Salt Pickers of Sint Maarten

My Alaska cousin and I, Zeb the Duck, viewed this monument near Phillipsburg, St. Maarten.   

Tribute to Salt Pickers

Tribute to Salt Pickers

 We did not know what a salt picker was.  Now we do and we want to refresh your memory of history also.

From 1624, when the Dutch found the Great Salt Pond until the 1960s, salt production defined the history and economy of St. Maartin.  Free people and slaves from the Dutch and the French side of the island completed the hard work of harvesting salt.

Salt has always been important to the island.  The Arawaks called the island Soualugia.  Soualugia means land of salt.

The Dutch side of the island farmed and exported as much as 400 boatloads of salt per year.  Wow!  That is more than one boatload every day.

Monument to Salt Pickers in St. Maarten

Monument to Salt Pickers in St. Maarten


Salt is collected as the sun causes the seawater to evaporate, leaving salt crystals.  One method involved shoveling and scraping the salt crystals from the ground.  Another process involved putting stakes in the salt ponds.  As the water evaporated, salt crystals remained on the stakes.  The clumps of salt crystals were removed by hand (called reaping) and used or exported.

The salt pickers are honored in St. Maartin by this monument near the Great Salt Pond.  St. Maartin and the world owe much to these salt pickers of years gone by.  I, Zeb the Duck, and my Alaska cousin

Zeb the Duck with Alaska cousin.

Zeb the Duck with Alaska cousin.

 are in awe of all they accomplished through hard work and sincerely appreciate their efforts.

Our Caribbean Dinner Cruise

A dinner cruise on the Tango sailboat!

The Tango before sails are up

The Tango before sails are up

St. Maarten has everything.  On the boat by 5:30 and we were ready for fun.  Here we are with Alaska uncle.

We are nervous but ready for fun

We are nervous but ready for fun

Ready for our first sailboat cruise.

We are really cruising.  Far behind us the shore waits for our return.

Sailing away

Sailing away

As the sun gets lower in the sky and darkness approaches, we try some rum punch.

Tropical beverages!

Tropical beverages!

Yum!  Our new friend works on the boat

He is so nice

He is so nice

and he thinks we are cute.  So is he.

With darkness our buffet is created.  We enjoy fish, chicken and a beef dish.  Sometimes walking on a sailing boat is a bit of a challenge, but we love it.

There is so much to say about this cruise, daylight, sunset, drinks, food and wonderful new friends to get our food ensure that we have a perfect Caribbean evening aboard the Tango.  It is dark and time to go.

Partial moon to guide us home

Partial moon to guide us home

The moon is watching over us as we return to our resort.

We loved this trip and believe you will too.  Don’t wait too long, it is too much fun.

More about Simpson Bay and Marina

Last time we talked to you, we shared our discoveries at Simpson Bay Resort and Marina.  Mom and Alaska uncle had been here about 7 years ago, but the complex was called Pelican Resort.  Pelican resort had a wonderful convenience store that was called the Peli Deli.  The Peli Deli is still there.

We love the Peli Deli

We love the Peli Deli

They have everything and for reasonable prices, not inflated resort prices.  We bought pop, beer and lots of ice cream bars there.  Even other snack food.  We love the Peli Deli!!

Our resort uses solar power to heat the water.  Here is a picture showing the solar panels.

solar panels for hot water

solar panels for hot water

We like energy savings places.  From our room, we see the pool, the pool bar and the beach.  One day at the pool we sat under this branch.  These leaves looked interesting from our lounges.

Different view of leaves

Different view of leaves

We had a bit of rain another day; here is the rainbow.

Rainbow over Simpson Bay

Rainbow over Simpson Bay

This boat, or raft, for kids to play near the beach is great.

If only we were human kids

If only we were human kids

The slide, the diving platforms and its location in the water make us yearn to be young humans.

The marina area has restaurants, stores and many boats.  The store for water sports or boat trips is called AquaMania.  These jet skis are a lot of fun.

Jet skis are fun

Jet skis are fun

AquaMania is where we purchased tickets for Saba.  Another evening we sailed on a different boat for the dinner cruise.  My Alaska cousin and I will tell you about those trips another day.  One morning during breakfast at Alexander’s by the marina, these birds enjoyed someone’s extra breakfast.

Birds need breakfast, too

Birds need breakfast, too

The pool by the main lobby is a little larger than our pool.

Main pool by lobby

Main pool by lobby

It is very pretty, but we love our pool.

Simpson Bay Resort and Marina has time-share condos, so there is a sales staff at the resort.  The sales manager and staff organized a couple events for all guests.  The events were nice, but there were a few concerns.  We talked to a staff member and also wrote a letter about our concerns.  We did not even receive an acknowledgement about our letter or concerns.  While we liked the resort and would happily stay there again, we would not purchase a condo as long as Jozef O’Niel, Director of Marketing or Rick work there.  If we were not important as guests and prospective buyers, we would never feel important or valued as owners.  Alaska uncle owns several weeks in Las Vegas, Nevada and mom owns multiple weeks in Winter Park, Colorado.   That will be enough for now.

Simpson Bay Resort and Marina

We are in the Caribbean!!  I see the beach.  It is warm and sunny here.  My Alaska cousin and I, Zeb the Duck, love Sint Maarten.  Cool Dutch spelling!  Mom and my Alaska uncle say we will stay here for a week.

Our home for one week

Our home for one week

Yeah!!

Our condo has views of the ocean and one of our pools.

View from our room

View from our room

We have several dining choices here.  For breakfast we can go by the marina and eat at Alexander’s.  We can go just past the Peli Deli (more on that wonderful place later) and eat at Bon Appetit.

Dinner is served at Alexander’s other restaurant, upstairs by Bon Appetit.  We can choose The Stone by the marina or the Hollywood restaurant by the Hollywood Casino.  Also, the pool and beach bars serve lunch and early dinner.  So many food choices!  We tried almost all of them.

We have two pools.  One is just outside our door.

Our pool

Our pool

They offer water aerobics classes in our pool every morning.  The other pool is by the next building near the complex lobby.

Since we ducks have never even seen a beach, let’s start there.  Our beach is on a bay, so we have gentle waves that humans love.  Some humans swim, some play in the waves and some walk around the ocean water with big smiles on their faces.  There is a bar, which serves mixed drinks, beer, soft drinks and many sandwiches.

Beach bar and grill

Beach bar and grill

Everything I tried there was very good, and I tried lots of things!

We walked on the beach and even got wet when the waves came further up the sand.

Feet on the sand

Feet on the sand

It is fun.  The water is warm, but rather salty.  There is a net for beach volleyball.  We could never hit a ball that high, but we could have fun playing here.

Volleyball anyone?

Volleyball anyone?

A man brought beach lounge chairs for us to use.  Very nice.  He put the chairs by shade and a little table.  Mom said these grassy shade things are palapas.

Beach with palapas

Beach with palapas

We love the beach.  A lady is selling some beach supplies.

Shopping on the beach

Shopping on the beach

She has hats, dresses, swimsuit cover-ups, beach bags, some jewelry and other items.  This is so convenient!! Of course the beach bar provides food and beverages for us.  We ducks want to play on the beach, so we will continue this next time.  Sunshine, sand and warm water.  This is perfect.