As some of my readers know (“my readers” -- not that there are many of you left, so if you’re reading this, thank you), 2015 was a difficult year, personally speaking. While 2016 held many improvements, blogging regularly was not one of them, so it’s a little difficult to break back into the game at this late state. But after being two years absent from my favorite spot on earth, I returned to Anguilla earlier this month, and what’s more, I was traveling with my new beau, whom I wanted to fall in love with the island, too. So I’m hoping that my two loves combined might give me a little extra oomph to get back in the blogging game before 2016 expires.
And so I bought my ticket with frequent miles and in early November, we made the 12-hour journey from home to my home-away-from-home. For the first time ever, I made the transfer on the public ferry. We took a taxi from the airport to Marigot, which was around $20, plus tip, and we bought our tickets on the public ferry. We waited around about 25 minutes and before long, we headed out for Anguilla. There were about 30 of us on board, and with the rain falling, we relied on the many small rotating fans to make the journey more comfortable -- including the rickety one that creaked a scant inch or two over our heads and threatened to brain us with the crest & trough of every wave.
|Waiting in Marigot for our departure|
I had arranged with Ronnie Bryan to leave our car at Blowing Point for a small fee -- he rents a parking area less than one minute away from the ferry terminal exit, and he may be the only rental car guy on the island who can arrange a pick up point there. So we drove straight from Blowing Point to Villa Ella on Barnes Bay to let our vacation begin straight away. It was difficult to believe our good fortune getting to stay right on the beach like that. Barnes Bay has long been a favorite location of mine, but for this trip we wanted to find a place I hadn’t stayed before, and Villa Ella charmed me from the first time I saw it from the beach many years ago. I felt very lucky, indeed, to be able to call it home for the week.
We unpacked and hurriedly changed out of our cold-New-England-travel-clothes into something more beach appropriate to catch the last light of the day. It had been raining off and on since we arrived in Sint Maarten and there wasn’t much color or fanfare, but it was pretty special anyway -- marking my return to Anguilla after so long and sharing our first Anguillian sunset.
I was surprised to see a scattered bit of fiery color come through the storm clouds, but it felt fitting after our twelve hours of travel. The waves were crashing on Barnes Bay, there was significantly more exposed rock than I’d ever seen on that end of the beach and everything looked so different from my previous visits, yet I can’t begin to explain how thoroughly I felt at home there. If you have ever loved a place like that, a place that is neither of your birth nor of your people, then you will know exactly what I mean.
The villa owner and manager had kindly provided some bottled water and soda in the refrigerator upon our arrival, so as we were quite hungry from our long day on the road, we settled in to share the last of our protein bars and drink the libation. We’d debated the merits of leaving then to pick up some more provisions before dinner time, but we had an early reservation and were planning to go out for breakfast the next day, so we stayed at the villa to unpack and unwind before walking up the beach for our dinner at Mango’s.
|You can see the size of the waves in the background photo here|
Too tired and too full to stay for dessert, we headed back home up the beach, but not before checking in with Andrea to see what her schedule for the week was so that we could plan to run into her again. Mango’s accepts the Anguilla card, and Kim (one of the owners) was gracious enough to accept the digital version of it since our physical card hadn’t been delivered yet. She also kindly gave us two mini torches with the Mango’s insignia to light our way back to the villa without having to deplete my phone battery.
We stayed awake just long enough to put a plan together for the next day -- up for breakfast at Geraud’s, followed by a visit to The Place -- before succumbing to sleep. The a/c in the master bedroom worked very well, but if the room had a ceiling fan and/or had been better ventilated for breezes, we might have chosen to open the windows to fall asleep to the sounds of the surf instead. As it was, we slept through most of the night until a ginormous thunderstorm rolled through around 4:00 am, knocking the power out but compensating for that loss with a heavy rain that was wonderful to listen to before falling asleep again.
Coming up next: our first day on the island, plus the agony of choosing which pastry to order for breakfast...