This morning, we awoke to the sounds of a rolly anchorage. If you’ve ever gone to sleep anchored in calm winds and awakened with 20 knots, you know what I’m talking about. Slap. Thunk. Clang. Yeah, maybe we should have dropped the hook where all the other boats are. Maybe they know something I don’t. Maybe that’s why I’m bouncing out of my bunk every five seconds in ocean swell to start the day. No worries, it’s a sailing day and it looks like we’ve got wind! (From the wrong direction, of course.) Overnight the winds increased and clocked further to the south – the direction we’re headed today. Luckily, we’re really used to this.
We spent a lovely couple of days on the island of Anegada. It’s famous for lobster as well as… um, well the lobster is really really good. Also, unlike the rest of the Virgin Islands, it’s as flat as an Illinois parking lot. Approaching from the sea, you first see the tops of trees. As you sail closer, you then see tree trunks. Land? It’s visible when you actually set foot on it. Seriously, the whole island is about 15 inches above sea level.
Boats anchor in the only place deep enough on the south side of Anegada. Beautiful beaches abound – conveniently on the north side of Anegada. Fortunately, capitalism prevails and there is a place just a short walk from the dock where you can exchange $30 for a 125cc dirt bike in reasonably good condition for the day. Not only did they not ask if I possessed a motorcycle license; they didn’t bother to ask if I knew how to ride. For the record, I have and I do. Drop off is easy: leave the keys in it, no one’s going to steal a motorcycle on a tiny island.
As I was saying, the lobster is really good. The Anegada Reef Hotel has been serving it up for 40 years. Tables are arranged on the sand, torches are lit as the sun goes down, and grills sizzle with crustacean delicacies. Speaking with the owner Vivian, who’s been there for the whole 40 years going back to when the island was nothing but a shipwreck magnet, we heard the story of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to the Virgin Islands in the 1960s. Much of the appeal of the Caribbean lobster can be traced to the Queen’s request for the dish during her trip here. Prior to that, lobsters weren’t even worth the trouble of harvesting. Fisherman who found them usually cut them up for bait. These days, that would be some expensive bait.
*** Programming note: This was actually written a few days ago. I’ve discovered that I am hesitant to post stale copy and often discard it or wind up editing it to reflect the fact that “today” really meant “back when I wrote this.” No more. Henceforth, things will just get posted as I wrote them. Maybe then I won’t have an excuse for not posting anything for weeks at a time. If I don’t finish writing something or find internet access to get it online in a timely fashion, who cares? Just pretend you’re reading a Chuck Palahniuk novel, and the whole story is probably out of order. Today, we’re actually in Virgin Gorda, and you can read about that some other time. ***
Bridge over shallow water
Born to be mild.
Sunset at the Anagada Reef Hotel