We are totally on our own now. We have left our friends behind without any expectation of seeing them again this season and not knowing if we will see them in the next. Continuing our adventure alone required one last overnight (unless a hurricane comes before we get to Grenada) and eastern passage. From Anguilla, it should all be day hops south. It was a beautiful night and we sailed about 80% of the passage. Sometimes there just wasn’t enough wind to sail, but this also meant the seas were flat calm. We arrived around 11:00 AM, 19 hours after departing the BVIs.
From the little I knew about Anguilla, I didn’t expect to see many cruising boats in country #6. Most cruisers skip Anguilla and head straight for Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. By comparison, Anguilla would be a quiet, sleepy island. Most of the duty free shopping is in St Maarten on the Dutch side and the awesome French bistros are in St Martin on the French side. Therefore, I was surprised to share the anchorage at Road Bay, Anguilla, with 11 other catamarans. However, many are charter boats from the Moorings, which came across from St Martin – not cruisers. We planned to stay here five days, but apparently Carnival is happening at St Maarten, so we are going to leave a couple days early to check it out.
One note on checking in to Anguilla: The cruising guides call it one of the most expensive islands to visit. This all depends on how you do it. Everyone has to check in at Road Bay, but you can pay fees to go to other anchorages during check in if you are so willing. Most of Anguilla is a protected park where there is no fishing and they are trying hard to control the number of boats and the diving activities to protect the environment. I’m glad to see it, personally. Therefore, we decided to stay in Road Bay and rent a car to see other areas. The check in was the easiest yet and there were no fees whatsoever. There is no charge for boats under 20 tons to stay in Road Bay.
Beginning in Florida, we noticed evidence from previous hurricanes. I honestly do not understand why people live in a hurricane zone. So many buildings have the top story and roof missing. There is only rebar sticking up from the bottom level, which people still use. The floor from the second story keeping the rain off their heads at least. If you have never seen what I’m talking about, I’ll try to remember to take a picture of one next time I see it. Then, beginning in the Bahamas, we saw shipwrecks. From fishing boats to cargo ships blown ashore and torn apart.
In the Caicos Bay there was a huge commercial ship upside down in shallow water and wedged between rocks. It is chilling to see these huge and heavy ships tossed around like ragdolls. The force of nature is truly incredible. Our insurance requires us to get out of the “hurricane box” before July 15. No problem! We have no intention of facing off with a hurricane.
We’ve been watching sea turtles off the back of the boat – at least a dozen. So of course, I am dying to go snorkeling to get closer to them. I donned my shorty wetsuit, booties, and as I was sitting on the sugar scoop putting on my fins I saw two turds float by. They looked suspiciously human in origin. Gross! I said I want to see sea turtles not sea turds! So I patiently waited on the boat in my hot wet suit until they floated a safe distance away. Then I jumped in anyway. How is that for anxious to swim with turtles? I saw one right away, but I could tell I made it nervous, so I kept my distance and let it swim away. All the other turtles cleared out as well. Bummer. But I did see a big conch walking around on its one big foot and a lot of large starfish. Seeing a conch move is an extraordinary experience. These creatures are so slow moving. I was thrilled and wished I was videoing.
Not wanting to waste the swim time, I grabbed a sponge and cleaned the bottom of both hulls. It’s only fair since Dave cleaned the hulls above the waterline. But I still can’t get the image of the raw sewage floating by out of my head. I may not swim in Anguilla again. I’m not blaming Anguilla. I am sure they came from a boat without an operational head. All I can say is thank goodness for the fresh water shower on the back deck! Ewww.