Explorer Island! St Martin.
Explorer Island is a fictitious name given by cruiser kids to a small, deserted island in the middle of the lagoon in St Martin. We’d heard of it last time we were there but for some reason we never got to see it.
You see, this area of St Martin is always a good area to ‘get things done’…whether it’s provisioning food, home improvement or other yacht maintenance work that needs to be done.
Generally, kids aren’t very interested in following us around as we go from chandlery to welders to carpenters, or whatever else we need done onboard, to get quotes for having work done. That said, we very rarely outsource any works as Tim’s pretty capable of doing most things and it’s just not in our budget to take that route but we still need to source and buy materials.
So this time in St Martin we had more boat jobs that we needed to do and to keep the family in happy equilibrium, once school was out we sent the kids off to Explorer Island. They were armed, of course, with all the usual requirements i.e. knives, sunscreen,hats, packed lunches and water.
Once they sorted out which kids had finished school and therefore needed picking up, they would take ‘The Car’ (our dinghy), collect their friends and head off to Explorer Island for the afternoon to do what they please.
We’d been in St Martin for a week and we wanted to investigate just what they were getting up to and I guess, to make sure that we were ok with what they were doing there. It was a group of kids aged from to 6 to 15 years so they could have been up to anything!
We couldn’t find them at first as they were well camouflaged but once we did, we came face to face with them pointing their handmade bows and arrows right at us which was rather startling! but what we found was pretty amazing!
They had created their own ‘Fort’! The Explorer Island Fort! The weapons they had pointed at us were all hand made and were to deter any unwanted intruders. Good planning on their part I guess.
Apparently, after having delegated jobs to each kid, they went out and gathered bits n pieces they found from all over this tiny island and brought them back to ‘the site’ where they were building their Fort.
It was equipped with a safe cover from rain or intruders which they made from an old sail lying in the bushes. They designed it so it could be hoisted up and over them when necessary! It was built on a framework of branches that were tied together with whatever they could find (string and vines). They had made hooks for their backpacks (to keep the ants out!) and a shelf for their ’emergency’ things to be kept as well as some other cool features.
I have to say we were pretty impressed with what they had achieved on Explorer Island! It also reminded me of my childhood when the internet didn’t exist so sometimes we played outside and built things in nature rather than playing on an iPad.
It’s an aspect of our cruising life that I absolutely love and I think we’re lucky that we are able to give our kids this kind of freedom. Sure, they still have some screen time but they spent so much more time exploring, creating and having to use their brains!
Explorer Island! St Martin definitely provided that playground.