Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Leaving to go down island

Paul LaFrance <pflafrance@...>

We have been to St Martin on both sides. We prefer the French side as customs is a lot easier and it is a lot cheaper. When you check in on the Dutch side the fee is $82 (40 the bridge & 42 for the bay for 1 week) plus a $7 exit fee. No services provided. ie mooring ball. If checking into the French side you should go to the Capitanary in the lagoon. The fee is $9 entry and $9 exit. Anchor in Marigot and dinghy in through the channel. The Capitanary is located in Marina Fort Royal. If you check in in Marigot Bay at Fort Louie the charge an additional fee approx. $35 to anchor in the bay. No one pays it when they do come around to check as the Captain is always ashore. No one pays attention to them as it is just another money grab.
We have gone through the lagoon from one side to the other, but not since the hurricane. We have someone in the dingy with a hand held depth-sounder and VHF. The channel is narrow and we go through at high tide which gives us an extra foot max. There is a cruisers network on VHF CH 10 at 7:30 every morning M-S. You could ask for some one to take you into the lagoon. The lagoon is less wavy than outside (Marigot or Simpson Bay).  Most boats come through the Dutch bridge and the causeway to anchor on the French side of the lagoon and that is what we did this time as we were already checked in on the Dutch side having work done in the yard. If you transit directly to the French side there is no Dutch fee as you do not have to check in on the Dutch side
While in the lagoon we do not make water and the bottom can get growth.  Staying 2 weeks should be all right. We do lock the boat up and secure the dinghy by a halyard and lock at night.
Once in the lagoon it is easy to get to either side.
Hope this helps

Paul & Susan LaFrance
Currently anchored in the French side of the lagoon

To: amelyachtowners@...
From: amelyachtowners@...
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2015 11:58:59 -0800
Subject: [Amel Yacht Owners] Leaving to go down island

In late Feb we leave PR for our first extended Caribbean cruise.  After a stop at St. Croix we will cross to St. Martin/Maarten.  I have been reading whatever I can find, but am confused about customs/immigration.  Looks like the Dutch side office at the bridge is easier and more convenient but more expensive.  I read that the French side has "self check in" using computers at various locations but I have found no listing of those locations.  Is there adequate depth to enter the lagoon from Marigot Bay?  One website/guide said "local knowledge" only but the chart shows adequate depth in the channel.

Also, how easy is it to drop off a crew member at the airport in Sint Maaten to fly home?

Does anyone have suggestions and tips?  Any experienced, first hand info would be very useful.  Thanks in advance.

sail2live "at" hotmail "dot" com.

Curt Epperson
S/V Languedoc
1987 Maramu

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