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Orient Beach Report June, 2018

I am unable to post photos in this thread. I will do another thread and attempt to post photos there. OK, so with that bit of preamble, here is the trip report:

We stayed at the Plaza Apartments, which are above the businesses in the plaza just across the street from the Village (north of the Village) on Avenue des Plages. We had a studio which was spacious with plenty of outdoor and indoor living space. We like the area, in the absence of Club O, because of the abundance of restaurants, bars and general activity in the area.

It appears that 5 or 6 restaurant are now open in the Village, and several of those small restaurant bars across the street in the Plaza, including the pizza place (Bo's). Doesn't mean all 6 in the Village will be open each night, but at least one or two of them will be. Most of the people here now are the French expats. The French have their main meal at noon. In the evenings they may have tapas, wine and cigarettes and more cigarettes while they talk. So the restaurants just don't have enough business to justify being open every night. But there is enough variety to satisfy without needing to go into Grand Case every other night. One or two of the bars in the Plaza close their grills at 6:00 PM because of the lack of demand for food after that hour.

The Village, and environs, are slowly being repaired. There are construction workers here from all over the world. There is ongoing construction where the Yellow Submarine used to be. I asked one of the construction workers what they were putting in there, but he spoke Spanish and no English. The next day I saw another guy working there. He was Dutch and spoke excellent English. He didn't know the name of the restaurant to be, but said the same owners as before were rebuilding. So, it appears the YS will return. I also talked with one of the former employees of the YS (through a French translator), and he confirmed it is being rebuilt. Looks similar to the old YS, from what I could see in the early stages of construction.

We have neither seen nor heard any clean up activity at Club O, and certainly no rebuilding. We saw one owner sweeping out his chalet, and someone told us about one other owner who was doing some clean up. That's about it from what we could see. The Kubota tractor that used to clean the beach was damaged beyond repair in the storm. It didn't get carried away back to Japan, but it might as well have been. Probably needs to have a decent burial on the Island.

One of the Culb O workers was optimisiic about it reopening; another was pessimistic about the prospects. I talked at length to an owner on Monday, and he says it is coming back. He also says there has been a tremendous amount of clean up since the storm. The rebuilding will be done in stages. Stage One will be rebuilding the units that are damaged, but are structurally sound. Stage Two will be building the new units. The new units will probably be built farther from the sea. The closest ones, the Waterfront Chalets, were all destroyed. They will be no more. Of course that is where we always stayed. A sad ending to a lot of fun there on the beach.

There are some owners who want to sell out and be gone; there are some who want to keep what they have, or rebuild what they had, and there are some who want to buy or build more units. Also, there is interest from non owners who would like to become owners. The current plan is to give first dibs on any remaining units to those who have a history with the resort. That is, those who have stayed here on a regular basis over the years, or perhaps only one or two visits. I don't know that the criteria have yet been been firmly established. The more visits over the years, perhaps the better chance one would have to buy a unit.

We found out what happened to Papagayo's, or at least what the word on the beach is. I doubt that anyone actually saw it. A wave landed square on the front roof of the building, about 10' to 15' up. Several said it was a 30' wave that came over the top of Green Cay and hit Papagayo's, but I doubt it was that high. Although Green Cay did look clean as if it had been washed off. A 30' wave would have gone well over the top of Papagayo's. I think a 10' to 15' wave would have been about the right size considering the location of the damage. At any rate the wave came in and landed on the front part of the roof. It concaved the center of the roof and damaged the columns that supported it. That appears to be the only major structural damage to Papagayo's. I least I hope it is. There may be some undermining of the foundation, but not having an engineering degree, I can't say for sure.

Around the Village, as @Dr.J said, there is a lot of construction. I noticed one or two structures being built right on the beach. They are concrete, unlike the wooden structures they are replacing. This may be a new building code requirement.

On up the beach toward Mr.Vernon, Cocoa's is no more, as are the other businesses to the South of her. Esmeralda has suffered damage, but there is ongoing construction. All of the clean up appears to have been completed. The large villa closest to the beach is completely repaired with water in the pool. Doesn't appear that Es suffered any water damage, but hard to tell for sure. That sea wall in front of the resort may have helped a lot, although the way it dips down in the center, while esthetically pleasing, knocked a couple of feet off of the protection. I think the Es will be up and functioning on at least a partial basis by Christmas, but sans the supporting establishments.

