April 5th & 6th, 2014 (-4 on UTC)
****NOTE: The posting of our last blog didn\’t work as it was a bit too long for a remote post from the boat. I\’ve been able to re-post it via the internet and now it\’s ready for viewing. It\’s the post under \”Ship\’s Blog\” at the top of the home page just before this one. I WAS ABLE TO UPLOAD SEVERAL PHOTOS including the one of \”Plane Spotting\” in St. Maarten. If the internet holds up okay, I\’ll add a few photos to this post as well…Enjoy!
Anguilla would be our last stop in the Leeward Island group. Only 6 miles from St. Martin (French side) it would seem light years away upon our arrival. It\’s atmosphere is very laid back! The people very friendly. And to think, we were only 6 miles from St. Maarten/St. Martin!
Despite the very laid back nature of the locals, in 1967 there was a \”revolt\” as the Anguillan\’s wanted to be a separate entity from St. Kitt\’s and Nevis which they were then a direct part of. The British after a few strong complaints separated Anguilla some years later into it\’s own overseas territory status. It\’s history is British and was colonized by them in 1650. The soil turned out to be a bust and eventually all agriculture was abandoned. The island remained pretty sleepy (and still is) till the tourism industry grabbed a hold of it.
It was so short a distance, despite the favorable winds we motored. We had to charge the batteries anyway and we could run the washing machine with a battery charging source. En route, we were gobsmacked (as the British say), by being passed by sister ship s/v \”Simoust\” (Switch 51 #5) now in charter out of St. Martin. We tried to hail the charter group aboard, but alas, they were not listening on the VHF radio. I doubt they even realized we were the same type of boat. \”Beach House\” is Switch #11 of the 15 that were made.
Upon landing at Road Bay, Anguilla we anchored with mostly local boats. Road Bay is one of two overnight anchorages on the island. Much of the island is a National Park and off limits to overnight anchoring. This island has three mega resorts, one of which, \’The Viceroy\’ is very exclusive. Road Bay however was about as \”Jimmy Buffet goes to the Caribbean\” as you can imagine. We went to \”Elvis\’s Bar\” which is an old Anguilla racing sloop in the sand on the beach!.
Indeed, we discovered that Elvis had left the building and we kibitzed with the ex-pat bar maid and bar man. We were the only patrons except for another US ex-pat who owned a restaurant there. We walked up and down the beach which took all of 20 minutes having stopped by customs who was happy to check us in and out at the same time. Apparently, the charter crowd and most of the private boats don\’t stay more than 72 hours, so they allow this. There are some nice off shore reefs and small islands to the north of the main island. The diving is reported to be very nice. As we were anxious to get on to the British Virgin Islands, we would only stay day and night before a very early morning departure. We thought about staying a day for a dive, but after talking with Matthew (the local dive operator) the weather was predicted to be a bit rough and we didn\’t want to wait. Good for the sail, but bad for a dive. If you wanted to really get off the grid and be remote, yet be able to go to a 5 star resort, this might be the place. Except….there are probably many more places just like it scattered around the Caribbean that are a bit easier to get to.
The sail to the British Virgin Islands would be about 75 miles and we could easily make it in one day if we left early. I don\’t like arriving after 3:30 pm due to low light and not being able to see reefs. The British Virgin Islands would be the first place I\’d actually sailed in back in 1996. Cindy and I came here and did a charter and went diving on our own in preparation to deciding if the cruising life might be for us. Lots of water under the keel since then.
We got up early and in a lovely 20+ knot breeze ran downwind to the BVI. The sail was great and our first landfall would be between Virgin Gorda and Necker Island, the \”Virgin\” owned by \”Virgin Group\” CEO, Richard Branson.
Stay tuned, more very soon.
Scott and Nikki