Pinel Island is the perfect day-trip destination if you didn’t plan anything in advance. Located a few hundreds meters off the North-East cost of Saint Martin, it can be easily reached by kayak or by boat departing from a tiny dock in the French Cul de Sac. You simply need to drive there, park your car, and wait your turn under an open shed sitting next to a bunch of French middle-aged speaking people playing dominos.
Yesterday I’ve tried the boat. I’m extremely sensitive to motion sickness but the crossing was so fast that my stomach didn’t even notice it was ever on the water. The ticket price was 12 Euro (or 13 Dollars) and the last boat leaving Pinel was scheduled at 5 pm. Plenty of time considering that a walk around the island takes approximately 30 minutes.
I will only say three words about Pinel Island: archetypical tropical beaches. I don’t want to spoil it for you and I would recommend you not to read about it in general. Let yourself be surprised. Bring your camera, a bottle of water and do not be modest with sun screen. Unfortunately I did not follow this last advice myself and now my ass (that I did not properly protect) refuses to be in contact with any sort of surface.
If you want to travel light you can eat at a cute-looking beach restaurant.
If you want to travel cheap bring your lunch box.
There are a few nice spots where to snorkel, just pay attention not to destroy the fragile corals with your fins. Keep in mind that you are on a stunning natural reserve!
N.B. Leaving the dock, on the left side of the island you’ll find a snorkelling trail and an open hut where a couple of guys will explain you that if you want to enter the water in that specific spot you’ll need to wear their life jacket, to have a max. fin length and to pay 12 Euro (13 Dollar). It all seems for a good cause since the coral reef there is indeed very beautiful. However, snorkelling with a life jacket is something I would not wish to my worst enemy! It is hard to aim at what you want to see, you get easily moved around by the waves and if you are not seasick within two minutes it only means that you don’t have a stomach at all.