St Maarten: 16th March 2015
It’s probably the policy of most cruise lines to keep their clients above the surface of the ocean. But, today’s excursion took us under the waves.
We’d docked at Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch part of the island. We were rather impressed with the ‘cruise terminal’, which is really just a complex of shops and bars. But, we didn’t pay much attention to these, as we were going to return to St. Maarten later in the cruise. We did, however, note an internet café, where wifi was on offer at a reasonable price,
We were bussed to Grand Case, on the French part of the island. Without stopping, we passed an unmanned border post which consisted only of a little shack and a raised barrier; this is the only place in the world where France and the Netherlands share a border.
The semi-submersible awaited us at Grand Case, and we cruised for about 45 minutes, observing coral, fish and turtles. I did wonder, did it actually semi-submerse, or did it just have a viewing chamber in the bilges?
All too soon, the cruise came to an end, and we were taken to Marigot, the capital of the French side. Here, we spent some time browsing around the ‘shopping centre’ … which was, in reality, really a collection of colourful stalls selling souvenirs.
On the way back, we got stuck in a traffic jam for a short while, right beside some trees where the guide pointed out iguanas. We couldn’t get off the bus to photograph them, because it was likely to move off at any moment. But, we had a go through the bus windows. The result was just satisfactory … but at least I had more success than I did with the humming bird at Guadeloupe.