24 November 2014

Once More Unto the Beach, Dear Friends

Morning rainbow (double!) on Barnes Bay  
As usual, I woke up early on our first morning on Anguilla.  DH was still slumbering peacefully and The Kid looked dead to the world.

Therefore, my mission was to head out to Geraud's to pick up breakfast and bring it back to Caribella. Anybody who has visited Geraud's, only to discover that her favorite pastries have sold out, knows how important it is to arrive early!   I got there around 6:30 am and had my pick of pastries, but I took a moment to check out the new items that they're carrying, such as cookies and pies and brownies. 

Coconut cream pie AND rum baba in one case?
My personal idea of heaven.

Back at Caribella, DH was awake and reading on the porch, so we sipped our coffees and enjoyed the beauty of the day while waiting for Ava to join us.  The light was really gorgeous, so I made a quick video, too.  

I just love this photo.  For multiple reasons.

Before long, Ava wanted to go down to the beach.  The loves to skip rocks, and she entertained herself for hours over the course of our vacation doing just that.  Sorry, all you folks visiting Barnes Bay in the upcoming weeks.  We located and promptly skipped every possible piece of flattened rock or coral in the vicinity, even some roof tiles that must have blown loose in the last storm. We walked up and down the length of Barnes, from our swimming cove to Viceroy and back to our place, astonished over the changed landscape. We were rewarded for our efforts with some beautiful rainbows.

If you look carefully, you can see one of our skipping stones in action 
Large swathes of the beach were perfect for shelling

Even better than a pot o' gold
Eventually we went back inside to pack our beach bags. Our destination for the day: Rendezvous Bay, with a short stop first at Limin' Boutique to lighten our purses. Ken and Renée very warmly welcomed us back and were great involving Ava in the conversation, too.  I made some photos and we all made a purchase or two, and then Renée charmed and surprised us by inviting Ava to choose one of their goat milk soaps as a birthday present.  Those are some mighty fine folks at Limin', I must say.

These tea towels are new and I was sorely tempted
 to buy one. But I went with a necklace instead.
And so onward to Rendezvous, once more unto the breach beach.  We optimistically tried accessing The Place via the regular entrance, which was still flooded (about which, more anon), so we went the long way 'round and entered via the Rendezvous Road near Blowing Point. I had never seen this place before, but I bet it was a great place to stay, back in the day.  

Dave and Mo welcomed us back enthusiastically, thus demonstrating to Ava even more reasons why we love Anguilla.  We were only the second group of people to arrive, so the three of us settled in on one of the couches and read for a while until it was time for lunch.  (Well, Ava read for a while and then set up shop as the resident Stone Skipper for an hour.)

Before we went up for lunch, we had a lovely surprise: Daffy and Mr Daffy from one of the Anguilla travel forums stopped by and introduced themselves.  I was hoping that our paths would cross, and we passed the time discussing, naturally, our mutual love for Anguilla.  Since Daffy was one of the first handful of people who helped me decide to visit Anguilla in the first place, it was a true honor. They couldn't stay long, as it was their last full day on the island and had plans to be at Shoal Bay, but it was great to see them for a little while.  

The totally shabby view from our lunch table

After that, we walked up to the restaurant portion for lunch, where we shared the coconut shrimp as an appetizer and ordered the calamari, the spring rolls, and the mahi mahi sandwich for our meals.  Some Tings and a bottled water rounded everything off nicely, but I have no photos of food to share. Mostly because we hoovered all of it into our mouths almost immediately.

During lunch, I got up to make a phone call to Anguilla Watersports to rent a couple of stand-up paddleboards, as Carrie from Veya had recommended them to me. They will deliver the paddleboards anywhere on the island for you, and you can find their advertised rates on their website.  We arranged for them to meet us at The Place at 1:30, but that time came and went.  Around 2:00, a very handsome young man named Miguel walked up to us and explained that he had been down by the Anguilla Great House waiting for us since he couldn't get past the flooded salt pond. Mishap #1.

Miscommunication, it turns out.  Miguel has only been on the island for one month, and he didn't know that there was a different way to access The Place. No problem, we said, and we walked down the beach with him to get the paddleboards and our brief introduction in how to use them. Then comes Mishap #2: there's only one working paddle.  Miguel is terribly apologetic, but again, no worries on our part.  He says he can leave and return with another paddle in 20 minutes, and he's as good as his word.  What's more, to compensate for the hassle, he offers to give us an extra hour with our boards.  It's obviously great when everything goes perfectly from the start, but I've always said that a true measure of any business is how they handle a situation when things go wrong, so I was very pleased with the outcome despite the hiccups. 
Ava, triumphant
Ava is quite an athlete, so I figured she'd have no problem learning how to do this whole stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) thing.  I was less sure of how I would take to it, but I gave it the ol' college try.  To my surprise, it took Ava quite a few tries to find her balance, but in the end she was handling her board well. Me, on the other hand?  Well, I was able to get the SU part okay, but not the P.  Every time I tried to paddle from a standing position, I lost my balance and dropped to my knees.  Because do you know how hard it is to get back ON the paddleboard from the water?  Pretty darn hard.  But going from kneeling to standing and back again was easy enough. So I'm pretty much the queen of kneel-down paddleboarding (KDP.  It's a new sport. Look it up.)

