Last call in BVI....Anegada.

Chelone's travels.....
John and Susie Blair.
Mon 18 Nov 2013 17:55
N18:43.26 W64:23.09

Everyone told us how beautiful Anegada is.....after the disappointment
experienced elsewhere in the BVI we had very high expectations!
We enjoyed a very pleasant sail 15 miles across to Anegada and set the
anchor with about a foot of water under Chelone's keel. We'd only a day and a half
here so we didn't hang about, Ross launched the dinghy and we were off
Oh wasn't looking good. Dirty, and with the now familiar garbage
everywhere you looked. Scrapped and decaying vehicles of all descriptions
right from the start. We hired a scooter and went exploring....the guide
book alluded to a "favourite destination for sailors from around the world" with
"fields of orchids" and a lake where one can 'Lagoon swim'.
We saw the pictures on the internet and in the guide looked beautiful.
Worse was to come, basically the whole island was the same....damaged by
the locals, the opposite of what we'd been told...'unspoilt'? It was like someone
had given one of the locals a Bulldozer and they'd run amok with it. We hardly
saw any area of land that hadn't been dug up or dumped on. The houses and
grounds of the locals were strewn with garbage and rotting vehicles, they
obviously didn't care a hoot for their island.
We saw the lagoon and Flamingo's could be seen in the distance but there's
no way you'd want to even dip your toe in the filthy water let alone swim in it.
On a brighter note.....!! We stopped at 'Loblolly Bay' and went for a little
snorkelling....Wow!! now this was something to behold! I'd even go so far as
to say that it was the best ever for me! The reef was just stunning and I saw
fish that I'd not seen before including the huge 'Frenchman's Anglefish' (pics)
a huge Barracuda, a tiny Turtle AND a Lemon Shark!!
The staff at the beachside bar warned us to take care in the water as there's
a strong rip current that drowns someone every year and you were certainly
aware of it at all times while swimming around inside the huge breaking seas
behind the reef.
The next morning we took the bike for another spin around and came across
more deriliction and dumping in the open countryside. The main town, 'The
Settlement' was, well just a handful of ugly buildings so nowt of interest.
Back at 'Setting Point' later in the afternoon and professional looking fishing
boats started arriving at the dock to weigh in their catch as there was a
Fishing Tournament currently being held and this was the final weigh in.
Lots of Wahoo and Kingfish, some Mahi Mahi and a few small Tuna were
hung on the scales amid a lot of excitement and booming reggae music.
Oh, I must mention....the Anegada mozzies were the worst I've
experienced anywhere on the planet, just unbelievable, I thought we were
gonna be eaten alive.
Ross and myself made some dinner, did a little reading then hit the sack
as we'd set the alarm for 01.30am to take advantage of the lovely wind
forecast that would hopefully mean some good sailing back to Sint
Maarten, 80 miles south.
All was calm when we fell asleep but I awoke at 01.00 to the sound of the
wind howling overhead.....yippee! Let's go!
Under the glow of a full moon we motored cautiosly out of the very shallow
anchorage through the well marked (and lit) reef fringed channel into open
water. Extreme caution must be excercised now as we were navigating
past countless reefs, coral heads and breaking seas as we made our way
over the top of Anegada and down her east shore to lay of a course south
east towards Sint Maarten.
We took turns on watch as Chelone sailed like a dream in 15-18knts of
wind from the north east....a close reach.
All was very straight forward until some hours after I'd set the fishing line
trolling we had a huge take with the reel screaming like crazy. I levitated
out of my bunk and grabbed the big knife from the galley and a camera
before joining Ross in the cockpit where he was frantically trying to arrest
the amount of line leaving the reel without having the line or rod snap.
I shut the autopilot down and swung Chelone's bow to about 30 degrees
off the line just in time as Ross shouted that there was hardly any of the
300 meters of line left on the spool!!
Rounding up meant Ross could frantically take up line......was it gone?! I saw a massive splash, oooh, it's something big! I took over
the winding after a while and Ross steered though it was some time
before we could see what it was we'd caught.....a Marlin!! bloody hell!!
Somehow, after a struggle, we managed to land it though it wa so big
there was no way either of us could lift it (turned out it weighed 130lb)
It would feed an army but there's only two of us so we kept it shaded
and as cool as we could by constant watering until we got to Sint
Maarten where we iced it down until morning.
It turned out that the flesh has to be smoked so we went with a local 
boat skipper in the morning who sold it to his restaurant friend and we
recieved a handsome loot though I think if ever I catch one again I'll
somehow try to disgorge the hook or cut the trace and release it.
So there you go....up's and downs of the last few days, we're very tired 
today despite a good sleep last night but we're glad to be back in SXM
Laundry to take ashore, propane, water, petrol to sort as well as some
groceries to get....and pay another visit to Maho Beach! maybe see a
Jumbo jet this this space!
Bye for now,  JB & R.