|With "Ze Germans" in "On da Rocks" Seafood Grill & Bar|
How do we decide where we're traveling to and where not? Firstly we check our guide books. Secondly we talk to other cruisers and their experiences or recommendations. And thirdly we take into account the weather situation - means direction of wind and swell to decide if we'd be safe on anchor.
Anguilla was always on our "not sure if we should go"-list. Not many cruisers we've met went there - there was this rumor that it was very expensive and you'd have to pay high fees for anchoring. The guide book on the other hand recommended it highly. When we stayed in St. Maarten the plan was to cross the Anegada passage to the BVI's. As we had a variable time frame we considered going to Anguilla first to shorten the trip. The last push to go came from our German cruising friends Diana & Joern, who just had arrived in St. Martin after having spent some time in Anguilla - they praised this little island over the skies and their sparkling eyes convinced us to give it a try. Without further ado they joined us two days later to spend some time together before we'd part company for good as they planned on going South. And what should we say - we didn't regret it!
The first day in Road Bay/Sandy Ground was plagued by a little North swell but later the anchorage was just gorgeous. Even though we just spent a few days on Anguilla we can say its charm captivated us. It started already with the staff from customs and immigration - so friendly and helpful. And as long you're just staying in the main anchorage you have to pay NOTHING. Most of Anguillan waters are protected as a national park and if one wanted to anchor there yes, then you had to pay for a cruising permit and the amount depends on the yacht's tonnage. We didn't feel the need to go somewhere else by boat though.
|Road Bay at sunset|
Instead we did what we usually NEVER do - we hitch-hiked the island. We got lucky in the same instance we'd raised our thumb. And met just lovely people! There was a Dutch lawyer from St. Maarten who visited Anguilla just for a day with his dad or the sweet retired couple from the US who visits the island on a regular basis since years and who seemed to know everyone! This way we got to see the most beautiful beach in Anguilla, Shoal Bay Beach, FOR FREE.
|Shoal Bay Beach|
When our friends arrived we rented a car for a day to visit the places they wanted to show us. It started with a crayfish feast in the charming waterside restaurant "On da Rocks Seafood Grill & Bar" where they feature a crayfish special for US 5.- every Saturday and Sunday. I usually don't like shellfish but have to say it was delicious! And the view breathtaking...
|view from "On da Rocks" Seafood Grill & Bar|
Then we had to meet Bankie Banx in "The Dune Preserve" on Rendezvous Bay. At the entrance to this mix of a restaurant, night club and beach bar was a black guy with a broad smile standing, dressed all in white - I shook hands with him and continued on. Diana whispered in my ear: "You just shook hands with Bankie Banx!!" Bankie who? I hadn't heard from him. He's obviously kind of a star in Anguilla or maybe in the whole Caribbean and known as the "Anguillan Bob Dylan", a singer-songwriter and musician who had spent quite some time of his life touring Europe, North America and the Caribbean. And we even got lucky and saw him performing live together with another artist. We spent an amazingly chilled-out Sunday afternoon in the "Banks Estate" listening to live music, sipping on cold beers while enjoying a nice breeze and the view over the sea with St. Martin in the background.
|Bankie Banx on the left|
|St. Martin on the horizon|
We once again learned that it's best to go and check for yourself to make up your mind about a place. But it can't hurt to take into consideration other people's opinion. Thanks again Diana & Joern for the fun time we had! We just say ELVIS...
From paradise with love