We left Anse De Colombier reasonably early to commence we our 12-mile sail to Philipsburg, the capital of St Maarten. The sail went well and as long as you miss some of the rocks between the two islands the passage is a simple one.
We reached Philipsburg just after midday and anchored in the bay outside Bobby’s Marina. The first thing that strikes you when you arrive is the amount of cruise ships and yes, Phillipsburg is just a bigger Port Zante.
To check in you have to walk over half a mile to a container port where customs and immigration is located. Once you are in the office you are greeted by probably the most depressed workers and after spending 3 quarters of an hour filling in more paper work you are free to walk back whilst being bombarded by constant lorry traffic from the port.
Once we were sorted we decided to explore the town, which was another let down. Again you are treated like a cruise ship passenger and as you walk through the fake retail area you are constantly approached to buy the following: Hair Braides, T-Shirts, Parasialing, Segway riding, bike riding, Plastic Turtles, Plastic bracelets, plastic statues, plastic sex toys, plastic hair-bands and a myriad of other plastic crap.
If you walked further into town it improved slightly and you get more of a feel for what the old town used to be like before cruise ships destroyed it but really there is not much to the place that would interest a long staying tourist.
It is unfortunate but our days were numbered at Philipsburg. The weather was changing to offer light winds from a southerly direction; it was time to move on. We spent an extra day in the town as our starter battery for the engine had decided to fail. $150 later we had our new battery. Forget what they say about St Maartens being cheap, everything to do with boats is pretty much the same cost as in the UK if not more expensive.
My Dad helped with the fitting of the new battery but it was not easy fitting it to the small space it lived so a bit of trimming with a knife and an injured Dad made it possible. My Dad has now shed more blood on Troskala (literally).
Nita and my Dad treated us to a fabulous meal at Chesterfields restaurant, which is located just behind Bobby’s Marina (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g147347-d1407881-Reviews-Chesterfield_s-Philipsburg_Sint_Maarten_St_Martin_St_Maarten.html). The food and service here are fantastic although the WIFI is iffy. This was to be our final night in Philipsburg and after enjoying such a lovely meal it was time to complete a night passage back to Antigua.