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After Diving, Total Zen at Zen It

Location: Zen It, Grand Case, St. Martin


 Yesterday morning I went diving for the second time (again with Octopus Diving, the best dive shop ever), and it was phenomenal. I felt way more comfortable, and we had two hour-long, shallow dives at Creole rock and Turtle Reef. I got some amazing pictures of many badass critters. Check out the photo gallery. My favorite critter was definitely the turtle. We followed him for several minutes while he blissfully, obliviously munched away at the coral. I was also very excited that I spotted a green moray eel. He was tucked away in a little crevice, and I managed to catch him out of the corner of my eye. He wouldn't come out for us, unlike the spotted moray eel, which went tearing off into his hole when he saw us.

After diving, I met up with Steve who was at our newest favorite spot. For several days now, we've been frequenting a little cafe on Boulevard Grand Case called Zen It. Just next to Calmos cafe, they share a beach (and a credit card machine), but for some reason Zen It is less hectic and crowded. They have great cushioned beach chars, and the requisite umbrellas, and you can easily move between eating "indoors" (being that we're in the Caribbean, there are no doors, just a roof and floor), and being out on the beach. But, most importantly, they do a proper breakfast that they serve until 11:30, something we had been searching for.

Not only does Zen It have the best French cafe au lait we've found on the boulevard so far (I'm amazed at how few places have proper cafe au lait, very disappointed by that), but they do soft-boiled eggs with toast fingers, which I love. Their french toast passes Steve's high standards, which is saying something, because the French don't really understand what we Americans call French Toast. Their salade nicoise is respectable. They do a mean Croque Madame (the ham/cheese sandwich with an egg on top). Their burger is also quite decent, and they do a lovely, fresh Prosciutto and Melon. Yes, we've been spending quite a bit of time on their beach of late! They also have Wifi (in French, pronounced wee-fee :), albeit sporadic and slow.

Even better, their little stretch of beach is perfect for swimming. The surf is calm, and the beach is perfect, pure, soft sand, unlike the Grand Case Beach Club which was all pebbles (like being in Nice, I wonder if they imported them? it's the only place I've seen a rocky beach here). Yesterday I finally got my swimming groove back, and must have gone a full mile, swimming all the way down to the dive shop mooring, and back to the dinghy docks several times. The water is clear, and with a snorkeling mask on (sans snorkel these days), you can see down to the sandy bottom, probably only ~ 10 feet down. Great conditions for getting over the fear of starring in a movie taglined "Jaws, but in the Caribbean."

From the Zen It beach you also have a great view of the prop planes coming in for a landing at Grand Case airport. They fly really low, right over the boulevard, and I've been trying desperately to get a proper picture of it. Got a tail, got a nose, but so far haven't timed it right to catch the whole plane over the buildings. So far this pic is the best I've done for perspective of how close they come in.


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