Aboard the Tiko Tiko
The Tiko Tiko cruise, originally scheduled for Wednesday, happened on Thursday. We joined two other couples, Gerhard and Leah from Holland and Gene and Annette from Dallas. Philippe, the captain, welcomed us aboard and we headed for Tintemarre, a small island only a few miles away. After dropping anchor we swam ashore and Philippe brought our belongings to the beach in his dinghy. He erected three yellow umbrellas, the universal symbol of sun worshipping. We put on our snorkel gear and explored the rocks around the island. Not a lot of coral, but many interesting fish, none large enough to eat us, which is reassuring. Annette asks why we never hear reports of sharks in Saint Martin. None of us have the answer but I find myself looking just a bit more carefully while under water.
At noon Phillipe brought us sandwiches and drinks and promised to return at 1:00 to immerse us in the famous Tintemarre mud baths. But a mutiny is afoot, and when he returns we ask him if we can sail instead. He graciously agrees and we strike our mini-camp and return to the Tiko Tiko, haul anchor, and set off to the north.
The other two couples have never sailed and were ecstatic during the three hours on the water. We bashed along, cutting through 3-5′ swells at six or seven knots, everyone getting thoroughly wet and happy. By the time we dropped anchor near Club O we were all sunbaked and tired.
Philippe proved to be an excellent host and captain. I know this from years of experience on ours and other boats: sailing is work and Philippe did not have to honor our request to do several hours of work simply because we preferred to sail rather than bake on the beach. The fact that he did so is testimony to his attitude towards his guests, something we just don’t see that often.
So here’s the deal. before you go to Saint Martin, look up the Tiko Tiko at tikotikocruises.com. Make a reservation, keep it, and I promise you’ll meet one of the nicest men in SXM and you’ll have the time of your life. And don’t forget to tip handsomely. Philippe will have earned it.