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St. Barth: The Best Money Can Buy
By Mike Thiel

There is more than the usual reverie aboard our vacation-bound flight, as the commuter plane lifts off for the 15-minute hop from St. Maarten to St. Barth. The excitement and decibel levels increase a notch when the rugged little island, floating in a multi-hued blue expanse, comes into view.

Everyone is chattering about the infamous approach to St. Barth's tiny airstrip. Most fellow passengers are treating it like a virtual reality amusement park ride; some are apprehensive, white-knuckled.

I don't normally suffer from fear of flying, but as the Twin Otter shudders earthward at a 40°angle, its left-to-right lurching and dips and bounces are a bit unsettling. I've been here before and know that any miscalculation in clearing the notch between the hills at the airstrip's western end promises disaster.

Fall/Winter 1997

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