April 3, 2023 – Simpson Bay, St Maarten – Aqua Mania Adventures hosted the first annual World Stray Animals Day Sunset Sail this past Saturday April 1st in support of local animal welfare foundations to raise funds for their programs. Through ticket sales, a petfood donations drive and a raffle, organizers raised $3,000 to be equally dispersed to the Animal Welfare Foundation, SXM Paws and Animal Defenders.

This first edition of the event raised enough interest to fill sailing catamaran Lambada and close to 80 people sailed off into the sunset during the 90-minute coastal sail. Before boarding Debby Lind-Steyn,  thanked Cathy Harris, Manager at Aqua Mania Adventures, for putting the idea of the event forward and Michele Korteweg of Shortcut 2 Success Event Planning, for turning it into such a successful first event. Of course, the animal welfare foundations, sponsors and guests were thanked for supporting the cause.

Lind-Steyn also indicated the importance of the efforts made by the Foundations. “So many strays roam the streets of St. Maarten and these foundations ensure that they are sterilized, fed and often provided with a new forever home. Not only is this a cause that many animal lovers care for, it’s important for the Island of St. Maarten as we develop as a Tourism Destination, we need to find a way to have less strays out on the streets as it’s not the image you want to showcase”.

The afternoon kicked off with the Pre-Mixer welcoming all guests to the event, which included welcome drinks and hors d’oeuvres sponsored by CC1, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Zee Best Bakery, Domino’s Pizza and Amsterdam Cheese & Liquor Store. Prime was present and promoted its EZ Shop Portal and pledged donations of 10 bags of pet food for the animal foundations based on the number of guests signing up for the online shopping portal. Tracey Berry from the MailBox was also present selling her unique handmade bottle lights, donating proceeds towards the cause.

“The afternoon kicked off in great spirits during the pre-mixer, as people received information about the Animal Welfare Foundations, purchased t-shirts in support, made donations towards petfood, and enjoyed the delicious Tito’s cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before boarding for the sunset sail. You could tell people were keen to learn more about the cause and fast to donate to support the efforts by Aqua Mania Adventures to make the fundraising event a success. And while the majority of guests were local, close to 40% of the guests were tourists, proud to be part of this fundraising effort.” Stated Michele Korteweg, organizer of the event.

The sunset sail closed off a weeklong effort of finding, fixing and fostering the stray animals of St. Maarten. This joint effort by Four Leave Rover, Animal Defenders, the Animal Welfare Foundation and SXM Paws was an immense success with 287 animals sterilized in 5 days. The $3,000 raised during the sunset sail will support the foundations to continue its efforts of feeding, fostering, adopting and sterilizing cats and dogs. Of the total amount, $675 will be dedicated to purchase petfood at Prime and will be equally divided and donated to the 3 Foundations.

During the sunset sail, between the dancing and amicable chatter, a raffle was hosted to raise additional funds. A number of great local businesses donated to the raffle, including Aqua Mania Adventures, Island 92, Belair Beach Hotel, Rhino Riders, CC1 and Tracy’s Bottles. Special thanks also goes to The Daily Herald for supporting the promotions of the event and the animal welfare foundations with their full page inclusions in the Out ‘N About leading up to the event.

The Animal Welfare Foundation, SXM Paws and Animal Defenders are relying solely on donations, every dollar goes directly to the cause without any expenses for rent or employees, as the foundations are run by volunteers. Donations can be made online, or support in many ways by volunteering time, donating food, toys, cleaning products, and of course sharing news about their successful efforts.

Next year’s event will take place on Saturday March 30th, 2024 and will again be hosted by Aqua Mania Adventures. Their sunset sails and many other trips are offered year-round. For more information check out www.stmaarten-activities.com.

Source: SXM Talks

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