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Sailing St. Martin: Anguilla

anguilla road bayContinuing the story of ASA’s 2012 St. Martin flotilla.


After two nights in Gustavia, St. Barths, it was time to up-anchor and head for the British island of Anguilla. It was a marathon sail, 26 miles with several tacks and gybes onto different points of sail. Great practice for all of us, especially the three people on my boat getting their ASA 104 certifications! We had excellent sailing conditions throughout the trip, with consistent winds of 10-15 knots.

After a day of sailing we reached Road Bay, Anguilla, and it could not have been a sharper contrast from our previous stops. Anguilla is a flat, coral island, as opposed to the towering volcanic geography of St. Martin and St. Barths. It is also much more undeveloped and less frequented by tourists. For example, in Road Bay the roosters crow at daybreak. And at lunchtime. And during happy hour. And at midnight. The roosters crow literally ALL the time. It leaves you with no choice but to go out on deck and listen to them, admiring the numberless stars while Captain Bob explains the mysterious 13th sign of the Zodiac. Rough life, huh?

Up until the 1980s, Anguilla’s economy was based primarily on picking salt crystals out of a large pond and selling them. Then, as in St. Barths, it was “discovered,” and resort hotels now dot the coastline. However, Anguilla retains much of its undisturbed past and, despite its reputation for being finicky about visitors, we found it a very welcoming and friendly place.
book delivery
The first night was spent in Road Bay, and we had a particularly special reason for being there. ASA had partnered with Hands Across the Sea, a charitable organization that donates books to underserved schools in the Caribbean, and we had a load of several hundred books with us. Around mid-morning we were met by Michael, a teacher at Adrian T. Hazell Primary School, who told us about the school and accepted our donation. It was a great feeling to be using our vacation as a chance to do a good turn for the people whose home we were visiting. (For more info on Hands Across the Sea, visit their website.)

From Road Bay, it was just a 20-minute jaunt to the next bay over. Crocus Bay is peaceful and mostly empty, with just a single restaurant on the beach–but what a restaurant! It’s called Da Vida, and everything about it is first class. The food, a mix of fine French cuisine and local Creole flavors, is truly remarkable. And the house band, a piano player and a woman with a gorgeous mezzo-soprano voice, had the whole place enraptured.
watching the waves
Our next sail was around the west side of Anguilla, squeezing through the gap between Anguilla and Scrub Island, and then southeast toward St. Martin. The highlight of this passage (and perhaps the entire trip) was the pair of whales, whose spouts we at first mistook for breakers, that swam right beside our boat. To see these gigantic creatures so close was astonishing–no photograph, video, or description could do them justice. They moved too fast for anyone to get a picture, anyway, but it was an experience we won’t soon forget.


To learn more about ASA’s flotillas, click here!