February 28th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

Sunday’s hike with the SXM Trails hiking association was another terrific one. It started in Quartier d’Orleans on the Moho trail. Apparently Moho is a large stone that was carved by pre-columbian Amerindians. The hike up the windward side of Pic Paradis started primarily in a somewhat overgrown ravine, but the vegetation got increasingly sparse as we climbed the slope. This is quite a contrast to the lush vegetation on the leeward side that we experienced on the descent into Colombier. The trail on that side was lush enough to remind me a bit of Saba. We ended the hike as the second day of the Arrowroot Jollification was winding down and enjoyed a cup of delicious arrowroot pap.

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February 26th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

Today we attended the annual Arrowroot Jollification in Colombier. Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) is a tropical plant cultivated for its starchy roots. A jollification is a St. Martin custom similar to an Amish barn-raising, where a community comes together to complete a task, such as building a house, fixing a wall, or preparing arrowroot, while also having food together and hanging out.

The main steps of the arrowroot process include harvesting the roots, cleaning them and removing the skin, pounding them in large mortars and then straining the pounded root with water to separate the starch from the fiber. The starch ends up in the water, and once it has settled, the water is carefully removed and the remaining starch water is dried in the sun.

The jollification also included food and drink stands, a DJ and a youth marching band. The event was really fun, and attendees are encouraged to participate in the arrowroot preparation, particularly the pounding. The jollification will continue tomorrow.

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We also happened to see some interesting things on our walk into and out of Colombier. The small stream that runs through the valley is completely dry in many places, including areas that were home to crayfish and three species of fish just one month ago.

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February 25th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc


Press Clippings



February 25th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

Copies of the books were delivered to Van Dorp yesterday, so they should be available in their two stores now or very soon.



February 24th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

There’s an article about the guide in Le Pélican today. I didn’t see it on their web site, but it is in the paper.



February 24th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

On Sunday the SXM Trails hiking association took a hike up to Fort William, at the top of a hill overlooking Great Bay, the Salt Pond and Fort Amsterdam. The early morning views from the top of the hill were really outstanding. After descending the hill, we followed the rocky beach around Little Bay and went into Cay Bay. The cliffs on the western side of Little Bay were very beautiful. Part of a small airplane wing was washed up on the rocks.

I actually didn’t take many photos of animals on the hike, but did get quite a few photos of the rocks and cliffs. The new hotel development in Cay Bay made me a little bit sad, but the hike was still a great time.

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February 23rd, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

After over a year of looking off our balcony at Anguilla, we finally made it out there, thanks to our friend Christian, who was taking his cousin and her boyfriend there. Our esteemed captain was Yann and the boat, Carré d’As (basically translates as four aces) was fantastic.

We headed out from the marina in Marigot, past the ruins of La Belle Creole and on towards Anguilla. The sea was calm, and soon we were rounding the southwestern tip through the Anguillita Channel. Our first quick stop was Sandy Island, a tiny plot of sand with a half-dozen palm trees that is ringed by coral reef. If it weren’t so close to Anguilla, it would be the prototypical desert island.

Next, we continued to Crocus Bay, a stunningly beautiful area with cliffs riddled with caves. We jumped off a big rock into the water, snorkeled and I took a look inside one of the caves. I could smell and hear the bats, and there was a telltale pile of almonds on the floor indicating the presence of Jamaican fruit-eating bats. The chamber was quite large, with very high ceilings and many recesses, so I did not actually see the bats.

A bit of rain sent us up to Shoal Bay for more snorkeling, sunning and sandwiches. As the afternoon got later, we headed up past the tip of Anguilla to Scrub Island, admiring several blow holes where underwater caves shoot jets of water up through the rocky shoreline. Our last stop was Tintamarre and some free-diving to the tugboat wreck there. A perfect day!

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February 23rd, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

For guide lovers who speak French, here’s an article on InsulR: http://www.insulr.com/en/live/environment/98-environnement/356-le-premier-guide-sur-la-faune-de-saint-martin-.html


Le premier guide sur la faune de Saint-Martin
www.insulr.com
“Guide incomplet de la faune de Saint-Martin”



February 22nd, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

The guide is also featured in Today! http://www.todaysxm.com/2011/02/22/yokoyama-publishes-the-incomplete-guide-to-the-wildlife-of-saint-martin/



February 22nd, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

Yay! An article about the guide in The Daily Herald.


St. Maarten/St. Martin now has first-ever wildlife guide
www.thedailyherald.com
The Daily Herald. The leading newspaper in the Eastern Caribbean