For you old-timers on the board, the mystery building is no more. At least the second story is no more, and the first floor has been gutted. No telling how many years it will take to bring it back to life. Another whole generation of morning beach walkers will look at its carcass and wonder what it was, or what it was supposed to be. Boo Boo Jams is still standing but is gutted.

As to the nude morning walks, we saw absolutely no one nude while we were on our walks. And what is stranger still, we saw no topless women either sunning or walking in the mornings, afternoons or evenings. Had I gone topless on our walks, I would have been the only female to do so. Given that, I wore a top and bottoms on all of our walks.

Moving on to Mt. Vernon. It suffered damage, and we saw no evidence of clean up or rebuilding. We would walk down there in the mornings, but late enough that workers would have been out; we saw none.

The traffic problem has abated quite a bit. We actually made it from the airport in about 30 minutes without the traffic jams often seen. The biggest traffic problem now are the trucks heavily laden with construction materials. They are slow enough through town, but when climbing those steep hills going toward Orient Beach, they go into first or second gear and literally creep up the hills. Can't go fast down the hills or they won't be able to stop. So that causes real bottlenecks of traffic. Of course that frustrates the locals, and they take more chances than usual to get around them. Especially the motorcycles. They are worse now than we have ever seen them. We had several almost hit us head or swipe the driver's side door when they were doing their passing and lane splitting tricks. They pass on hills, they pass on curves; they are truly death defying.

We had one fool do a U turn directly in front of us. My husband had to slam on the brakes to keep from hitting him. That knocked the groceries down, but luckily nothing was broken. My husband was impressed with the rider's ability to make a tight U turn, though. He said it was as tight as any motor officer would. be able to do. He also mentioned the guy almost dropped it right there in front of us. Had he done that we would have run over him before we could stop.

We only saw one grocery store on the French side. It is the Super U, which I think used to be the Super Marche. It is located just off the main road as one is leaving Marigot. Just past McDonalds on the right, the Super U is down the next little street to the right. A good selection of stuff, it is usually well attended as there probably isn't another large grocery on that part of the Island.

We had a good trip with good weather. We had rain one afternoon, but that is OK as the Island appears to be headed for another drought. We got to say hello to NOLA couple on our first full day there. Unfortunately it was their last day, so we didn't get to do much more than say hello.

The food at the Perch Lite is adequate with chicken, ribs, shrimp and Mahi Mahi sandwiches. There may have been more, but I don't remember. Not every selection is available every day.

Chair and umbrella rental are available. Don't know the daily rate, but we got 7 days for $100. I think we got one day free with a weekly rental, so the daily rate is probably what it used to be—$18. Cedric and Allen (sp?), from watersports, along with one other guy we didn't know, are running that business, and are doing an excellent job of it. They also rake the beach each morning where the chairs are set up. Cedrick isn't there everyday as he has something else going on, but the others have everything under control. They plan on being there until Club O reopens and they get their jobs back.

All of the contract workers, including Willie, are being paid 70% of their normal pay. Willie is back on the Island, and has recently gotten married, is the word we got. The people woking the beach now were not under contract. Club O is giving them a chance to make some money during the hiatus. From what we could tell, Club O is taking care of its employees while the resort is closed. Although there were deaths on the French side, more deaths than what have been reported, all of the Club O employees survived.

Luis is back. In February he built a little building right on the beach that he operates out of. He said that after the storm, he and his two children lived on 150 coconuts and a bag of rice. Although I didn't need another bikini, I had decided to have him make me one as I figured he needed the business. He made me a bikini, a beach dress/coverup and I got a long pareo from him, which came in handy. Both the dress and bikini were perfect fits, as usual. He said mine was the first bikini he had made since the storm. Business is slow. On our last day he told us he had made another one, so business is picking up.

