Wind Vacation in St. Martin
About St. Martin/St. Maarten:
Saint Martin is a tropical island in the northeast Caribbean. The island is divided roughly in half between France and the Netherlands. The divided island is the smallest territory in the world shared by two sovereign states.
Collectively, the two territories are known as St. Martin (French side) and St. Maarten (Dutch side). The main towns are Marigot and Philipsburg, respectively. The only way you will know you are crossing an international border is when you see the sign “Bienvenue Patie Francaise.” The two nations have been living in peaceful coexistence for many years. The island has a combined resident population of approximately 85,000.
The average yearly air temperature is 27°C (81°F). Because the island is located along the intertropical convergence zone, it is occasionally menaced by tropical storm activity in the late summer and early fall.
The dutch side is for people who want a Caribbean vacation with a splash of Las Vegas. It is known for its casinos, festive nightlife and duty free shopping. In contrast, the French side is more quiet and secluded. The French side is known more for its nude beaches and rich French and West Indian cuisine.
The island is quite safe and very friendly. No reason to be trapped in the resort – this island is to be enjoyed and explored. State languages are Dutch and French, of course, but English is spoken in the tourist areas.
When to go:
The trade winds season extends from the beginning of December until the end of April. June and July is another windy season when the island gets tropical waves and stronger winds.
St. Martin has a dry climate. It is sunny most of the time. The trade wind blows year round with an average of 12-13 knots. Average water temperature is 24°C (75°F). No wet suit is necessary.
The wind is generally more established in the early morning, weakens towards noon, then strengthens in the mid afternoon. There are a few islands in many of the bays; lovers of island to islands sailing will be enchanted with the landscape and will certainly see turtles. During the winter, often you can sail with dolphins and sometimes even whales.
Beaches to go:
Although St Martin has 39 beautiful white-sand beaches most windsurfers and kitesurfers go to a few beaches on the French part of the island.
Orient Bay is a long white powdery beach which provides different sailing conditions for everybody. Beginners can practice inside of the bay and sail to the island of Green Cay. However, Orient Bay could be a bit too choppy for the beginners. The advanced sailors will enjoy the swell of the Atlantic Ocean outside of the bay, as well as, island to island hopping. Ocean swells are easily reached offshore. Orient bay, is also called “the Pearl of the Caribbean” because of the beauty of the landscape which surrounds it. You will find many beach restaurants, on Orient bay. This is also the island's official nudist beach. It is not allowed to ride within 100 m of the swimming area.
Windsurfing and Kiting gear and lessons are available.
Pinel Island lies in Orient Bay and can be reached by a ferry ride off the northeast coast. Ferries, costing US$6 per passenger, run from Cul de Sac to Pinel daily. Pinel is often called St Martins best kept secret and has always been popular with locals. The island has no residents (except wild goats), phones, or electricity. You will find white-sand beaches, reefs with great snorkeling, and waters ideal for wind or kite surfing.
Coconut Grove Beach (Le Galion) is just a little south of Orient Bay. This is one of the best spots for beginners and intermediates because of the flat water and easy launching. Rentals and lessons are available as well. There is a big field next to the windsurfing school located here to lay out, launch, and land your kites.
Dawn Beach a little further south on the east side of the island, is noted for its underwater life, with some of the island's most beautiful reefs immediately offshore. There is plenty of wave action for everyone; even for the serious surfer. Not recommended for beginners.
Maho Bay Beach is near the airport. Head there if you don't mind the planes taking off and landing nearby. This is one of the island's busiest beaches.
Simpson Bay Beach is west of Philipsburg before you reach the airport. It is 2km-long (1 1/4-mile) white sand beach. There are no changing rooms or other facilities.