the beauty, it was over to the market to see what we could find.

The smell of the locals cooking on the market was amazing, but Sarah had found a sweet little craft stall. The lady created items from the coral found off the shores St Maarten. “Oooooh, i could have a necklace made from St Maarten”. I knew that to mean “i’m getting one, i just don’t know which one yet?!” 🙂 

close up photo of Sarah's neckolace she bought fromm a market stall in Marigot, St Maarten

⇧ Sarah’s St Maartens Coral Necklace ⇧  

Sarah really was starting to feel at home here,  but we had to get back to the bus! We enjoyed our stop in Marigot, and we said we’d love to spend a week here to investigate more! 🙂

Back On The Ship…

After finishing the island tour, we went back to the ship to get some lunch. We had a few hours before the ship sails away, so we decided to see if we could find a beach!

Sarah always says “The holiday hasn’t properly started until our feet are standing on the sand!!” 🙂 

After a frustrating hour walking from one end of the dock to the other, trying to find transport to take us to a beach. We started heading back to the ship defeated. When.. suddenly a “Water Taxi” sign appeared! Fantastic, lets go! Eventually we got on-board a very busy(yet cool) boat that took us a short distance across the bay. 

After just stepping out of the boat, i heard “Hi Steve and Sarah”. It was Martin, a kind man i sat next too on the plane over to Jamaica. We’d got chatting on the plane about sight loss and coping etc, and he has a Nephew who is suffering at the moment, so i was giving him some resources that may help etc. We Sadi “Hi Martin, are we anywhere near a beach?” He chuckled a little and said “Yeah it’s right here, just walk down this short pier and you won’t miss it” “Fantastic!” “Don’t be long though, you don’t want to miss the ship” Martin said, as he boarded the water taxi. 

Great Bay Beach…

Photo of the beach, with a palm tree on the left, and 2 cruise ships on the right

⇧ View of the cruise ships from Great Bay Beach ⇧ 

The afternoon sun was getting hot now, which must have been why most of the people were inside the bars. But we had been in air conditioning all morning so didn’t mind a bit of sun. 

It also meant that, not only did we get to walk on the powder white sands, but Sarah got to swim in the turquoise waters with hardly anyone around! An amazing experience! 🙂  

Sarah couldn’t believe she was swimming in paradise, and couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day! 🙂 

A full photo of just sea, with Sarah head poking out in the bottom right corner

⇧ Sarah relaxing in paradise ⇧   

close up of Sarah walking out of the see,with the water up to her hips. Sarah is wearing her fave spotted puple swimsuit

landscape shot of Sarah walking out of the turquoise sea, onto yellow sands, with sailing ships in the far distance

⇧ Beautiful! ⇧ 

It really was getting hot now, so we nipped into a small bar for a cold soothing drink. I thought i’d try a Rum & Coke(though i didn’t taste much coke), and Sarah had her fave Mojito. 

We had a last walk up and down the beach before boarding the water taxi back to the ship. What an amazing day! This whole holiday has been simply breathtaking for us, and Sarah still can’t believe she got to swim in the beautiful, warm Caribbean sea! 🙂

Towel Folding & Beyond…

You’ve already seen the fantastic towel folded Elephant on Day 1, and each night the cabin steward folded our bed in amazingly straight lines, but he went one step further. We found Sarah’s nightie folded in this fantastic pattern.

a close up shot of the fantastic pattern folded by the cabin steward on Sarah nightie

a photo of the folded bed covers and Sarahs Folded Nightie 2

⇧ Folded nightie and bed, with chocolate mints on pillows ⇧   

Our Route 4 2day…

This evening Thomson Dream sails to Basseterre, St Kitts. We’ll arrive tomorrow morning having travelled 59 nautical miles at an average of 4 knots.

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About Steve Rebus

Christian, Blind photographer, husband, plays guitar and drums. Loves researching accessible apps and technology.

16 Responses to “Transatlantic Sunset Tour: Day 5 ~ Philipsburg, St Maarten”

  1. I am so thrilled for you two that you have been able to take such a beautiful trip together! I’ve been enjoying the pictures here and in Facebook. I love them and your stories!
    The feeling you got on the Dutch side of the reminded me our trip to New Orleans, Louisiana last year. I was praying walking down the streets for all the people since it was full of so-called psychics selling their services and a drunken man laying and sleeping on a sidewalk as if that was just what he did all the time. So very sad.
    I’m so happy your vacation has been so lovely!

    • Thanks Heather, we were blessed to be able to go on this trip. We’ve never seen such beauty, and expierenced so many different things.
      Sad to hear about your experience of New Orleans, Louisiana, but encouraged that you were there praying for them! People need to know of the blessed Hope and Love beyond measure we have, and that’s available to all who repent, and follow Him.
      Hope you join us on the rest of the tour as we travel to St. Kitts, St Johns, cross the Atlantic to The Azores, Gibraltar and Spain. 🙂
      God bless you Heather and family! 🙂

      • Thank you, Steve! And yes I anxiously await more stories and pictures!

        • Awwww thanks Heather!!
          It’s such a blessing to know you’re on board with us. It takes me so long to put a post together, i think this 18 day trip will take me until Christmas! lol. And all my friends will have left through boredom! 🙂
          Peace be with you, and your blessed family! 🙂

  2. Have fun sounds like you are still on vacation at steve rebus

  3. Amazng travelogue, Steve and absolutely beautiful photography. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless.

    • Steven, as always thanks for your encouraging words. So pleased you’re enjoying this trip with us.
      I hope the friends of iChristian don’t mind too much that it’s been hijacked by this trip, and turned into a travelogue for a short while?!
      It was so hard to get nice photos, as the mid day sun kept blowing out the contrast and almost white washing the images, but they’ve turned out pretty well in the end! 🙂

      • I didn’t notice the white washing. They are gorgeous photos. I love traveling with you.

  4. St. Maarten is one of our favorite spots in the world! It was where my husband and I spent our 25th anniversary. although it feels like yesterday, it’s hard to believe that was 20 years ago!!! How wonderful for you to spend it on such a beautiful island, acquiring such warm, romantic memories. God is blessing you and your wife richly my friend! (You will also love Spain amidst all that great food, scenery and culture!) Blessings,

    • Awww thanks Ellie! What an amazing place to spend your anniversary, you must have lovely memories of this beautiful place?! 🙂
      We would have loved to spend more time here, and maybe we’ll book to stay for a week or so next time.
      Creating these posts are helping me remember what we did, and they are a great reminder when we want to look back, a digital photo album! 🙂
      I think i’m having too much great food at the moment! lol, i need to read more of your post to pull me back in line! 🙂
      God bless you Ellie, and thanks for joining us on this amazing trip! 🙂

  5. Lead on Cap’n Steve!! Another great day with you! 🙂

  6. More amazing pictures! Thank you for posting them, and allowing me to see such beauty!

    • Dawn, thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comments!
      It’s such a blessing for me to know people enjoy looking at my photos! Thanks again for joining Sarah & i on our trip! 🙂

  7. Another nice day!
    I am enjoying this trip as if I were there with you & Sarah.
    Hope you two don’t mind me as a third wheel. LOL

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