Chez Leandra has set up a small structure next to Luis. We didn't see her while we were there, although we didn't venture past the rocks during lunch hours. I think Luis told us she wasn't there all the time or that she had gone back to her other restaurant close to the French Quarter. Those two are the only businesses we saw on the entire beach, other than the Club O operation and Pedro's chair rental, which is only a few chairs. I think they are there mostly to preserve their business on the beach.

It was a good trip, and everyone we talked to on the Island was appreciative of our coming back and supporting the Island in its time of need. It is 100% tourism dependent, so the storm has wreaked havoc with the lives of the people. They need our support. There are plenty of services available to make the trip comfortable, just like the old days. Club O Beach is just like it used to be, except we couldn't step out of our chalet and be on the beach. It isn't nearly as convenient to stay elsewhere, but that is a small price to pay to enjoy the Club O Beach each day.

We enjoyed the trip enough that we will go back again next year, although Club O probably won't be up and running yet.


When we would do our walks in the mornings, it wasn't crowded. But I do think the white pareo shows a bit too much. It blows up in the rear and rides up in the front.

Last year we stayed in the Village. I wondered why the construction workers were stopping work and staring as I walked on Avenue Des Plages coming back from the beach. After seeing these pictures, I now know. At least I was complying with the no nudity policy on Orient Beach as I was wearing my pareo. As my husband pointed out, not only should my bottom half had been covered, but I probably shouldn't have been topless in the Village. Oh well, it was the French side. Don't know what I will do next year.

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Well, some people go nude on their early morning walks, at least before 8:00, maybe 9:00. Yes, on Orient beach, I think it qualifies as not nude, even the way you were wearing it! For the walks to/from the beach, maybe a fishnet shawl?
A fishnet shawl, or anything, would be more than what I wasn't wearing.

A few years ago, about 10:00, we were on our way back to Club O with the wind blowing my pareo up in the front, the way it usually does. I would tug it down and the wind would blow it up. The constant action of the wind, which was stronger than usual, and the tugging finally loosened the knot so much that I couldn't keep the pareo up. We were just a little past Allamanda, and, seeing no Gendarmes, I just skinned it off and did the rest of the walk naked.

I think I livened up the beach for a bunch of tourists that morning.

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In the old days, when it was still allowed, I walked the entire beach naked, in the early afternoon and stopped in at Adam and Eve on at least one walk. I don't think I have ever been thought to liven up the beach, but I did get a few "Hello"s from older women.
I miss those days.
When we first started going to Orient Beach in 2004, I wasn't brave enough to do the nude morning beach walks. It took a year or two for me to work up the nerve to be naked on the non Club O portion of the beach. There is safety in numbers, and when there were no other nude female walkers in sight, I was alone and very much exposed. It was one thing to walk naked on Club O beach, but an entirely different experience to be the only naked girl on the beach between Pedro's and down around Esmeralda. Along that strip of the beach, in the mornings, there were a bunch of clothed tourists and concession workers.

Shopping naked at those little shops (before the remodel) just past the rocks was a different situation. I saw that as an extension of Club O, even though it was past the rocks. I was always comfortable there. Same with being fitted at Luis'. I have seen several tourists do a double take as they walked by and saw me with nothing on being fitted for a bikini in an open air shop—both when he was behind Adam and Eve and after the storm when he was down right on the beach.

Now that nudity has been banned on the non Club O portion of the beach, I wear a tiny thong or one of my pareos while doing the morning walks. Both my yellow pareo and my white pareo have been pictured in this thread. Neither one really does much to protect my modesty. The yellow one blows up in the rear on the way down the beach and blows up in the front on the way back to Club O Beach. I have to be constantly tugging on it to keep it down in the front. The rear I don't worry about. The white pareo rides up when I walk, both down the beach and back. Now that I have seen how revealing the white one is, I'm not wearing it while walking to and from the beach through the Village anymore. I might as well not be wearing anything. I guess it is OK for the early morning beach walks as long as I wear a cover up while going through the Village area.

Those were some of my thoughts on shopping at the shops around Cheryl and Andy's and morning beach walks on the non Club O portion of the beach. Didn't intend for it to be such a long post, but this board needs some activity.