We wanted to take our boards down closer to The Place, where the water was calmer and not having to paddle into the wind so much, so we swam our boards down there instead.  Once we were there, it was much easier to stay upright.  I still couldn't paddle from a standing position, but that's okay.  I converted my board to a kayak and became the reigning queen of Sit Down Paddleboarding (SDP), which is even easier than KDP.

At 4:30, it was time for us to settle up and pay the bill because The Place was hosting a private party that night.  That was fine, as Ava was exhausted from her time in the sun and I didn't mind heading home to shower off and enjoy a sunset cocktail. Ava promptly fell asleep after her shower, so we woke her up about 5 minutes before heading off to what would be her favorite dinner of the trip: Dolce Vita.

Après sunset at Caribella
Until our first trip to Dolce Vita in 2013, DH and I never would have thought we'd love eating Italian food in the Caribbean.  Don't get me wrong -- I love Italian food, but it always has seemed a tad heavy for eating in the tropics. Ava, on the other hand, practically worships pasta, so we knew from the start that we'd take her there for dinner.  Little did we know that it would be a life changing experience for her...

Because I was too tired on my *actual* birthday to do much celebrating drinking, I declared Saturday night to be my birthday instead.  I love the mojitos at Dolce Vita -- so much fresh mint, so much lime juice, so much perfection -- and began briskly consuming them.  That explains why I only have pictures of our food and not of the restaurant or of us. The bread (which they get from Le Bon Pain in Island Harbour) is excellent, as is the accompanying olive oil & balsamico. 

We started off with salads.  DH and I split the arugula & pear salad with bleu cheese, as usual, while Ava enjoyed her full size Caesar:

Ava already loves lasagna, so she needed no encouragement to order it once she heard it was a Dolce Vita specialty.  DH did the same, while I opted for the shrimp fra diavolo.  We all loved our selections, and Ava made us look good by polishing off not only her entire entrée, but finishing the last third of DH's lasagna and my pasta.  SUP (or KDP, or SDP) can make for a mighty appetite.  

The famous lasagna
My shrimp fra diavolo
The best thing, hands, down, was listening to Ava's continuous rhapsodies over her lasagna. "This must be what doing drugs feels like" and "This is my heaven," and my favorite, "If I were to die after eating this, I'd be okay with that." 

Yeah, it was a pretty excellent evening. For once, we were too stuffed for dessert, and to be honest, none of them really appealed to me anyway. (It was all very chocolate-heavy.)  Abbi stopped by to wish us a happy birthday and to extend a special welcome to Ava.  He's always been so very gracious, every time we're there.  

After dinner, we popped into the little gift shop next door, since I'd never been in there before.  Bijoux, I think the name is?  It always looks so glamorous from the outside, but neither Ava nor I was drawn to their offerings.  But still, it's pretty on the outside and I'm a sucker for colored light. 

Stay tuned for another terrible day at the beach, with no fun and no good food...


  1. Your pictures are always amazing! If ever I need reminding just how beautiful Anguilla is it is shown, so beautifully, in your photos.
    Lasagnaaah at Dolce Vitaaaaah! Yes, yes, yes! Young Ava is a discerning diner. To some it might be "just lasagna" but, to those of us who know, it is LASAGNA!!

    Looking forward to the next bit. And I hope you'll post your holiday reading too. I need the icing on the cake!

    1. Awww, thanks. this trip I only had my phone camera to use, as I took pity on DH and didn't make him bring his nice camera.

      I'll be sure to tell Ava what you mentioned re: her discernment. I'm *quite* sure that she's in full agreement!

  2. What a fantastic and well-deserved vacation! I've always wanted to taste Rum Baba, and I have yet to try paddleboarding. I'll have to sit down for that, none of the standing or yoga poses I see graceful ladies doing... I'm far to clumsy for that! Glad that you enjoyed yourself :)

    1. Those yoga poses on the paddleboards? Oy -- now that I have a small idea of what it takes to just balance on those things, I'm *mightily* impressed with those who can do yoga on them!

  3. Do you have ANY IDEA how much of my life is dedicated to trying to see rainbows? And then you just have a superfluity of them!

    But for serious that sounds like an awesome vacation and I'm glad you got to gooo. :D Especially as it is just now starting to be super-cold, so you shall at least have memories of it...not being that way.

    1. Ummm, no. I had no idea that you dedicated any part of your life trying to see rainbows. Obviously I am a very bad friend. Yeah, we saw a bunch of them on this trip. Even from the airplane.

  4. Emily, I have written two long posts that have gone bye bye! So I will just say thanks! Ellen

    1. Ooh, Ellen. Sorry about that. Blogger sometimes eats comments, but thanks for trying!

  5. That looks like a great trip. Beautiful pictures!

  6. I am SO THERE with you. Does Ava know you took that photo???


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