Only in Saint Martin can you swim on a beach where massive jets fly overhead seemingly within reach of your very own hands. Yesterday morning, I traveled over to Maho Beach, the section of beach located directly behind the short runway at SXM: Saint Martin’s airport.
Upon arrival, the first sign we were greeted with was the one everyone sees all over TripAdvisor before booking a trip to the island. It reads, “Jet blast of departing and arriving aircraft can cause severe physical harm resulting in extreme bodily harm and/or death.”
Maho beach could not possibly be lined with any more warnings and signs about the dangers of planes taking off and landing so close by. Despite these cautionary signs, whenever a plane is within sight, people all over the beach would run over to the fence in the photograph above, grab on with both hands, and prepare to be blasted with strong winds. And when I say “strong,” that is truly an understatement.
Every 20 minutes or so, another plane would be overhead. The three most impressive plane landings to witness were the KLM, Pawa Dominicana, and the InselAir. I took a few videos of the landings that I will eventually upload to my YouTube. As for takeoffs, to my surprise, the KLM (photographed above) was nothing to brag about. The InselAir, however, was insane. I literally thought I was going to die and I’m not even exaggerating.
People were blown into the water as the jets kicked in. My sisters feet lifted off the floor. My dad broke a blood vessel in his eye. My face was burning from the heat being blown at us. I heard glass shatter and all I could imagine was my sunglasses shattering and having the glass fragments blown into my eye. It was unbelievable what we experienced. Unimaginable. It was scary. I pretty much regretted it almost instantly.
Despite feeling like I was in extreme danger, in hindsight, I no longer regret standing behind the airplanes during takeoff. (Did I really just say that?) The energy and hype surrounding Maho Beach and the airplanes was crazy. People were getting so pumped up about the incoming flights and outgoing jet blasts. I am happy to have experienced both and lived to tell the tale.