St Maarten / St Martin Yacht Charters – The Friendly Islands
St Maarten – History
St. Maarten is the smallest Island in the world to be shared by two sovereign governments-namely the Dutch and French. The Dutch side, with Philipsburg as its capital occupies the southern 17 square miles of this 37-square-mile island; St. Martin, a French dependency, occupies the northern half. The dual nationality adds variety to this most unique of island gems in the Caribbean Sea. Both Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin have maintained a peaceful coexistence for over 350 years, the longest of any two bordering nations. The two territories have enjoyed harmonious relations through their history and have shared the prosperity of many years without dispute.
As part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Dutch St. Maarten has been both politically and economically stable. The native languages are English and Dutch. St. Maarten has an excellent seaport and airport, which makes the island very attractive as a hub.
St Martin – History
Before Columbus arrived here during his second voyage in 1493, the island had already been inhabited for some one thousand years. The first people to settle here were a tribe of Arawak Indians who left their homeland in the Orinoco basin of South America and kept migrating upwards along the chain of islands in the Caribbean. They gave it the name “Sualouiga” meaning “Land of Salt” for the salt-pans and the brackish water they found here in great abundance. The few fresh water springs around Paradise Peak, Mount William, Billy Folly, and in the Lowlands could only support a small population, and this is where they mainly tended to congregate. A number of artifacts from this period are to be found preserved in the St.Martin Museum: On the Trail of the Arawaks. The Arawaks were later supplanted by a more aggressive tribe of Indians, the Caribs, who came down from North America and for whom the entire Caribbean is named.
Columbus never actually set foot on the island, but rather claimed it for Spain as he was passing by. He sighted the island on November 11, 1493, the feast of St.Martin, thus giving the island its name. Aside from asserting title to the place, the Spanish never took much interest in St.Martin, so the Dutch, seeking an outpost halfway between their colonies in Brazil and Nieue Amsterdam (now New York), occupied the island in 1631. The Dutch West India Company installed Jan Claeszen van Campen as governor, erected their first fort on the site of Fort Amsterdam, and began to mine salt. Before long, however, the Spanish, who wished to maintain their state monopoly in this essential preservative, became aware of the incursion and in 1633 they recaptured the island, expelling all of the Dutch, who then moved on to occupy Curacao.
St Maarten / St Martin Yacht Charters – Sailing Area’s
A 13-mile cruise north of our base brings you to Anguilla, a British dependency surrounded by unspoilt coral reefs and miles of spectacular white sand beaches. Nearby Sandy Island is a popular offshore stop, and further north, some of the best snorkelling and diving can be enjoyed at Prickly Pear Cays.
On the west coast, Gustavia, St. Barts’ main town, is reminiscent of provincial France and a great place for dining ashore. Ile Fourche is a perfect lunchtime stop on your way to St. Barts and the snorkelling and diving here is excellent. The secluded Baie Columbier is also regarded by many as one of the best anchorages in the Eastern Caribbean
Known as Statia, this is a peaceful island with a quiet charm. Visit the spectacular walk-in volcano, which rises in a perfect cone to 2000 feet. The clear waters sport some exceptional reefs and hundreds of fish, perfect for diving and snorkelling opportunities.
St Kitts and Nevis
A 50-mile reach from St. Barts, the charming island of St. Kitts boasts beautiful beaches and lush scenery. You can also explore the dense rainforest on Nevis or see the wild greenback monkeys at Golden Rock Estate.