On this Wednesday morning, I was awaken early to a cacophony of noise. My first thought was that I was back home, hearing a large flock of Canada Geese returning from Florida. My second thought was that I had woken up in Alfred Hitchcock's film "The Birds"!
The balcony door was open, and James was outside, filming our arrival in St. Maarten, and what seemed like thousands of seagulls were eagerly greeting us. I've never seen so many seagulls in one place - what a racket!
I closed the balcony door and went back to bed.
Sleep was not to return though, so by 7:30 we were up in the Horizon Court for breakfast, and through the window, we watched a disabled freighter struggling to dock, while 2 tugboats pushed it in.
We were off the ship by 9:00 to take some pictures on the pier.
I marvelled at the colour of the water in the port, so beautifully turquoise, it even matched my outfit for the day!
We even got a photo of our balcony cabin on Deck 14, which we found with the help of our Canadian flag windsock waving in the breeze!
At 9:20 we met up with out tour group for the St. Maarten Beach Break.
As we lined up on the pier, we were right beside the front, port side of the ship, where entertainment was provided while we waited.
There were two crew members, perched precariously on a little dinghy of a boat, each wielding 10 foot long poles attached to paint rollers, and doing an incredible balancing act, they were painting the side of the ship!
Once everyone had arrived,we walked through the pier entranceway and to a comfortable, air conditioned bus, which took us across the island to the French side, to Orient Beach.
Our guide on board the bus gave us a very interesting background history of St. Maarten and St. Martin, discussing the differences between the Dutch and the French sides. There were the usual jokes about seeing people in their "birthday suits" at Orient Beach, and that most of them needed ironing!
It was then I remembered the words of the juggler/comedian we'd seen the night before, who had been juggling bright pink silicone balls as part of his act. He's asked if any of us were going to the nude beach tomorrow, and told us to look for him there. "I'll be the guy on the beach with the pink balls" he said with a smile.....
Around 10 am, we arrived at Kakao Beach, a public beach located within a private resort in Orient Bay.
It was a beautiful area, with crystal turquoise water, and gentle waves rolling in. The sand was white and clean, and there were comfortable padded lounge chairs for our use, and shade umbrellas could be had for a mere $3.
We went directly into the water and didn't come out for over an hour, it was just glorious!
We swam and walked the length of the beach and back, on the lookout for the reported "nudes" but only saw a few topless women. The trend it seemed, was for couples to wear matching thong-style suits, and we saw a few in fluorescent yellow, green, or flower patterns.
By 11:30, we were ready for lunch, and we were seated at a lovely open-air restaurant area, surrounded by tropical greenery and flowers.
Not to mention PIRATES!
Lunch was included in the Beach Break package, and it was a fine offering of Fish, Chicken, or Ribs, with Rice, Fries or Potatoes, with salad, bread, and a drink. I had the ribs, James had the fish and both were excellent.
While eating, we were joined by a friendly resident cat, who looked uncannily like our own cat at home.
His name was "Jack", "One-Eyed Jack" apparently, because he had only one eye!
Our stomachs full, we took a break from the water, and relaxed in our lounge chairs for awhile, enjoying the sights, sounds and atmosphere of a perfect day at the beach.
I had to go back in the water before leaving, and they had to practically drag me out of there to go back on the bus when it was time to leave. Just one of those perfect days that make you not want to go home!
We returned to the pier by 2:30, way too early in my opinion. I did some souvenir shopping, then we met up with Paul & Pauline at Happy Hours, for my long-awaited frozen margarita.
I was disappointed though, that it did not taste anything like I remembered from several previous trips. I think they forgot to add some essential ingredient - like booze!
Nevertheless, we enjoyed a drink and chat with our friends, and hearing about their explorations on St. Maarten.
Back on the ship, I went for a late afternoon swim in the main pool, and watched a bit of Elton John in concert, showing on the MUTS screen. Nice way to relax after a busy day.