Thursday, December 28, 2017

Silent Dream Destroyed by Hurricane Irma

On September 6, 2017 the largest recorded hurricane in Atlantic history devastated the island of St. Maarten with 185 mph sustained winds with gusts to 240 mph.  We left our beloved boat, Silent Dream, securely tied in a marina tucked in a corner of Simpson Bay Lagoon.  We took great care to prepare her for any tropical storms that may occur while we were gone.  Our preparedness and so many others were no match for Hurricane Irma.  A local stranger took a video during the eye of the hurricane and posted on Facebook and Silent Dream had already been de-masted and possibly sinking.  We later found out that over 300 boats were destroyed in Simpson Bay Lagoon alone and hundreds others around the island.  We had hope that possibly ours survived while no other boat in the marina did, but the same local stranger sent us pictures of Silent Dream sunk in her slip, still tied with all the dock lines and still with fenders attached.

It took over three months for the salvage company and our insurance company to work together with the Dutch government to raise Silent Dream from beneath the salt water that was contaminated with diesel, fuel, battery acid, and other contaminates leaked by the hundreds of sunken boats in the lagoon.  She was raised on December 7, 2017 and the pictures show the devastating effects of her underwater grave.  There was a large hole in her midship starboard side below the water line.  If it wasn’t for this hole, she most likely would have survived.  The hole was patched and Silent Dream was put back in the water because there is no room on land for any additional destroyed boats.  Many of our friends on the dock whose boats all sunk were hoping that at least one boat would survive, but it was not meant to be. 

If it were not for our friends on the island, we would not even have these pictures.  In such a devastating event, there is not enough resources on the island to help and assist everyone with their physical needs, let alone taking pictures of a boat that is gone.  We are forever thankful to all our friends to care enough to help us in our time of loss.  This was our only home we have known for the last three years.  Silent Dream is now waiting to be destroyed because there is nothing left to salvage.

We are now planning our new adventure in the next chapter of our life.  We are grateful we were not on the island during the hurricane and pray for the recovery of St. Maarten and our many friends.  Silent Dream has given us some of the best memories and many new friends that we will cherish forever – these are the gifts that can never be taken from us!  The support of our family and friends has been overwhelming and humbling.  Thank you everyone, we love each and every one of you! 

This is our final blog post on Silent Dream.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

St. Maarten in June 2017

The weather is starting to change and it's getting warmer and more humid, although we always have a beautiful Caribbean breeze.  We were fortunate to have another week at our timeshare at Oyster Bay Beach Resort with the most beautiful pool, comfortable suites with all the amenities including a washer and dryer, and lovely Caribbean views.  We decided to tour two places we had never been – St. Maarten Zoo and the Bird Park.  Both attractions were started by private individuals interested in the wild life of the island.  In the Bird Park, you hold cups of food and the birds land on the cups, your arm, your shoulder or your head.  We have never been able to get so close to exotic birds before this experience.  The St. Maarten Zoo began as a home for recovering and unwanted animals and evolved to the zoo as it is today.  Although it’s small, it has many birds, turtles, monkeys, and even an alligator. 

Our big project was to replace all of our sliding windows in the salon.  We initially thought it would be a good idea to have opening windows for the air flow, but have found that sliding windows not only let the air flow in, but also the sea water.  As you know, sea water is good for the outside of the boat, but NOT the inside.  This makes us very happy that water will no longer be making its way inside and ruining our meager possessions.  There are before and after pictures of our windows. 

And now the season has come to an end for our cruising life, but only temporarily.  Silent Dream has been removed of any and all items that can be damaged or blown off during any tropical storm that may happen in this 2017 hurricane season.  She is secured with chain, line and chafe and many extra fenders.  She is being watched and waits for our return in the fall.  We are now in the States and are very excited to see our family and friends!  Come back to our Blog in the Fall when we return to our home, Silent Dream, in St. Maarten.

Monday, June 12, 2017

St. Maarten in May 2017

Our favorite boat and Captain in St. Maarten is the Celine Too and Capt. Neil.  We have taken many trips aboard the 62 foot motor catamaran for sunset cruises, dinners, Tintamarre island day trip, snorkeling, fishing, beach lounging, and the best homemade food!  Chuck was asked to perform a marriage vow renewal ceremony aboard the Celine Too during a sunset cruise, so beautiful.  

It’s that time of year where the Sargasso Seaweed is abundant and can stretch for miles across the surface.  It is the only seaweed that grows on top of the water and never touches the ocean floor.  The Sargasso is a habitat for many creatures, including shrimps, crabs, worms and even a fish called the Sargassum Fish.  This seaweed causes great havoc for the many beautiful beaches including the pictures we show of Dawn Beach.  This is nature and we love it all as we are still “Livin the Dream” and Loving St. Maarten!

We continue to meet new people and make new friends and have visits with old friends as well.  We met Steve and Suzanne from a city in Illinois near our previous home.  We enjoyed several fun times with them at the beach, at the pool, on our boat and at Oyster Bay Resort where they invited us for dinners with several of their vacationing friends.  We are often with our dear friends, Dwayne and Neil, celebrating Neil’s birthday, dinners out, cocktails at local bars, and game nights.  A local restaurant, Toppers, has a Broadway show night with local dancers and a great show. 

Our friend, Debbie, and her daughter, Mackenzie, from a town near Erie, Pennsylvania, returned to St. Maarten for a week at Oyster Bay Resort and we were able to spend a whole day with them, what fun!  A friend of ours for several years, Hyroline, took a day off from work at Oyster Bay Resort and came with her adorable son, Honor, to visit us on our boat for the afternoon.  Our good friends, Dean and Katie, were on a cruise ship which made a stop in St. Maarten and we spent the day at Maho Beach watching the planes land.  We will soon be returning to the States where we will be stopping to see many of these good friends again!