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French Fun and Games – A Tale of Swiped Sandals

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Setting: Anse de Colombier, beautiful clear bay, dotted with sailboats gently bobbing from moorings, surrounded by rugged, arid trails that lead to excellent views.

We returned to Colombier after a hot but satisfying 90 minute walk, climbed into the dinghy and slowly motored back to LIB.

Moored next to LIB was a day charter boat blaring current French songs with about 14 “twenty-somethings” hanging out and generally having a great time.

As we passed, a heavily accented male voice called out, “We have your shoes hostage!”

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Us: “Pardon me?”

Them: “We stole your shoes.  Off your boat.  You must come have drink with us if you want them back!”

Needless to say, we were a bit startled to know that someone had climbed aboard and taken a pair of shoes while we were away…(on the back deck, not inside).

BUT, we rescued our shoes, shared a drink with the neighboring boat and met some people who work on St. Bart.

According to JeanCharles and Arnaud, taking something small from another boat is a game they play at anchorages in an effort to meet other boaters. Initially we were a bit put off, but soon found these two young instigators interesting and fun.

Later in the afternoon, Arnaud and JeanCharles swam over to LIB and we shared an afternoon beverage and we learned a bit more about these young Frenchmen. Turns out Arnaud and JeanCharles work at an upscale hotel on St. Barts and for the last five years or so they have sought to see the world by working odd jobs in areas that interest them.

JeanCharles appears to be the more traveled of the two having worked in Spain, Australia, Asia, Brazil and St. Barts.

I’m not sure we will ever initiate this game of “stealing” from another boat, but we were actually glad that JeanCharles and Arnaud chose our boat for their fun and games…. it’s always interesting to meet others and learn how they choose to spend their lives.

And since they are close to the age of our own children, it was nice to have “youngster” aboard.

St. Barts – a Little Piece of France?

We left St. Martin and had a quick and easy motor sail to St. Barts.

IMG_1201St. Barts is in sight.

Our first stop was Anse de Colombier which is exactly the kind of anchorage we love…

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Clear blue Colombier

The water is beautifully clear – I counted 5 starfish on the sand 12 feet below our boat while at anchor!

The French are trying to restore the bay after damage from anchoring and have installed several free mooring balls which we were happy to use. And their efforts are working as much of the sand is gaining sea grass and we saw a lot of turtles and other marine life.

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This turtle posed for the photo!

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Rays and fish just below our boat.

While moored in Colombier we went scuba diving two times on the south side of Ile Petit Jean. The coral and fish were more plentiful than any other Caribbean diving we have done so far.  Our camera wasn’t graded for the depth of our dive, so I don’t have photos, but we saw many schools of fish in a variety of types and sizes.  Also the sponges were HUGE! They looked like giant planters that could be used in a garden.

We also spent a lot of time hiking from Colombier. Here are some of the beautiful scenes from our hikes:

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LIB nestled up close to the shore in Colombier.

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Just another beautiful bay, but too shallow for us to anchor here.

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Gustavia in the distance.

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Gotta have a selfie.

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We managed to exhaust Captain!

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The public pier of Gustavia is clean and landscaped.

The public dock in Gustavia was our next stop on St. Bart’s.  I have to say, this is a gorgeous town where you can buy all kinds of beautiful baubles, clothes, food and wine.

We spent three nights in Gustavia and sampled food from several delicious restaurants. And we managed to find chocolate croissants again! YUM.

After sampling Gustavia, shopping and not buying the rather expensive clothing, we decided Colombier was more our style.

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Kathe and Gary ready for our walk.

So back we went to Colombier to meet up with our friends Kathe and Gary on Tribasa Cross who braved a slog into the wind so they could meet us on St. Bart!

It was great sharing sunset drinks with Kathe and Gary, then hiking with them the following day.

I much preferred St. Bart to St. Martin, at least on this trip. St. Barts was easy to navigate and everyone was very friendly. I was able to practice some very rusty French and my efforts were kindly received. Gustavia feels like a quaint, clean, upscale European city and everything we needed was easy to reach on foot.

An added bonus is that the French are very nice to dogs. The restaurants welcomed Captain when we stopped to eat. In fact in every restaurant the staff immediately brought Captain a bowl of water.  She usually received her drink before we did!

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Sunset in Gustavia, St. Barts.

We really enjoyed the remote and the city life on this island.  St. Barts is definitely on our repeat list.

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