“Je m’epelle Jean, je suis un pamplemousse.”

The view from Fort Louis of Marigot Bay. Discovery is at the marina just to the right of the picture (you can see the marina breakwater).

The view from Fort Louis of Marigot Bay. Discovery is at the marina just to the right of the picture (you can see the marina breakwater).

We have officially left Sint Maarten and our now in St. Martin <g> … while we’ve been exploring the island for several months, we have spent the majority of our time on the Dutch side. Last week the great people at the marina told us that high season was upon us and that we would have to move from the “mega yacht” area, to the “yacht” area … no big deal, just a relocate. We decided that we would take this opportunity to change our scenery for a little while and move to the French side.

Discovery on a mooring ball in Long Bay. One of our favorite day stops ... although the resort is now open and has lots of people on the beach.

Discovery on a mooring ball in Long Bay. One of our favorite day stops … although the resort is now open and has lots of people on the beach.

My buddy in the hammock.

My buddy in the hammock.

Shaun and Jack out sailing in the bay. Jenny is ashore with the girls ... great SA couple we met here.

Shaun and Jack out sailing in the bay. Jenny is ashore with the girls … great SA couple we met here.

We dropped anchor in Marigot Bay and after a couple of days decided to move into the Fort Louis Marina. Imagine my surprise when I was asked for my boat papers and proof that I had left “officially” the Dutch side … huh? Well it turns out, that while people can come and go between sides as they please, boats are a different story … so off we went to the Dutch side to “check-out”, so that we could “check-in” to the French side … stamps, fees, passports and forms later … we are officially living on the French side.

As you can tell from my title, the goal is to practice our French, mine is a little rusty, but my greeting always seems to get a smile or laughter … I think the many years of Canadian schooling is paying off.

Kate taking her written exam for her scuba ticket. She now has 8+ dives.

Kate taking her written exam for her scuba ticket. She now has 8+ dives.

Our new crew ... Shark Bait, aka, Calypso. He is an island rescue that is now the security on Discovery. Great cat.

Our new crew … Shark Bait, aka, Calypso. He is an island rescue that is now the security on Discovery. Great cat.

One of my favorite things so far about this trip is that it has awoken an interest in the kids to learn another language. While they have always been exposed to other languages (Spanish, French, German), none showed any real want to learn … I guess, none really saw a value or need for it.

Early at the stables and waiting for the show to start.

Early at the stables and waiting for the show to start.

Here, especially on the French side, we are immersed in languages … Kate is doing an online course and spends several hours a day on French, she is getting much better at “trying” her French when we go out. Genna has found the French music CD’s that we brought with us (Thank you to our French connections <bg>) and is singing in French all the time (although I am not sure that a song about a Moose is going to pay off) … Jaci is also learning French and since she rides twice a week in a French school, she know all the vocabulary of the horse world … this all learned by osmosis.

Kate doing her French lessons

Kate doing her French lessons

Me … well … I’m trying to get those rarely used neurons to fire and see if I can recall some of my French lessons … I am surprised as to how much I remember and how much of a conversation I can follow. At the horse stables, they speak in French, I answer in English (mostly) and we communicate effectively.

Heading out for a Halloween dive trip. Jenny, Jack, Jaci and Chel snorkeled some ... Kate, Shaun and myself did a night dive in costumes. The local dive shops had setup skeletons and other "haunted house" items underwater ... lots of fun.

Heading out for a Halloween dive trip. Jenny, Jack, Jaci and Chel snorkeled some … Kate, Shaun and myself did a night dive in costumes. The local dive shops had setup skeletons and other “haunted house” items underwater … lots of fun.

Jack … hmm … maybe I need to get some French video games.

Michelle is out jogging each morning in town and going to the bakeries and shops. We are enjoying the “café” lifestyle that we have found on this side.

Jaci riding Mirage at the St. Martin horse show. About 25 kids, 8 from the island of St. Barts.

Jaci riding Mirage at the St. Martin horse show. About 25 kids, 8 from the island of St. Barts.

Jackman working on some cunning plan. We spent the day at the stables for a horse show ... tons of fun.

Jackman working on some cunning plan. We spent the day at the stables for a horse show … tons of fun.

Jaci working on her photography skills ...

Jaci working on her photography skills …

Discovery continues to undergo upgrades … or better said, things constantly need maintenance … we now have a new fridge, 80% larger than our last one and a new freezer (that I have yet to install). I’ll go into details in another post.

Shaun and Jenny on Takapuna. Jenny was the stew (Stewardess) and Shaun the engineer. Takapuna is at 110ft+  and was once owned by Billy Connelly. She's going out for a quick daysail.

Shaun and Jenny on Takapuna. Jenny was the stew (Stewardess) and Shaun the engineer. Takapuna is at 110ft+ and was once owned by Billy Connelly. She’s going out for a quick daysail.

Took the dinghy to this wreck, lying in 20ft of water ...

Took the dinghy to this wreck, lying in 20ft of water …

Shaun and Jaci (the speed freak) enjoying the afternoon in Phillipsburg

Shaun and Jaci (the speed freak) enjoying the afternoon in Phillipsburg

Today is a work day and a shopping day … so everyone has their tasks … Jaci made me a nice lunch today.

School Days

Waiting after school for mommy to come home from work

Waiting after school for mommy to come home from work

This week, like for so many was the beginning of school … while this may not look like a major thing that would affect us, in reality it does.

Kate is starting 7th grade, Jaci 5th, Genna 1st and Jack doing pre-K … our goal and plan is to follow the Florida curriculum and to adapt/augment it to fit into our situation. The idea is that the kids would get back into the school system next year being at the same place, at least that is the idea :), as their friends.

Kate presenting her project

Kate presenting her project

Jaci showing her art project

Jaci showing her art project

Jaci reading her story as the stingray, being afraid of the girl that swam over top ... :)

Jaci reading her story as the stingray, being afraid of the girl that swam over top … :)

Reading her story and presenting her research

Reading her story and presenting her research

We have some excited about school starting, some indifferent and some not too happy that the summer was “over” … which I thought was funny, considering where we are and what we are doing … anyways … Like many, Monday was the first day of school … which runs from 8A to around 1P for us …

We did start actually about 2 weeks ago with a project that each had to do … they needed to choose a reef creature that they had seen while snorkeling and then research it, create a biography, write a first-person story as the creature and some sort of artistic rendering.

Jaci's art project on stingrays

Jaci’s art project on stingrays

Genna proudly showing her turtle picture

Genna proudly showing her turtle picture

Kate's art project ... she collected the sand from the sea bed at Cooper Island, BVI where she saw this fish.

Kate’s art project … she collected the sand from the sea bed at Cooper Island, BVI where she saw this fish.

Last night it was due, and each presented after dinner … Jack presented his drawing, Genna did a drawing and read her story about being a turtle. Jaci chose a stingray made did a great art project. Kate chose a fish and made a diorama type thing, using sand she collected from the actual place she saw the fish.

Trying something new to help with digestion

Trying something new to help with digestion

Everyone did great … off to bed after a short movie, as school comes around early … which Jaci keeps reminding us of :)