Day 10 Phillipsburg, St Maarten
Just to prove that the weather can be unpredictable in the Caribbean after docking the clouds rolled in. Azura was the only ship in harbour in the early morning except for two ‘super yachts’.
After breakfast we caught the ferry from the cruise terminal to the town so that we could have a wander around all the shops. We walked up to the end of the boardwalk then crossed over onto Main Street and walked along it to the end.
The number of shops here in Phillipsburg was amazing and most are extremely good value. A quick visit to McDonalds provided access to free wifi to check emails.
In one of the side alleys from the main street to the promenade I found my only graffiti of the day.
We took the ferry back to the ship from the Town Beach. Our wrist bands allowed us to take as many crossings we wanted that day. The downside is the ferry stops running at about 6 pm so not very useful for an evening on the town.
After picking up our things off the ship we went to the cruise terminal’s taxi stand to find a taxi to take us to Maho Beach. This was much harder than usual as another ship had arrived and it as chaotic around the pickup zone. We finished up sharing a taxi with a party of six going downtown and a German couple going to Maho Beach.
We had had rain during our window shopping but now the heavens opened and didn’t let up for the next four hours. The bar has been extended since we were last here in November but the amount of cover was still limited. We were lucky that the colleague, from Bracknell Camera Club we had arranged to meet, had grabbed a table and stools under cover.
Other planes were landing and taking off despite the wind and low cloud cover until one of the jets hit wind shear and still landed. A couple of later jets simply aborted. So landing went quiet for quite a time
For the first time that we have visited the beach, jets were taking off over the ocean(and us)
Time passed as we waited for the Air France A340 to land at 3pm. I remain fascinated at just how low some the jets approached over the breach – the below was typical.
For a while we did get some sunshine.
The planes were landing again but the rain just kept coming also.
The bar at the side of the beach has been extended since our visit last November and will soon have a large food area as well as much extended bar area – all with great views as planes come into land. We finally gave up and left at about 4 pm.
Here are some new views of the Sunset Bar.
Our taxi ride back was in the first taxi we could find and we shared it with five folks from South America who managed to upset the driver by asking him to stop at a couple of viewpoints to take pictures. Back onbaord, we went for something to eat at one of the open restaurants and had a pizza on the Lido deck.
The Air France A340 it appears, had been diverted to Guadeloupe because of the weather and landed much later on St. Maarten. So instead of passing over the ship when it left for Paris just after 17:00, it screamed over the ship at 19:30 on its way home a good 2.5 hours late but it was too dark and there was too much cloud cover to snatch a picture – maybe next visit.
After dinner (of roast leg of lamb) we went on deck to watch a Gary Barlow and then a Freddie Mercury tribute act, with the house band Jet Set. During these performances, Azura left for Antigua late in the evening.