Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | November 27, 2011

Mooring in Marigot

N 18° 03.77′   W 63° 05.31′

Simpson Bay Lagoon, Marigot, St. Martin

Marigot waterfront along the Lagoon

We spent the last few days getting settled in our new location. The boat is tied up in the Marina Port La Royale mooring field on the French side of Simpson Bay Lagoon.

We thought a mooring would be desirable for our several-month stay for two reasons. First, we hear the harbor gets very busy around the holidays and we wanted to be sure we could move the boat without losing our spot. We want to explore the anchorages around the perimeter of the island as weather permits.  We will also need to go outside the harbor every few weeks, where the water is clearer, to run the watermaker.  Second, the mooring will save wear and tear on our anchor chain. The Lagoon is supposedly a high marine growth environment and we did not want to repeat our Luperón experience with barnacles growing on the chain after a couple of weeks. The pricing was reasonable and cheaper in the winter season. During the summer the moorings are in demand by boats from St. Barts that use the Lagoon as a hurricane shelter.

The mooring field here is different from any we have encountered so far. Boats are lined up in rows of 4 to 5 and tied to both a bow and a stern mooring. It is like being in a marina without the piers, with the boats a little farther apart. They can fit more boats into the harbor than they could if only one mooring per boat was used. Some of the wider catamarans get two spaces and tie to four mooring buoys. 

Getting tied up to one mooring is usually easy. Two attachments, requiring maneuvering in close proximity to neighboring boats, looked to be a tricky process. The dock master offered to send someone in a dinghy to help us but the captain declined before I could say “please do”! While the big boat was at anchor, we took long lines in to the harbor via dinghy and attached one to each mooring. Then we went back and relocated the big boat. My job was to grab the stern line first using the boat hook and tie it off and then get the bow line while Bob maneuvered the boat.

As Murphy’s Laws of Boating came into play again, the winds that had been calm all day picked up briskly during this exercise, making it more difficult. Our mooring neighbor happened to be returning in his dinghy at the time of our arrival and offered to assist. That turned out to be a huge help since the stern line was not quite long enough to complete this exercise independently. He motored the lines to me via dinghy and the process was then very simple.

We arranged for a mooring on the end of a row so that we can raise and launch our dinghy easily. We need to do that at least weekly to clean the growth from the dinghy bottom. We also thought that with our dogs it would be nice to have only one next door neighbor to annoy. Fortunately our neighbors seem to like the security that the dogs offer by barking every time a dinghy approaches.

At anchor or on a regular mooring boats normally face the wind but we decided to set up with our stern to the east, the usual wind direction. We joke that we are moored Puerto Rican style as we saw this done frequently with the big sport fish boats. The breeze is heavenly on the sundeck and with the galley window open I can cook without breaking a sweat as the wind rips through the cabin.  The drawback is that when it rains the sundeck, where we tend to hang out, gets pretty wet. 

View from our mooring this rainy Sunday. The mooring field has worked out well so far. We will see what happens when the “Christmas Winds” blow!

Our summer was fun, but spending hurricane season in Puerto Rico is a little off-beat for typical Caribbean cruisers. We didn’t meet many people with similar agendas. We are finding a larger and very friendly cruising community here and enjoying meeting new people and hearing about their travels. Happy Hours aboard different boats is a fun and easy way to socialize. We enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal with our neighbors and had all the traditional favorites, with small Cornish hens and a small roast chicken replacing the turkey entrée.  Turkeys are hard to find and a whole bird won’t fit in the small boat ovens anyway.

We are a two-minute dinghy ride from downtown Marigot with many delightful French cafés and shops. The Dutch side is a 10 to 15 minute dinghy ride away. We are getting out to explore a little each day.

Enjoying a quiet and rainy Sunday. I am trying to clean the dinghy between showers. It is a mess after a week afloat and numerous dog beach trips. Showers here are usually brief but today we are getting a deluge. 

Fall has arrived in the tropics. While the weather is still warm (ranging from 76 to 86 degrees), we have noticed that it feels cooler now, especially after sunset. This morning the captain, who usually rises before the sun, was seen wearing a sweatshirt!

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Responses

  1. Aay aay captain! I can’t believe the great adventure you are On. How wonderful…and happy holidays


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