A Classic Sail on the Passaat (1911 Schooner)


On Thursday I booked a dinner cruise on the Passaat, a 1911 long sailing ship that offers both day tours and weekday dinner cruises. The dock behind Skipjack’s restaurant is the loading area, with folks ferried by dinghy under the Simpson Bay bridge out to where the ship is moored. Pieter and Mirian crew the ship and provide the drinks and meal, which are part of the dinner cruise package.

Although the weather did not cooperate for a nice sunset, the feel of actually sailing on the sea was so much fun! And the dinner Miriam provided (choice of entrées) was good. All you could drink (beverages of choice), snacks, dinner and desert were all part of the package. They keep the size of the dinner cruise relatively small – there were 17 on my trip.

I had a great time talking to a newly retired couple from Wisconsin – they had retired last year at age 62, and were spending 3 months on St. Martin in a time share. We compared how cold it was “back home ” (Central New York had dipped to 1 degree, but they said Wisconsin had been -8). They said a caner is too expensive to rent all the time, so they use public transportation.. buses stop on the road and pick up passengers, except for once a month they go ahead and rent a car and stock up on groceries. They were making the most of their retirement and highly recommended it – I didn’t let on that I’m actually older than they are.

I ended up eating at the big table with a bunch of Canadians from Toronto, who had known each other for years. Two men had become friends at university, then they and their wives were friends, then a couple from Belgium they originally got to know through work became friends They’d all planned to take this vacation together, now that all are retired.

I had a good time listening to them and talking, until one of them pressed me about if I was still working, what exactly I did. Revealing that I am a Christian minister had the usual effect of turning the conversation in strange directions, with an effort being made to be sensitive to me, and yet conversation becomes incredibly awkward. One man next to me kept puzzling about the moral issues I must deal with and did I think the world was getting worse? It didn’t spoil my night, but I was reminded of why I usually keep my profession to myself when in social situations or on vacation. Too many people have little understanding of Christianity, or associate it with e drive back from Simpson Bay in the southwest part of the island to Orient Bay in the northeast part of the island, didn’t have too much traffic and was quite pleasant.


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