Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Island of Saba

Yesterday was a very extraordinary day. In the life of the Travel Wolfe! I made it to visit the island of Saba for the day. It wasn't an easy trip over as again the passengers on the high speed ferry. Had a difficult time with some rough seas. I made the decision soon after arriving on Saba. That I was not returning by boat to St. Maarten. I was going to travel the better way, by air. By Winair that is.
The tour of Saba was fascinating. As it may very well be the most exotic island in the world to live on, and to visit.
The Dutch island of Saba is a beautiful volcanic mountain. That is located in the Caribbean Sea. About 12 miles southwest from the coast of St. Maarten. That was one of the problems of the boat ride. Is that by boat. The travel time takes about 1 1/2 hours to arrive on Saba from St. Maarten. Where the flight with Winair take about 15 minutes. I will talk more about the return flight with Winair on the next post.
When we arrived I talked to a very friendly man named George who is a local taxi driver on Saba. George was going to be our guide on the tour. Right away I informed George that I had no intention of returning to St. Maarten by boat. That I wanted to fly with Winair. George was happy to help me. Georgre got the Winair sales rep on his cell phone. I was in luck! There was space on the last flight of the day. Which departed at 5pm.
The only problem that occurred. Is that I had my credit car with me on the trip. But did not have my ATM card with me. The Winair representative informed me that I had to pay for the flight in cash. As there credit card line was not working. This problem was rectified by taking a cash advance on my credit card. So I now had more then enough cash to deal with the change in plans.
George gave us an excellent tour. Giving us some information on the island of Saba. The island is 5 square miles in size. Saba has a maximum attitude of 887 m or 2910 feet. The island is part of the Netherlands. Dutch and English are spoken on the island. The main road on Saba, which is referred to as "The Road" is an engineering wonder of the world. It connects all four villages located on Saba. And is an important direct transportation link from the harbor on one side of the island to the airport which is located at the other side. Construction of "The Road" began is 1938 and was completed in 1958.
After the tour we were dropped off in one of the villages for our lunch. I was hanging out with new friends from the Netherlands; Henk and Marianne. We toured a great museum in the village. Browsed in a few shops. Then enjoyed a nice lunch. After lunch. George returned to drive Henk and Marianne back to the boat. Then George drove me the length of "The Road". To deliver me to Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport. For my 5pm flight back to St. Maarten.
I was sitting and waiting for the flight. Thinking back to when I was age 9. Awaiting with excitement for my first flight ever in a Cessna 172 at Maple Airport. Which was a birthday present from my mom and dad. I was now awaiting my first flight in the class of short takeoff and landing aircraft. A de Havilland Turbo Twin Otter. The excitement of a new fantastic experience never gets old! Landing and taking off from the world's shortest commercial runway. Takes a lot of skill and execution to make it safe. After we were lined up on the runway. The two Winair pilots that were at the controls of the Twin Otter. Were working throughly and efficiently to make sure the great machine we were all in. Was performing the way it should. Full brakes were applied. Then the two turbo prop engines were brought to there full RPM max!
Then the Twin Otter began it's takeoff run down the short runway. When the Twin Otter reached the end of the runway. Which did not take very long. The Twin Otter began to reach for the sky! Then quickly gained altitude. The head pilot then banked the aircraft to the left. And we were on our way back to the island of St. Maarten. The flight will always remain the highlight of this great trip.
Please enjoy the photos I took from my Saba expedience. I think you will be amazed!
The top picture on this post of the island of Saba was not taken by me. It was retrieved from wikipedia. The rest of the photos were taken by DRW Media.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beautiful Shell Beach On The Island of St. Barth

One of the highlights of this trip was my time relaxing and swimming on Shell Beach. Truly one of my favorites beaches of all time. Like the name "Shell Beach" suggests. A large section of the beach has replaced the sand with assorted sea shells. Part of the beach is also made up of dark volcanic sand. The water clarity is fantastic and the atmosphere and scenery are that of dreams.
It is also the closest beach. That is just a short walk from the capital of Gustavia. I have included some photos of this fantastic beach!

St. Barth Airport

I have included some photos I took of the airport located in St. Barth. This airport is located in the center of the island. The final approach to land at St. Barth Airport is very unique. It requires the arriving aircraft to fly over one of the hills. Then dive into the ravine to land where landing strip is located. The runway ends at St. Jean beach. The pilots need special training and certification to land an aircraft at St. Barth Airport.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tour of St. Barth- French West Indies

Well I made it today. To the island of St. Barth!I will always be a person who loves to dream. It has always been very special when a dream does come true. Today was one of those days.
Certainly traveling solo has it's advantages and disadvantages like everything else in life. I know great friend Al will be very disappointed that I didn't fly into the island of St. Barth today. I went on a package deal. Which included round trip by high speed ferry, a guided taxi tour of the island, lunch and 5 hours of free time to enjoy St. Barth. It was too good of a deal to pass up. Especially while your traveling on your own. Saying all that. I will always be disappointed that I didn't fly in as well. But when you have a budget to deal with. You try and create the best experience that you can! Without breaking up your bankroll.
The day was another special one. To post on this blog. The only down side with the trip. Was the voyage over in the high speed ferry. The water was very rough and I'm very lucky that I am not prone to motion sickness. A lot of the other passengers on the boat were not that lucky.
The taxi tour was very good. The taxi driver a native to the island of St. Barth, has been driving a cab on the island for 35 years. There is nothing he doesn't know about St. Barth! Then we had the included lunch, which was decent but not fantastic. But there was lots of fresh French bread at hand. I defiantly have a soft spot for French bread!
Then it was beach time. There is an speculator beach within as easy walk from the capital Gustavia. The beach is called "Shell Beach". It was a joy to be there! Then I just chilled in Gustavia. The capital town of a unique and special place know as the French island of St. Barth!