While we were in St. Maarten on our cruise, we wanted to do something different: a tour that included snorkeling & didn’t include any sort of van or charter bus or corny stops that only tourists visit. Enter Robinson’s Speed Boat Tours & for just $100 per person, we had everything we wanted. One of the best things about Robinson’s tours is the fact that you’re with a small group – our boat only had 10 people on it!
We climbed aboard a bright green speed boat (just a 10 minute walk from the dock) & met our captain for the day, Matt (who B described as “Ralph Lauren model-esque”). Soon we were hopping over the sea, headed toward the south tip of St. Maarten, Matt driving the boat, his smile blinding white, his perfectly pressed board shorts flapping in the breeze (okay, maybe he was Ralph-Lauren-esque!).
We headed over to & through Simpson Bay, to take in the beautiful, colorful houses & the enormous yachts which dock in the lagoon’s protected marina.
After a morning snorkel & swim stop in which we searched in vain for sea turtles at Tintamarre Island (but didn’t see one until we got back on the boat), where I almost lost B when he tried to swim to the wrong boat, we went around the north side of the island to Pinel Island for lunch at the Yellow Beach Restaurant. We enjoyed our giant, bone-in mahi mahi steaks & Carib beers under a thatched roof patio, while watching 2′-3′ Caribbean lobsters be hauled in from the sea. Lunch was included in the price of the tour (beer was not) & was one of the best meals of the trip.
After lunch, we did some more speed boat-ing before anchoring in about 30′ deep water next to a the Creole Rock for some really great snorkeling. The photos in this post aren’t from our trip, they’re from other Robinson Tour Trips, but we saw all this marine life & more, including a lot of colorful fish.
After hanging out with the fishes, we headed over to world famous Maho Beach. Since it was getting a little late in tourist season, there weren’t as many big planes that land at the airport – that KLM 747 that you’ve seen videos of? She only comes once or twice a week now. We hung out for a bit, waiting for a JetBlue A320. When the plane didn’t materialize on the horizon after a few minutes, we left the beach & went around a rock jetty to a swimmable area. While we waited for the delayed flight, a few people swam in the crystal clear water.
Suddenly, Matt started the boat back up, everyone got on back on board & we went flying toward the airport. Unfortunately, the Airbus was faster than we were & we could only see it land from a distance. It was a little disappointing to not get to experience the jumbo jet roaring directly overhead, but still cool to see. While stopped off shore, an American Airlines 757 took off &, even 100′ away in the sea, we could feel the force of the jet engines! Right before we left, a little Windward Islands Airways puddle jumping prop plane zoomed over us.
On the way back to the dock, we met up with two other speedboat tours & had a little “race” back home. It was thrilling to jump over the waves, a muscle speed boat on either side of you. We made it back to the dock in plenty of time to leisurely walk back to the ship before all aboard time (one of the nice things about Robinson’s is that they guarantee you’ll be back in plenty of time).
That evening, we were invited by Celebrity to enjoy sail away from the helipad in the front of the ship. A glass of champagne in hand & the sun softly setting made for the perfect bon voyage to what might now be one of our favorite islands.