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Anguilla - January, 2001
Anguilla is described in my cruising guides as "a low island surrounded by spectacular white sand beaches and banks of coral." Well, that may be true, but it's not obvious based upon where you can anchor your boat. First off, it's about 80 miles from the BVIs. To get there you typically leave at around 4 PM and motor-sail over night to get there in the morning. I waited for a period with very light winds and motored all of the way with winds and waves right on the nose. Even though I slowed the boat down, I got there well before sunrise. Luckily the anchorage in Road Bay, which is where you clear into customs, is very large and it's easy to anchor.
The actual town of Road Bay doesn't contain much. There are a few restaurants, no dive shop (regardless of what the cruising guide says), and a chandlery. I don't think that Anguilla wants cruisers as they heavily restrict where you can anchor and if you chartered a boat you get assessed some very heavy fees.
There are two little islands that you can visit. Sandy Cay is a tiny little island about 5 miles from Road Bay. At one point there was a beach bar on it, but that was pretty well destroyed by a hurricane. It's almost all beach, and is a nice little place to visit for an afternoon.
By far my favorite is Prickly Pear Cay. The north side of the island has one of the most picturesque beaches that I've been on. It's just perfect and is surrounded by a large reef. Due to the reef you can only get very shallow draft boats inside the reef. As a result boats such as BlueJacket have to anchor on the north side and dinghy to the beach. Unfortunately you have to anchor over rock ledge where there's no real holding. As it turned out my anchor chain wrapped around a large rock and I had to dive on it to free it. At the same time I replaced some zinks on the prop shaft. I had a large Barracuda follow me around and he checked out everything that I was doing. He wasn't threatening at all. I think that he was just interested in what was going on.
Crocus bay is a much nicer anchorage than Road Bay. It has a very nice view of some cliffs to the east and you can walk up the road into town and visit some very nice art galleries and see some historic buildings.
For more photos, please visit my web site at http://www.geoffschultz.org/ .