Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Mon 20 Apr 2015 00:45
We shall have spent 4 nights here at anchor and really weren't that sure about the island when we first arrived partly because the bay which had been sold as one of the most beautiful bays it didn't look that beautiful - but it was grey and we did have rain but it just didn't appeal. However we have found that each time we've left somewhere we really liked and enjoyed it then takes a while to get accustomed to the new place and this is exactly what happened here.

Anguilla is a low coral island covered in scrub with some lovely long white sandy beaches both on the north and south coast but there is a lot of development too along these - some of it more pleasing than others. The bay we are on has a nice curved sandy beach with little holiday ev elopement but with the usual bars and restaurants along it plus a number of wrecked ships. As you walk along its interesting how on a lot of the beaches out here you not only have the gentle lapping of waves but cockerels crowing, dogs barking, locals speaking or arguing loudly and the usual music plus tourists though not that many and for the first time we have had sea birds making a racket first thing in the morning. Behind this beach and a street of a few houses and a road there is a large salt lake which is home to a lot of wading birds.

We decided to hire a car for 24 hours and explore the island. We visited some of the beaches on the island either having a walk or swim. Drove down several bumpy tracks through scrubland ( the maps not altogether clear ) to find a beach. Along these in the scrub there were quite a few isolated unfinished properties. We also went to The Heritage Museum which had an eclectic mix of objects, some interesting pictures and stories about its various history also pistols and a rifle plus bullets just lying on a table in the room about the revolution. Anguilla It turns out was lumped in with St Kitts and Nevis and made an autonomous state by the British Government in 1967 and then conveniently filed away for the British Colonial Office. It would seem that neither the social or geographical reality of doing this had really been thought through. The Anguillans wanted to remain with England and rebelled against St Kitts rule who weren't really interested in this remote island. The local police station run by men from St Kitts was fired on by locals and then fearing an invasion from St Kitts invaded St Kitts itself with some American mercenaries. After that St Kitts decided not to mess with Anguilla . Apparently then some Americans thought up fancy ideas to finance the island and for some reason Britain thought it had been taken over by the Mafia and invaded the island and the bay in Road Town where we are anchored is where the British Navy landed troops in 1969 to only find bemused locals, goats and a pretty desolate place. So Anguilaa is a British Protectorate but although a restaurant we went to on the beach last night was run by a couple from Berkshire one gets the feeling that the island is frequented by Americans and although the currency is Eastern Caribbean Dollars if you pay in this currency you get change in Dollars and some bills are in American Dollars. Obviously tourism is being plugged and it certainly has some lovely beaches but the place just didn't buzz for us.

Apart from scrubland scattered all over the island are salt ponds with some different bird life. The salt industry was obviously a major export in the past up until 1986. In the past there has been small mount of sugarcane, tobacco and cotton industry with some slave labour but obviously the island because of its geology has struggled to grow anything succesfully. There is a water shortage here too.

On our second night after an afternoons drive we had a good Mexican meal at Elvises Bar at one end of the beach. More excellent rum punches and good food and a very attentive Elvis. He's created his bar out of an old boat. We've all had several walks along the beach, swims to and from the boat, more turtle watching and today raised the anchor and sailed out to some of the outer islands. Anguilla has been quite restrictive as there are only two anchorages close to one another where you can stay overnight and even one of these you have to have a cruising permit. You can only visit the various islands or Cays off shore within the marine park for the day so first thing this morning David went ashore to get one of these and also to sign us out as we shall be leaving very early in the morning for a longish downwind sail to the BVI .

We tried to visit Sandy Island but couldn't get in for the swell so then went further afield to Prickly Island this time picked up a buoy but Dan and David took the dinghy to go through the channel to get to the beach and came back and said it was no go again because of the swell. So we sat on the boat had cheesy baked beans for lunch and then turned round and motored back to the mainland visiting one of the allowed bays. Again we managed to pick up a buoy and took the dinghy into the beach and did what we call a Hawaiian landing - children holding on and 4 adults leap out as the dinghy heads in on the swell. Today successful as no one ended up in the water upside down but not always the case. Once on the beach we all had fun swimming and playing on the beach in a small cove - quite dramatic colourful cliffs around and the only way in is either by boat or a rope down the cliff which we saw some other people do. Lots of Pelicans and Tropic Birds around.

After this we came back to Road Bay and anchored and prepared the boat for tomorrow's early start for a downwind sail to Virgin Gorda in the BVI. As Alex's birthday tomorrow too the children helped me mix a birthday cake - which did become rather a messy sticky affair but job done.

So only one week left on the boat but then we all have sometime in the BVI before heading home.