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Last edited by Christa September 15 2019 06:25
You're right Christa. This board needs some activity. It's been way too slow for way too long. Let's all hope for a rapid rebuild of Club Orient but in the meanwhile let's do all we can to keep that section of the beach alive and well.

When my better half and I first found St. Martin/Sint Maarten it was in 2000 when she won a cruise at work. We made it to Orient beach but were too inhibited to go past Pedro's. We have since been to the island at least 3 or 4 additional times but again it was as cruise passengers. We would always make a trip to Orient but could never bring ourselves to go beyond Pedro's.

On one of the trips my wife's curiosity got the better of her so she decided she was going to walk past the rocks that separated the clothing optional area from the textile area. This was a cruise that our teenage kids were with us so I stayed on the textile area with the kids. When she got back about 15 minutes later she said that after she walked about 100 yards she took her top off and kept walking. She remarked that she just took in the sun hitting her in an area that the sun hadn't seen before, in a public setting. She didn't really say much more about her little journey toward Club O at that time.

The island has always felt comfortable when we would stop there on our cruises so in 2017 we both said that we should actually spend some time there as a tourist rather than a cruise passenger. We got married on September 10, 1978 so September 2017 would be our 39th anniversary and what better way to celebrate than to spend the week of September 10th on the island. We booked our flights, had our rental condo reservations by May 2017.

Well, as we all know, mother nature had different plans for us to celebrate our 39th. IRMA came along and changed everything! We obviously were not able to go to the island and we watched in horror the devastation those poor people suffered. Living in Florida and watching the storm's track, I put up my hurricane shutters for the first time in 20 years. Luckily, the storm had been downgraded and just glanced us giving us a lot of rain and some wind gusts. The only damage we had was some tree limbs fell and a ridge vent from my roof came off. That hurricane went by us on September 10th so my wife said I gave her a hurricane for our anniversary.

We were determined to get to the island so we booked again for week of our 40th anniversary defiant that another storm wasn't going to hit. We stayed on the Dutch side in a condo right on the beach in Pelican. We discussed going to the Club O beach and checking off our bucket list that box for "Go to a nude beach and get naked". Being US raised and influenced by US media, my wife was very apprehensive about it but still wanted to go and see for herself. She wasn't sure she would be able to follow through.

Our anniversary was Monday and there were no ships in port that day so we decided to head to Orient. We arrived early at the beach, just as the guys were starting to set up chairs. There were 2 other couple arriving also. We gave our money for the chairs and umbrella, and started setting up our chairs. I immediately removed my suit, saying to my wife "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" and went into the water. My wife was lying on the chair and saw the other couples setting up their chairs and removing their clothing. My wife then removed her bathing suit top and walked into the water with me. A few minutes passed and she said she was going back to the chair. She walked back to the chair and turned to sit but then she decided to remove her bottoms before being seated. I also went back to my chair. She realized that the world didn't stop rotating because she removed her clothes in public and we started a conversation with the other couples. After about 10 minutes, she didn't even realize, or maybe just didn't care, that we were all naked. We stayed there about 3 hours and beore leaving asked the other couples if they would be back later in the week. When they replied yes, she said, "Good, we'll see you then." Looks like she went from being apprehensive and unsure to enjoying it and looking forward to future visits.

June 2019 we went back again and stayed in the village this time. We were there for 7 days and spent 5 of those 7 days at the Club O beach sans clothing. She said that the first visit made it easy for her because it wasn't crowded at all, maybe 20 people total on the beach, and after explaining to the couples we met that we were newbies and how comfortable they made us feel, made the transition from textile to nude so much easier. She even said that if the June visit, with around 200 people on the beach, was our first visit she may not have been able to get the nerve to get naked but the first visit made her realize we are all the same, no one judges and it's so freeing.

During our June visit we took a walk in the morning along the beach and when we got to the Club O section we both removed our shorts and T-shirts and walked almost to Papagao's naked and back to the rocks. It was interesting that we were doing that walk around 0730 and the other people we encountered walking on the Club O section were dressed. It didn't even faze my wife and she said they were missing out.

