There’s an aspect of our catamaran/snorkeling adventure in St. Maarten that I forgot to include in my last recap. Barb and I were talking about it this morning while we were having coffee and watching the sky begin to glow with the threat of another dawn at sea.
As we prepared to board the cat, one of the deck hands had us remove our footwear and place them in bins on the dock. Then, as we climbed aboard, we passed the containers with snorkeling gear and made our selections and moved to our chosen places on the boat. Most of our fellow travelers went into the cabin but Barb and I went forward toward the trampoline-like spots (I’m sure there is an actual name for them) between the two hulls. There were 4 or 5 30-something young men in speedos (clue #1 that they were European) who enthusiastically greeted us (their accents were clue #2) and advised that this was the best place on the boat – if you don’t mind getting wet. Perfect!
Hearty handshakes all around as they introduced themselves. I only remember two of their names: Jost, because that name reminded me of one of the characters in the film “The Way” and David, because he joked that his parents couldn’t afford a real Dutch name.
Possessed of wonderful individual and group energy, they explained that they are currently living on St. Maarten.
It seems that they had lived here previously, from 2010-2013, and had returned to help with the reconstruction after the hurricane, having friends who still live here. At present they were at the end of a 2 week holiday (clue #3 – they didn’t say ‘vacation’).
Their joi de vie was nearly infectious and we laughed together, swam & snorkeled, sang show tunes & sang along with the radio when familiar songs played and were grateful for their kind assistance a couple times.
Like when Jost helped me to help Barb while trying to get on the bottom of the “chicken stairs” at the end of the snorkeling adventure as we, the boat, and the stairs pitched in the swells (“just relax and go with the rocking”). Sound advise, Jost.
And when we were back on the boat after the beach swim. Barb had gotten rolled in the sand by the swells that knocked her down – and she’d relaxed and laughed like it was the best thing ever – as it happened over and over. As Barb and I swam back to the boat from the beach, Barb quoted a Lily Tomlin line from an episode of “Grace and Frankie” we’d watched last week: “I think I have half the beach in my vagina.”
There she stood on the back of the catamaran, trying to hose off/out some of the sand from her swimsuit. Jost (or maybe one of his fabulous friends?) offered to assist – and held the hose for her, spraying it down the top of her swimsuit while she held it out for the water. What fun! It looked like nearly half the beach was on the deck. (Later, the rest found its way to the floor of the shower in our cabin. But Jost wasn’t around for that fun.)
Through our giggling I heard Jost say “I’ve never done this for a woman before!” We laughed even harder.
The cruise back to the port was, as I mentioned elsewhere, a fun roller-coaster ride and we rode it con gusto, holding on to the rail up front while we stood on the “trampoline” and bounced – laughing and singing and, as warned earlier, getting wet. Other than a nice Norwegian couple (he wore a speedo, naturally, and she a two-piece), most of the rest of the passengers remained in the salon. I really don’t think they had as much fun as we and our fabulous new friends had.
Talking about it this morning, Barb observed “It’s really a shame that Americans don’t seem to be able to have as much fun as… those Dutch boys.”
Smart woman. And fun.
And not Dutch, but definitely fabulous!