I began my day in Anguilla, then hopped on a ferry to Sint Marteen and with a few hours to kill between flights I headed over to the nearby Maho Beach for some #planespotting. This is one of the more famous airports because this tiny sliver of sand is situated right next to the edge of the runway – framed on one end by aquamarine waters and landing planes on the other end.
I arrived in the late morning – and the beach was fairly empty. I was told the larger planes tend to land in the afternoon and during this ‘peak period’ the beach becomes very crowded with camera toting visitors. Apparently it can become dangerous at times when people get to close to the fence separating the road from the runway – and there are a number of clearly marked danger signs. But that doesn’t seem to stop people from wandering over to the fence and filming and taking the ubiquitous selfie in a location such as this.
During my visit one individual well covered from the sun was giving us a running commentary on which planes were landing and taking off. Armed with a large camera – apparently he supported his art by taking photographs and selling them to tourists.
If one does not want to venture out onto the beach – several bars anchor both ends of the bay and one can enjoy any of a number of cocktails while watching the action in the comfort of a shade covered veranda.
By late afternoon I was one of 5 passengers on a small plane on the way to St. Barths. This flight is only about 15 minutes and you never fly very far above the ocean.
The landing into the small St. Barth’s airport is sure to give you heart palpitations if you are not prepared for it.
The small plane descends even lower than it is already flying – barely crests a sizable hill – as you look down you see the trees coming up far to quickly and then you go into a steep decent with the nose of the plane pointing straight down at the runway pavement. You think you are going to crash until the pilot pulls up at the last minute leveling off. The runways is very short and ends in a stunning azure colored bay. But if all goes well, you stop well before you reach that point!