St. Maarten
We got up early in the morning to see a glorious sunrise.  The date?  September 11, 2001.

We got up early in the morning to see a glorious sunrise. The date? September 11, 2001.

It's hard to reconcile this beauty with the tragedy that unfolded back home.

It's hard to reconcile this beauty with the tragedy that unfolded back home.

George on deck getting pictures of the sunrise.

George on deck getting pictures of the sunrise.

Approaching St. Maarten in the early morning.

Approaching St. Maarten in the early morning.

Entering the harbor at Philipsburg.

Entering the harbor at Philipsburg.

As we got closer we could see Philipsburg in a valley and extending up the sides of the mountains.

As we got closer we could see Philipsburg in a valley and extending up the sides of the mountains.

A closer look at the town and some of the small boats in the harbor.

A closer look at the town and some of the small boats in the harbor.

As we approached the dock we could see across a spit of land to the Atlantic Ocean.

As we approached the dock we could see across a spit of land to the Atlantic Ocean.

After our ship docked, we were able to wath some America's Cup yachts practicing in the bay.

After our ship docked, we were able to wath some America's Cup yachts practicing in the bay.

Later in the day we toured the island, passing this seaside resort near Philipsburg.

Later in the day we toured the island, passing this seaside resort near Philipsburg.

Near Marigot, on the French side of the island, Betsy and I chose to visit Fort Louis.

Near Marigot, on the French side of the island, Betsy and I chose to visit Fort Louis.

The fort was sited on a hill overlooking the town and the harbor.

The fort was sited on a hill overlooking the town and the harbor.

As we climbed the hill we could see the French flag flying over the ruins of the fort.

As we climbed the hill we could see the French flag flying over the ruins of the fort.

Marigot is the largest city and capital of French Saint Martin.

Marigot is the largest city and capital of French Saint Martin.

From the fort we could look down on the town of Marigot and the bay.

From the fort we could look down on the town of Marigot and the bay.

The different shades of blue in the water added interest and beauty to the scene.

The different shades of blue in the water added interest and beauty to the scene.

Betsy checked out one of the cannons in the fort.

Betsy checked out one of the cannons in the fort.

George clambored up a rock pile to get a closer look at the French flag.

George clambored up a rock pile to get a closer look at the French flag.

The views from the fort were gorgeous.

The views from the fort were gorgeous.

We especially enjoyed the views of the harbor and bay.

We especially enjoyed the views of the harbor and bay.

Betsy and me at Fort Lewis, above Marigot, Saint Martin.

Betsy and me at Fort Lewis, above Marigot, Saint Martin.

After visiting Marigot, we took a cruise on a semi-submersible vessel.

After visiting Marigot, we took a cruise on a semi-submersible vessel.

We sailed to Creole Rock, which gets its name from what looks like the profile of a reclining man.

We sailed to Creole Rock, which gets its name from what looks like the profile of a reclining man.

Once at Creole Rock the vessel partially submerged and we could watch a diver feed the fish.

Once at Creole Rock the vessel partially submerged and we could watch a diver feed the fish.

The diver was very popular as long as he had food to give out.

The diver was very popular as long as he had food to give out.

On the way back to the ship we stopped at an overlook that gave us a view of the Dutch side of the island.

On the way back to the ship we stopped at an overlook that gave us a view of the Dutch side of the island.

The island scenery, the sea and sky made a gorgeous picture.

The island scenery, the sea and sky made a gorgeous picture.

I was amazed with all the different shades of blue we saw all around us.

I was amazed with all the different shades of blue we saw all around us.

As we approached the port, I got a glimpse of our ship from the bus.

As we approached the port, I got a glimpse of our ship from the bus.

We had to pass through a security checkpoint to get back on board the ship.

We had to pass through a security checkpoint to get back on board the ship.

As the sun began to set, we went up on deck to enjoy the view.

As the sun began to set, we went up on deck to enjoy the view.

The setting sun cast a golden path on the quiet sea.

The setting sun cast a golden path on the quiet sea.

The beauty and serenity of the sea was in stark contrast to the events at the World Trade Center.

The beauty and serenity of the sea was in stark contrast to the events at the World Trade Center.

Looking back, it's hard to believe that such beauty can co-exist with such horrors as we experienced that day.

Looking back, it's hard to believe that such beauty can co-exist with such horrors as we experienced that day.

Perhaps we needed the reminder that in spite of the evil in men's hearts, God is still in control.

Perhaps we needed the reminder that in spite of the evil in men's hearts, God is still in control.