A Lawyer Looks at Forty

I’ve never been much into birthdays, but it seemed like being around four decades is something that should be celebrated. So off we headed to the little Caribbean island of St. Maarten, which is half Dutch, half French, and all great. Our condo was at Simpson Bay on the Dutch side, and taking in the view from the balcony on the first day, it looked like we had made a good choice



After a fairly late first night, we jumped into the rental car Saturday morning and made our way up to the French side to Cul de Sac, where we caught the boat over to Pinel Island


a beautiful little place off the northeast coast of St. Martin. Mickey taking in the waters


Tony the natural snorkeler


Mickey and I defying gravity


and falling to earth


Thumbs up from Andy with Mickey’s cool new camera that works underwater


Lunch, pulled from the ocean right in front of us


Great snorkeling around the island, Andy and I went out for about an hour, which led to a nice sunburned back on the first day. Still, a great start to the week.

On Sunday we headed back up to the French side to Orient Beach, where we spent the day in front of the Kontiki restaurant and bar


Had a great lunch there at our own private table on the beach. Great food on the French side throughout the week, whether by day on the beaches, or at night in towns like Gran Case and Marigot


Did I mention this was the French side?


As we left Kontiki around sunset, the DJ was setting up for a beach party that apparently was scheduled to last until 5 a.m. Don’t think we could have lasted another 12 hours there in our swim trunks.

Back on the Dutch side we made it to bed a little before that, and spent Monday at Mullet Beach, a beautiful little bay that cured all the morning’s ills. Wrapping up a nice day there before heading off for a sunset drink at Cliffhanger Bar down the road


Monday night we had a great dinner at the Marina Royale in Marigot at a place called La Belle Epoque, and then called it an early night; there were actually quite a few early nights the rest of the week, a sure sign that my thirties were being left behind.

After a morning swim Tuesday at Simpson bay, we dropped Tony off at the airport and headed back to the French side to Baie Rouge


Andy and I swam around this rocky point and found a cave to snorkel through which was very cool


And the grilled shrimp kebab for lunch from the beach restaurant behind us was fantastic.

Wednesday morning we decided to head up to Marigot to catch the Link Cat to Anguilla





Quite a stunning ride


Pulling into Blowing Point Harbour where we would clear customs into British Anguilla


We rented a car for the day and Andy took care of the driving on the left side of the road. Pulling up to Shoal Bay, things looked promising


and did not disappoint. This guy has the right idea, you can stare at these waters for hours


We got in some excellent snorkeling at the reef out beyond this boat


Great beach setups



Enjoying a cold Carib with Mickey


Nice lunch scenery to go with a great lunch about to be served


Overall, it was a superb day on Anguilla.

Back on St. Maarten, even the random empty beaches we checked out on the island were beautiful. This is Baie aux Prunnes on the French side


Looking out the front of our condo, across the road is Lady C, a classic old sailboat converted into a bar. We had cocktails there on quite a few nights, Brian the bartender was a wealth of information about the island. Pretty funny sipping on a drink as the whole bar sways with the ocean


The view from the famous Sunset Beach Bar, literally at the end of the airport runway. A few people try to stand right behind the planes as they take off, I am guessing after a few too many Sunset Beach cocktails. This Air France plane could literally blow you from your feet as the engines power up to takeoff thrust


Love the sign


We dropped Mickey off at the airport after Sunset Beach Bar on Thursday and headed up to Orient Beach one last time where we caught up with some friends from DC that happened to be in St. Martin at the same time. We ended the day with a great dinner at Le Pressoir in Gran Case followed by some live music at Club Calmos, and the next day we were off. The week went by quickly, and as we boarded our flight home, there was that Air France flight again. You can see the Sunset Beach Bar just beyond it, and the people right behind the plane about to take on the jet blast


Andy mentioned it was my birthday to the US Airways stewardesses, some of the nicest I have ever met, and pretty soon it was photographs and free birthday drinks


And with that, we put the wraps on a great week in the islands. Special thanks to Sofia and Doug for the brilliant suggestion. Who knew turning forty could be so much fun?


A postscript to the trip: Rang in the official birthday at midnight Saturday in DC at Pasta Mia, a great Italian restaurant owned by Chef Roberto, a friend of my Dad’s. He says he remembers like yesterday holding me in his arms just after I was born when we all lived in the Bahamas. Still hard to believe. Thanks to everyone, family and friends, for all the birthday well-wishes. Forty years put to bed, plenty of adventures still ahead….

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