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The gorgeous island of St Maarten

My trip to the gorgeous Caribbean island of St. Maarten

First and foremost, yes I took that picture and yes that's really how it looks out there. For more of my pictures from St Maarten, go HERE.

I decided one fine day in July 2019, that I wanted to go see the place where the planes land right next to the beach, where you feel like you could almost touch the planes as they came in. Yes, you know the one. It's all over Facebook and Youtube and who knows what else. It's the infamous Maho Beach, in St Maarten! In fact, here's a video I took of a Delta flight coming in:

The runway by the beach and the bright blue seas were the sole two reasons I picked this incredible island to visit. Once I started looking into St Maarten, I realized there was something very different about it.

The tiny 33 sq mi island of St Maarten isn't just one country. It's two. Yes, really.

To put that in perspective, that's one-TENTH the size of New york city... and there're TWO countries on it! It's split horizontally through the middle.

The northern half belongs to France, and the southern half belongs to Netherlands.

For all intents and purposes, they function as two different countries too!

They speak different languages (French and Dutch).

They use different currencies, the Euro and the 'Netherlands Antillean Guilder' (even though they both accept USD at a higher rate).

They have different license plates.

They have signs in their respective languages (also a decent amount in English).

Their stores list prices in the local currency.

Their locals typically speak their respective languages!

It was absolutely stunning to see and I was definitely blown away when I first landed there. My favorite feature about having two countries there was that they had an open border. No stopping whatsoever, just keep driving. You can get from one end of St Maarten to the other in 30min flat. That's accounting for traffic. Without traffic, it's a 20min drive at the most.

When I landed, I was more excited than anything to look at the sea. I'd never seen such blue seas in person and I was STOKED!

I grabbed my rental car and zoomed to my Airbnb, dropped my stuff and ran out to the sea. I sat there for over an hour, absolutely amazed at how I could see through the water all the way to the ocean floor.

It was here that I captured my first sunset picture of the trip:

Over the next week, I had the best time of my life. Naturally I had some really wild adventures!

Every morning I'd wake up pumped to the absolute max to be out there living life. I'd be up at 6am and out the door by 6:20, not knowing where the heck I was going, but I wouldn't stop walking!

One day, I got onto a boat with Captain Alan who is widely known on the island as one of the best people to show you around the island's waters. We set out from the dock and hit our first spot, the island of Tintamarre. It was here that I captured this beauty with my own phone camera:

Yep! It was literally mere feet from me. An absolute gorgeous sight and definitely a memory I won't forget anytime soon.

The wildlife around Tintamarre island is protected. You can't touch it at all. Just swim with it and enjoy it's presence!

The same evening, I went to the Airport to watch some planes takeoff and land. Like I said, this is what the island is most famous for. I remember being a kid and watching the video of the planes landing next to the beach and thinking it would be cool to go there, but I was just a kid who had never left India and didn't even know what or where St Maarten was.

But today, I was on the very same beach myself, about to watch some planes! Crazy how life works out, isn't it?

This experience however, did not go according to plan.

You see, the fence by the runway is painted to warn people not to do exactly what I was intending to do- to stand there and hold on to the fence, in an attempt to bear the wind as a commercial jet set it's engines to full power.

Wellll, I did it anyway. I flew all this way, I wasn't going to let it stop me.

However, I wanted to film it too. So I decided I'd stand on the other side of the street. A whole 20ft from the fence... like that would make any difference.

I stood there, pockets locked up, holding my phone up and started recording.

Things were great! That is, until the jet really hit the throttle.

Now, I used to be a flight attendant. I love flying. I love aviation and I'm working towards my private pilots license. I know what planes are capable of.

Yet to this day, I can't tell you why I thought I'd be okay just getting a good footing and not holding on to anything.

The second the full throttle hit, my phone went flying out of my hands. I turned to try and grab it and my glasses went flying as well. Having moved my footing trying to grab my glasses... I went flying too.

Here's how that looked from my phone:

Needless to say, I messed up.

The phone was down, I couldn't see anything let alone my thin glasses. I looked like Velma from Scooby Doo, looking for my glasses in the sand.

I finally asked some of the people walking by if they could help me find my glasses.

We were all looking around in the sand when this one guy came from the restaurant nearby and asked if we're looking for glasses, saying he saw them fly into the ocean.

Welp. That was that.

Or was it? This dude runs into the ocean like he was Poseidon's son and dives in head first.

After a solid 20 seconds, he comes up- with my glasses in his hand. It was straight out of a movie, I swear to god.

If it wasn't for the crystal clear waters, I would've lost them for sure.

The next day, I was an illegal immigrant.

Wait, what?

Let me explain.

I was walking by the dock, enjoying the sea breeze when a boat passed by. The people on board waved and I waved back. One gent hollered, "Hey brother, where's your Rum Punch?" to which I jokingly responded- "On the boat with you!".

To my utter surprise, he said, "Come on then!", and proceeded to pull up right next to the dock and asked me to hop on board!

I gave it a grand total of 0.03 seconds of thought before I said hell yes and jumped on a random strangers boat with 8 strangers.

I got to know them all and we drank rum and punch while we sailed out to sea. They were the coolest group, all down in St Maarten to have fun and live life!

We came close to land and I asked one of the gals what Island we were coming up to, and she said, "Anguilla".

My heart skipped a beat.

For those of you that don't know, Anguilla is a territory. As in, a British overseas territory. One that I, an Indian passport holder, had to have a visa to be in. I was in a whole new country that I wasn't allowed to be in.

When the one very relaxed border agent strolled over and asked us all if we were all from St Maarten or America, we all said yes and I just rolled with it. He didn't check a single paper, he just said 'cool' and walked away. That's it!

We ate some fine food at a beachside restaurant and drank more Rum Punch by the boat. I did a quick run through the town so I could get a feel for what it was. It isn't often that I get the chance to invade a country!

I spent some time wading in the waters there, where I saw this neat guy:

I didn't get too close to him though, I still hold a VERY heavy grudge for what his kind did to Steve Irwin.

We got back to St Maarten and I bid my new friends farewell.

That is, until I went to a beach they recommended the next day.

Turns out.. it was a nude beach.

But that's a story for part 2! Stay subscribed and I'll let you know when that comes out :)

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