Paddling Out to Pinel Island

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Saturday was my day to explore Pinel Island off St. Martin itself. The ferry runs every 30 minutes…or you can rent a kayak from Caribbean Paddling & take 20 minutes crossing over against a headwind, and only 12 minutes crossing back.

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Pinel has 2 beachfront sportsbars… $15 to rent a chair with shade umbrella, $3 for a can of Sprite, $7 for a rum punch (evidently rum punch is the signature drink of the Caribbean Islands & tourists are supposed to imbibe large quantities). Tasty but expensive lunch menu ($32?!!!). For outdoor relief, the outhouse is out back, up the hillside…Do NOT put TP in hole. 

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Aside from the sandy beach & beachfront restaurants, the island is a nature preserve, with trails of hard packed dirt & rock between dry grasses & hardy vegetation.

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The Atlantic Ocean side is very different from the west side. I meet only 1 other person checking out the trails… most tourists are hanging at the beach, sunbathing or playing in the shallow water. A few children are admiring fresh caught lobster in their cages. Oh, it must be too much to get out of the sea to drink alcohol, because the 2nd beach bar has cute little round tables set up in the water. What is the point of going somewhere exotic on vacation and getting drunk & not remembering it?

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