Hopefully we will be able to plan another trip soon to the island but in the absence of a Caribbean trip we have checked out 2 nudist resorts here in Florida.
Good story. Thanks M. Chien Adjoint (Mr. Deputy Dog).

Glad the two of you enjoyed Club Orient Beach. You would have really enjoyed the convenience of staying at Club O.

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Our first time in St Martin we stayed at Esmerald, it was 2008. We went au naturel sitting at the beach, but when we got up we put suits back on. The next year we were walking down to Club O, got past the rocks, and she took it all off without warning. I was shocked, and quickly followed suit. That's when she said we should just stay at Club O next time. Been back every year except for right after the hurricane. This year we stayed at Esmeralda again and walked to the beach, and strangely enough, my wife wore a small pareo for the walk (only slightly larger than Christa's). Next year is our 40th and we plan to return and can only hope something, anything, has begun at the resort to begin the rehabilitation of our favorite vacation spot on earth. If you knew my conservative, modest wife under normal circumstances you'd be as shocked as I was that it was her idea. But there, it seems so natural. Cheers
Thanks for the story Beachrunner. Glad you are still going to the Island. Hate to be negative, but we have given up hope that anything like we had in the past will be built in the future at what used to be Club O.

I saw on another forum that the owners at Club O have filed for bankruptcy. Don't know when that was or what it means, or if it is accurate terminology, or even if it is true. But there it is, for whatever it might be worth.

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I have no expectations, but hope they will at least build a more spartan form of what was. We don't need much. If nothing happens I won't be surprised or upset...but I figure I'll hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. It sure was a great place.
From what I have heard and personally experienced, the unoffical nude use of all of Orient beach before 8:00 AM seems to be ok, but do whatever makes you comfortable.
Doing what makes Christa comfortable may put Christa in the big house!!! If walking sans clothing beyond the rocks is illegal and the gendarmes catch you, the comfort level may decrease while the "pucker" factor increases. Hopefully the officer would be cool and just ask to cover up but if it were me running into Christa I wouldn't say a word, I'd just admire!!
Originally posted by bc9913 Christa,
From what I have heard and personally experienced, the unoffical nude use of all of Orient beach before 8:00 AM seems to be ok, but do whatever makes you comfortable.

It is probably OK just because the Gendarmes don't get out that early. I remember the last few years, pre Irma, when Club O was posting notices asking its guests to not use the non-nude beach nude. It was concerned that their part of the beach might be made non nude in retaliation.

Depending on which pareo I wear, I might as well be doing the walk nude. With the yellow pareo, and a few others, my rear is bare on the way down to Mt. Vernon because of the wind. On the way back my front side is bare as the wind is blowing the pareo up in the front. I have learned to not frequently tug it back down as that loosens the knot that holds it around my waist.

With the white pareo, as I saw from the pics, I am bare front and rear because of the wind in the rear and the way it rides up in the front when I walk. I guess I will still wear it on beach walks, but not through the Village to and from the beach. I'm not brave enough to knowingly walk naked through the Village, even at 10:00 in the morning. I probably did it 5 or 6 times last year, but didn't know how much wasn't covered. When I looked down in the front before leaving the apartment, I saw the material of the pareo and thought it was protecting my modesty. It was until I started walking and the front started riding up. I imagine it started riding up as I walked down the apartment steps to the street. I didn't have the Gendarmes called on me, so I guess that is an indication that people aren't as offended by a naked girl as they are by a naked guy.

So, in response to your post, yes, I will do the walk essentially naked, but I will have a piece of fabric around my waist, as I have had in the past, in case I see the Gendarmes.

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Going at the end of October for a week's stay; first since Irma when we there just 2 months prior. Not knowing what to expect this time is million dollar question. Be staying at the Es once again!!

Joe n Barb
We were there in April for the first time since Irma, and start our walks around sunrise from the village, hitting both ends. We saw maybe a half dozen nude walkers, the same clothed and a couple nude joggers, which is far less than pre Irma. Have never seen a Gendarme pre or post Irma. The wife usually wears a pareo but just didn't feel as comfortable this trip for some reason. Guess there was safety in numbers.

Life's a beach!