Thursday, April 27, 2017

Welcome to Anguilla

Our closest neighbours in the next bay over
Another day… Another Country!  It’s strange that for as long as we were in St. Martin… we could just leave with so little fanfare.  Our last night in St. Martin was spent in Friar’s Bay.  We cleared out on Wednesday for a Thursday departure and left Marigot Bay to squeeze in one more anchorage before we left. 

We found Friar’s Bay to be perfectly pleasant.  We anchored just before 5pm.  Bruce wouldn’t take me ashore to visit the little beach bar - his reason being that we have PLENTY to drink here on the boat.  So I settled with my cocktail and watched in amazement as the beach began to abruptly clear.

Seriously.  At the stroke of 5 pm, people came out and began taking cushions, chairs and umbrellas in and boarding up the bar windows.  We looked down the beach at the other bar and saw a steady wave of people walking from the water to the shore… They gathered up their things, got into their cars and drove away.  

The one other boat in our part of the Bay pulled up anchor and motored away leaving us alone and wondering if there was something we didn’t know about this place… that maybe we should!  

But our night was pleasant on calm seas with only a gentle swell to rock us.  


Morning brought misty rain in the hills making a dramatic view.  We got some sprinkles and postponed our planned shore hike… then when the rain cleared, I got a migraine.  So no hike for us.  When my headache was over it was time to leave for Anguilla or risk missing clearing in today.

By this time the winds and seas were building.  We had waves on our starboard aft quarter and most were comfortable with only the occasional big one that rolled us around a bit.  The winds were between 18 and 25 knots throughout our relatively short sail… And sail we did.  Well, at least half the way.  We found one reef in the main to be perfect as we were headed nearly downwind.  No need to roll out a jib we would struggle to carry…

We romped across the Anguilla channel… happy that Jezabelle showed her displeasure by scowling alone and no cat cookies were tossed today!  Yay!  
Approaching the eastern point of Anguilla

Looking back to St. Martin
We rounded the eastern tip of Anguilla and found ourselves headed almost directly into the wind.  We hardened up the main and started the engine to give us a push.  Still we were only doing between 3.8 and 4.5 knots but on much flatter seas.  Jezabelle finally got that good nap she needed.

The last of St. Martin

The coast was beautiful.  There are long stretches of brilliant white sand and huge homes or boutique hotels… All very dramatic on rocky cliffs or giant boulders.

Huge hotel!

Anguilla Customs and Immigration closes at 4pm.  We dropped anchor in Round Bay at just after 3 and rushed to get ashore in time, knowing of the tendency to close early… or at least not start anything when it’s nearly closing time… we were cutting it close.

Customs & Immigration bottom left door

I left Bruce tying the dinghy and hustled through the sand to the office… still open!  But… they had no intention of clearing us in this close to closing time… Fortunately they were super nice and invited us to enjoy the beach and the bars and just come back after 8 in the morning.

We were more than happy to comply... Dad's was just starting to jump... meaning that there were a couple of people there leaning against the bar...

We were welcomed by Dad himself.  He served up delicious arrival drinks and everything we've heard about him, and about this bar is true!

Chickens in the bar!  YES!
The rum infused our minds and our bodies with a sense of wellbeing.  The friendly welcome from the Customs Officials, and the the instant friendship extended to us from Dad were just what we needed after our short voyage from one country to another.

So often our arrival to a new place bears a burden of anxiety.  We are uncertain about everything... we don't know where anything is, the people aren't always welcoming or forthcoming with information when asked... But here... it's wonderful!

We left Dad rolling himself a big fat one and promised to return for live music and ribs on Sunday night.  I think we're gonna like this place...

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