A PERIPATETIC JOURNEY
not all who wander are lost
We dropped our mooring in Leverick Bay around 5:00 in the afternoon on February 17 to begin the overnight passage to Anguilla. Reaching Anguilla would be a milestone on our trip: we would be officially 'turning the corner', that is, being able to use the prevailing easterlies to our advantage rather than having to fight them head on. With most of our travel to the south after this passage, the winds would be on our beam instead of right in front of us. We were looking forward to less bashing into the wind and waves and a reduced need for 3AM departures in order to take advantage of night lees. As we motored east (there wasn't enough wind to sail, and it was right on the nose anyway), we enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets yet.
The night passage was uneventful. We saw a couple of other sailboats making the same passage as us, as well as the brightly lit cruise ships lining up outside of Philipsburg, St. Maarten, for their early morning arrival. We reached Road Bay, Anguilla, at sunrise. After Brian cleared us in, we went to shore. It was a Saturday morning and although the beach bars were not yet open, people were beginning to arrive for the tour and dive boats or just to swim at the beach. Most of the restaurants in Road Bay were not stingy with their wifi, leaving it on whether the bar was open or not, so people often sat at the outdoor tables to get online early in the morning.
It is difficult to summarize our visit to Anguilla. We met some wonderful people, toured the island, did work work and school work, and had a very relaxing few days. Everyone knows about six degrees of separation: the idea that everyone in the world can be connected to everyone else by six links. But on Anguilla we found it was between just two and three links. On Saturday, we took a tour of the island with a taxi driver named Stephen. He showed us around the island and even took us to his house where we met his wife and saw the aviary of parrots and parakeets owned by one of his sons. We'd been invited to a party that evening so we asked if he'd be able to drive us. Stephen wasn't available, but one of his sons was and could meet us on the beach around 5:30. We only had a vague idea of where the party was but figured it was a small island and we'd find it. When we met our driver that afternoon, we provided our imprecise directions. He gave his dad a quick call for more info, and off we went. Unfortunately, the gathering was in an area where the houses were not close to the road, and we had trouble finding it. We told our driver that the party's host knew Johnno, who owned one of the beach bars. He called Johnno, who told him to call Doug (who runs a dive boat: Special D Diving). Well, it turned out Doug was at the party; he gave directions, and five minutes later were were there! We had a wonderful time that evening, meeting both local Anguillians and visitors, many of whom had been coming to Anguilla for decades.
On what was going to be our last night in Anguilla, we met up with the party's host and his 11 year old granddaughter for some miniature golf and pizza. We had a lot of fun, enjoying both the golf and the local-favorite pizza place - that is until we heard rain pounding on the restaurant roof and remembered that we had left the hatches open on the boat! When we returned, everything was wet and it wasn't easy to find places to hang sheets for four beds, pillows, and various other soaked items. Fortunately the mattresses were dry, thanks to waterproof covers, and we could sleep on our beds. We tried to see the good side of the situation: at least it was fresh water. That much salt water in our bedding would have been a very different matter! We spent the next day drying out, planning to head to St. Martin in the morning.