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The Airport on the Hill

The charm of Saint Barth’s is preserved in part because landing here is far from charming. No mass-tourism 747’s on this runway, that’s for sure. The local guidebooks note that pilots must have special training before they may take a plane into Gustavia. Watch why:

The stronger the wind on a given day, the steeper and faster a pilot’s approach must be. I am grateful for the professionalism of the young woman flying our Winair plane.

Addendum: The 60 frames/second speed of my iPhone 7’s video capture makes the plane’s props look at times as if they are barely turning. Not so.

Addendum: For readers interested in my whale-related adventures (here, here and here), there were no whales visible in Saint Barth’s this week, but each time I went freediving below a depth of 40 feet (where sound is not disrupted by surface turbulence — think of calling to someone on a windy day) at the mouth of the Plage de Gouverneur and the Plage de Grande Saline this past Tuesday and Wednesday, I could clearly hear male humpback whales singing to females in their usual courting ritual (though some scientists dispute that this is what is occurring). Saint Barth’s is on a migration route for humpbacks.

Addendum: There is no truth to the rumor that Phil Hanlon wants to take the wonderful, intimate jewel that is Saint Barth’s today and transform it into a resort for mass tourism by building huge, international hotels and even opening an energy institute. Nobody could be so foolish as to alter something that is small and much loved in order to chase after prestige in emulation of huge vacation destinations.

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