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Sunday, May 14, 2017

The "Saving The Tropical Wave" Story

Sign along the main road that leads you to Le Galion
It was an ordinary day.  Just signed the online petition to support Patrick Turner and The Tropical Wave in his quest to keep his beach bar, which he established in 1977, on property AW16 where it now stands.  Pat was a transplant from the United States.  His beach bar has been the mainstay of Le Galion Beach, also known as L'Embouchure, Coconut Grove and even "Baby Beach", for years and years.  He has always enhanced the beauty and interest of the beach by planting coconut trees, installing garbage containers, constructed swim platforms for the children who use the beach and made a beach volleyball court.  His beach bar keeps the beach clean, cleans up the garbage, supplies chairs and umbrellas and runs a watersports center.  
Entrance to Tropical Wave Beach Bar and Watersports.
And, he has been paying taxes on the land since 1977.  Also standing on property AW16 at one time was the once grand Le Galion Hotel which began its demise in 1990 and has since been demolished.  It was in 1975 that the Conservatoire du Littoral, a public institution whose mission is to acquire Plots of the littoral threatened by urbanization or degraded to make sites restored, arranged, welcoming in the respect of natural balances, was begun in France.  
Photo from last year showing the Le Galion Hotel.
This at one time was a spectacular 46-room hotel.
Since St. Martin is considered an overseas collectivity of France, the Conserva- toire du Littoral was able to purchase property AW16 on which The Tropical Wave is located.  The Tropical Wave used the water cistern and electricity generator of the nearby Le Galion Hotel and now that the hotel has been demolished, Mr. Turner wants to run a new water line from a business closeby as well as install his own generator.  
Photo from last year showing the beach at Le Galion.
Property AW16 is projected to become a public park area and have no beach bar on it.  The Conserva- toire du Littoral has offered to build a new restaurant for Mr. Turner on nearby property AW17, but would charge him 3,000 Euros a month to use the restaurant.  
A panoramic photo taken a few weeks ago showing the beach.
That amount would shut his business down.  Over the years Mr. Turner has kept the spirit of the beach alive by offering a variety of services to the local visitors as well as the many tourists that visit the beach during the year.  Last year during Carol and my visit to St. Martin, we traveled back the road to Galion Beach and found it to be a fantastic beach with a great atmosphere.  The water was extremely clean and calm with many windsurfers on the water.  At the time I walked back to the still-standing Le Galion Hotel which was in ruins.  
My friend Barbara, who lives on Sint Maarten, supplied me
with this early photo of Le Galion Beach. It was taken in
1976 before Mr. Turner opened his Tropical Wave on the beach.
The overgrowth had covered much of the building which at one time must have been the showcase of the beach.  Well, this morning I drove back once again and was amazed at the beauty of the beach and surrounding area.  Patrick has done a fantastic job in preserving the surrounding areas.  I only hope that he will win his battle with the Conservatoire du Littoral and be able to remain where he has been for the last 39 years of his life.  If you care to help him in his quest, access and sign the petition at:  http://www.petitions24.com/support_the_tropical_wave_and_save_galion_beach_spirit.  I am signer #846 and I'm sure he would appreciate as many people as possible signing the petition.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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