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Thread: St. Maarten/St. Barts (SXM/SBH) - 11/26/10 - 12/1/10

  1. #1
    Senior Member Cary's Avatar
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    St. Maarten/St. Barts (SXM/SBH) - 11/26/10 - 12/1/10

    Finally made a trip to St. Maarten after a few years of procrastination. Decided to go before the busy season, as hotels were pretty cheap compared to mid-December onward. The only downsides were the unpredictable WX and reduced flight schedules. I took Continental's flight out of EWR, mainly because I have a NJ Transit train station near me, for an easy connection. The flight landed 30 minutes early, and since I only had carry-on luggage, I went through customs and was out of the airport in no time. I knew the Sonesta was within walking distance of the terminal, but what I didn't know is that it's not really walkable with a heavy rolling suitcase. There is paved sidewalk about half of the way, and the rest is a mixture of grass, sand, gravel, and rocks. Since the road there is pretty narrow, I opted to drag my stuff through that mess instead of getting run over (not fun on 1 1/2 hours of sleep, in pants and 85 degree weather).



    After checking into my hotel, I showered and was at Maho Beach by about 2pm. I spotted until sunset, but didn't bother with the nighttime arrivals since I was exhausted and hadn't eaten all day. On Saturday afternoon, I saw someone who looked familiar at the beach, and it turned out to be Roman and Janice! It was great having someone there who knew all about SXM. I also met/talked to spotters from Canada, England, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, and Georgia (USA) - and pilots from JetBlue, Air France, and a US biz jet.

    The weather throughout the trip was pretty good, despite it being fairly cloudy on Saturday and Sunday. Monday, I walked to the airport at 7am to catch a WinAir flight to St. Barts. I checked in, only to find out that the first flight of the morning had been canceled, and the next flight was an hour later. So, instead of waiting around in the terminal for 2 hours, I walked back to my hotel to check FlightAware, and out to Maho Beach. I was expecting a Shorts 360, but to my surprise, a Convair 580 came in first. Unfortunately, I didn't quite have my camera set up correctly to get a good side shot. Can't complain much, as I wouldn't have been out there in the first place, had my flight not been canceled. After the Shorts came in, I walked back to the terminal. At my gate, I was confused because there wasn't a flight displayed on the screen, and when it finally did show, it said "Now Boarding...wait for announcement". It showed that for about 15 minutes, and it was past boarding time, so I went up to ask them if it was boarding. They said not yet, but called me to the desk about 5 minutes later. There were a few people seated in the same gate area, but as I walked down to the ramp and onto the plane, they closed the door behind me, and I realized I had the entire cabin to myself. The pilots went through their checklists and took off from the middle of the runway no more than 5 minutes after boarding. The Twin Otter is my favorite plane, but up to that point, I've only flown it in Flight Sim (usually from TNCM-TFFJ). After about 10 minutes in the air, we started the infamous approach into St. Barts. The wind was gusting around 25mph that morning, making the descent especially interesting. However, the pilots made a nice landing on Runway 10, and after going through customs, I got some drinks from the supermarket and walked up the hill (not fun with 20-25 pounds of camera gear) to catch arrivals, and then back down for departures. I repeated that cycle at least 3 times, and returned to the terminal around 4pm to catch the last WinAir flight back to SXM. Again, I was the only passenger on the flight. The approach into SXM looked great, but my 7D decided to die at the worst possible moment, and my spare battery was in my bag, across the aisle from me, so I wasn't able to get it in time to take pics.

    Here are some of my photos from the trip, in no particular order.







    More to come in the next few days/weeks!

    Cary
    Last edited by Cary; 12-10-2010 at 04:05 PM.
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    Cary, Good stuff...
    It's hard to take chances but sometimes it's better if you do

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    Senior Member NIKV69's Avatar
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    Eric you killed it! Very nice but you know what pics we want to see! I want bonkers!
    'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.' Andy Warhol

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    Member LIMatt's Avatar
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    Love the wing pic of the beach!

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    Senior Member Cary's Avatar
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    Thanks guys....some more "goods" coming soon...
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    Absolutely fantastic shots! I really like the 727 with winglets.
    Adam Sheinhaus

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    Senior Member NIKV69's Avatar
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    "goods"
    Bonkers!
    'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.' Andy Warhol

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    great stuff, Cary! good seeing you down at Maho Beach. come down again next year. you know where to find me!
    ...."most guys dig narrow bodies with large bumps and round tails that have a floral fragrance. others dig wide bodies with large bumps and wide tails that have that Jet-A scent. Me? I dig planes..."

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cary's Avatar
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    Thanks Roman, it was awesome having you and Jan down there!

    Here are some more shots:







    Approach into St. Barts:

    Last edited by Cary; 12-10-2010 at 11:13 AM.
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    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Superb stuff Cary... love the images and variety! Yeah, I have to get there one day... seems to me it is easier than going to, say, Europe? Cheaper too ;-)
    Manny Gonzalez
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    Senior Member moose135's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary View Post
    Currently #1 Photographers Choice! Congratulations, that's an amazing shot!

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    Senior Member Cary's Avatar
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    Thanks guys...really excited about the Photographer's Choice - I think it's my first one in the 14 years I've been on the site :)
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    Senior Member sporky's Avatar
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    Superb set and congratulations on Photographer's Choice!

    -Tad

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    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Cary!! Super job and you deserve the tag. I certainly voted for a few of your recent entries :-) (and past ones too)
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
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    Cary, awesome job... and now also have a 'trifecta' on top 5 on A.net. Enjoyed the beautiful set.
    Raj

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