On our first day in St Martin we investigated day tours from the island. We decided on a tour to St Barts and a Boat Tour with Billy Bones Boat Charters that visited three spots around St Martin, the eco snorkeling and beach full day excursion.
The morning of the tour, there was a high chance I was still slightly intoxicated from a rather unexpectedly large night the night before. I was in great spirits when Chris (our guide) from the tour group picked us up and started with his cheeky jokes.
I think Chris had the entire van wrapped around his little finger by the time we pulled up 15 minutes later and jumped on the boat. Nico (the boat driver) was a great help but the company could almost be renamed ‘The Chris Show’ instead of Billy Boat Tours! Chris was absolutely hilarious with his ridiculous antics, terrible (but amusing) dancing and cheeky wit. He had created private jokes with everyone on the boat and is a master with people – he definitely made the tour what it was!
Our first stop was Creole Rock, at the edge of the Caribbean and the Atlantic oceans. You jump off the boat in your snorkel gear and are immediately surrounded by fish. The closer you swim to the rock, the more fish species and coral there are to look at. I loved following a bright blue and yellow fish about the size of a ping pong bat and his best mate, a bright yellow flute like fish who swam right next to him the entire time I was with them! I also saw an awesome spotted white and brown eel, some more crazy flute looking fish and the regular parrot fish etc. Was lovely! Except… my hangover had kicked in. When I hopped back on the boat it wasn’t long before I was feeding the fish myself – which they were quite excited about.
The next stop was Tintamarre Island. Here you jump in where it is still deep and head out to the dark blue water (means seaweed is growing on the bottom) in search of turtles. Our group came across a few and I followed a very chill turtle dude around for about ten minutes. I was feeling rather unwell again so I grabbed a float noodle and watched Nico teaching one of the other passengers how to swim (what a sweetie) then I swam away and fed the fish again.
Thankfully, our next stop was Pinel Island and I was straight off the boat and over to the island for a ginger ale to settle my poor stomach. I watched the beautiful iguanas again (it’s like a mini Jurassic Park) and lay on the shore, thankful to have no rocking for a moment but before long it was back to the boat for our next stop for lunch. I was starting to feel better and looking forward to food after getting rid of everything in my stomach.
We pulled in for lunch in Grand-Case, on the French side at Rainbow Café. The water was gorgeous and sparkling, the sand light and inviting and colourful umbrellas led the way to the restaurant where we had lunch. This was up there in my top three meals on the island! The Mahi Mahi (local fish) was caught that day and bought in at 4am – it hadn’t even touched ice. The fish was succulent and juicy, the garlic butter complimenting the flavours perfectly. Caribbean rice and a side salad went alongside it – delicious. Perfect island meal.
We partied on the way back home (all drinks are included, most people had been drinking beers for a few hours) with rum punch, crazy dancing – particularly on Chris’s behalf – and great music. Chris really creates this awesome atmosphere, it was like being on a party boat that was also a snorkelling trip. We all had so much fun, it was one of my favourite days on the island.
I highly recommend Billy Bones Boat Charters in St Martin and remember, ask for Chris! Tell him hungover Rachael from New Zealand sent you and you’ll be in for even more of a roasting!