We filed our clearance papers with Sint Maarten Customs and Immigration on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 24th, then raised anchor to fall in line for the 16:00 bridge opening. Ocean Angel, along with 20 or so other very large yachts, were jockeying to hold position for the run out through the bridge and the cut beyond. The current was running hard, and we found it difficult to hold position with a strong east wind boosting the outgoing current affect on our boat. I finally gave up trying to mix it up with the crazies and fell off to the side. When the bridge finally opened, I slid into the queue when it seemed safe and we whooshed through the narrow channel to the outer harbor where we raised sails to head off into the waning afternoon light.
We spent a long night rolling dead downwind with Joy tucking herself into the aft bunk, pillows wedged on either side to keep her steady and finally we arrived off Green Cay Marina just as they were opening at 08:00. I listened carefully to the marina’s directions for entering their harbor – straight into the causeway, and take a hard turn to port hugging the far breakwater. Well, let me tell you, I would never attempt this entry with much more than the 20 knot east wind we had pushing us in though the breakwater. Take a look and see what you think.
Once secured and settled into our berth, we cleared Ocean Angel back into US waters for the first time in 6 years right from the marina office. The marina manager, another Steve, telephoned the Customs office for us, and with our Local Boater Option ID cards, clearing in was a piece of cake; no hassles, no charge, and a friendly helpful agent welcoming us back to US waters. For that service, I am extremely grateful, and I’ll remind all US boaters to obtain a Local Boater ID card if you plan to visit foreign ports and return your boat to the US