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December 25, 2002
Christmas with Nate and Sandy

When Nate sent Curt an email declaring he and Sandy were going to meet us in Saint Thomas for Christmas, we were both totally guffawed! We never thought Nate would actually come down. It's a flipping long ways away from home and no cheap ticket either. The problem was, we hadn't planned on being in Saint Thomas for Christmas. We were going to Saint Maarten. We were afraid that if told Nate to go to there instead, he may just blow the whole thing off… but we figured we'd see what he thought. Surprisingly, it didn't seem to be a big deal and he replied he'd meet us there instead. But still, I was too skeptical to get my hopes up. I'd believe he was coming when I saw him walk off the flight.

After arriving in Saint Maarten and such a long sail, we had lots of work to do: the sail had to be repaired and put back up, the boat was an absolute disaster, and we had to somehow repack everything to make room for Curt and I to sleep somewhere. No worries- Nate and Sandy, and later- Amie- were coming to visit! There was no time to waste, and so we spent those days not recuperating, but getting the boat ready for guests.

Sandy arrived early on the morning of the 20th, as she was flying from Antigua where she had just been finishing up her last project at her old job: a new interior installation at a new resort. Nate would be arriving later that night, coming from San Francisco. We met a stressed out Sandy at the airport and directly took her to lunch and a decompressing margarita. We dragged her on the rounds of our Saint Martin circuit so fast it would've made most people's head spin. Not Sandy though- she rolled with the punches and checked out the Business Center, the Saint Martin Yacht Club, enjoyed their Friday night BBQ, and even got to partake in the late afternoon tradition of watching the mega-yachts come in through the drawbridge. She was eons ahead of Nate by the time he showed up at 10:00 that night. Poor guy got back to the boat, and as excited as we all were to see him- we were too pooped to party. Instead, we got to hear the beautiful sounds of Nate playing guitar for the first time in almost nine months!

The rest of the week we did a whole lot of sailing, hanging out on the boat, and looking for some good snorkeling (to no avail). Early Saturday we set off for to Road Bay, Anguilla and Nate set a Force Five record: four tuna in one trip! Crazy! I was bummed Sandy didn't get to catch one- but it wasn't for not trying. The next day we took the boat around to a bay by a little spot called Ray's where we rapped out with our favorite grumpy waitress. You can't believe how rude she is, and about the time you get used to it, she ends up being a real charm to talk to. She makes a mean rum drink, and got the night off to a wicked start for us. By 9 o'clock, we were thinking were rock stars all back together again!

Then on Monday we head off in the direction of Saint Barth's: a French island south east of Anguilla, on the other side of Saint Martin. The winds weren't cooperating, so we pulled in for some grub at the Greenhouse in Philipsburg. Tuesday, we gave it another shot and made it, but not without getting at least one crewmember seasick. Once we were anchored, we were all happy to just relax in the pretty little anchorage for a few days.

We spent Christmas here, in this peaceful little spot, surrounded by enormous mega-yachts. Santa came and filled our stockings with goodies. Like lookalike Star Wars Pez! Some days are more of a bummer not having a fridge- Christmas being one of them. No turkey on Force Five. Instead, Curt whooped up some sort of burrito concoction from cans onboard. It was actually delicious- but looked like it came out of the bilge. Our guests were total troopers and never made a peep.

About this time we were ready for a dose of civilization again, and you know the girls were itching to check out the stores. We kicked the afternoon off with a cheeseburger in paradise at Le Select (Mr. Jimmy Buffet's inspiration for the song) before the boys bar hopped along the girls' shopping route. Sandy made-out with some killer deals and a fabulous teeny bikini or two! We then took advantage of the fine French food available and Nate, Sandy, and Curt picked out an assorted selection of pates, meats, and cheeses for dinner. And don't forget- French wine!

The next day held a wild sail back to Saint Martin to meet Amie. What started out as a beautiful, nice little sail turned into an MTV party boat. Luckily we still were anchored, and made it to shore in time to meet her at the Lady C Floating Bar. What a site for sore eyes she was when she got out of the cab! She really got the party going with "snow" from a box, and a harmonica for Allison to play with Curt. Or, rather- tonight anyway, she played it (uninvited) with the hired entertainment, Ian, over at the Yacht Club. But he's so great- he seemed to get a kick out of the impromptu partner.

But OY did the next day hurt! At least for Amie and I. I guess in earnest excitement, we over imbibed (a lot), and most of the day was shot. We spent it on the beach eating chocolate ice cream while we watched sail Force Five over to Marigot on the French side of Saint Martin. Sandy had to get just a little more last minute shopping in, and then we all rendezvoused on the waterfront for an awesome, awesome dinner.


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