November 11 – National Day in St. Maarten

Posted November 11, 2013

There is a Caribbean island named Saint Martin that is far smaller than the smallest state in the U.S. – but which is divided between two nations:

 the French “collectivity” of Saint-Martin, and 

– one of the countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sint Maarten. 

I don't know about you, but that seems like a lot of confusion for such a small island!

At any rate, today is Martinmas, the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours, for whom the island and both countries are named. So it stands to reason that today is Sint Maarten's national day.

(Of course, the reason that the island is named for St. Martin in the first place is because Columbus and his crew discovered the island on St. Martin's feast day, November 11, 1493. So maybe that's why St. Maarten's national day is today! My head is spinning slightly just thinking about it.

By the way...

Speaking of head spinning, one of the beaches of St. Maarten is YouTube-famous because the jet planes have to come so low, so close to the ocean, sand, tourists, and cars, in order to land! Check out jets landing here and here.

That's enough to make my head spin and my stomach lurch!

The airport with that terrifyingly short landing strip is called Princess Juliana International Airport. And close to the airport is a large lagoon that is split roughly in half between the French and Dutch nations. Luckily, there are two islands in the lagoon, one on the French side and the other on the Dutch side. I do like things to be fair!

A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger (and deeper) body of water by a barrier reef or by barrier islands. In the case of the Simpson Bay Lagoon of St. Martin/Maarten, there is a long loop of land around the lagoon, with two channels connecting the lagoon waters to the Caribbean. Again, all is fair – there is one channel on the French side and the other on the Dutch side.

Also on this date:

Veteran's Day – also known as 

Origami Day 

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