25 May 2007 | Road Bay, Anguilla
Hideko and I got up at 4AM to get the boat ready for what we hoped would be the last of the big bashes eastward. As far as the BVI is concerned the wind blows from Saint Martin. Our course was about 120 and that's where the wind was predicted for the foreseeable future. We decided to make for Road Bay Anguilla, just to the north of Saint Martin to try to get a little better angle on things and also to see Anguilla. Our friends Erica and Jeff had just spent their honeymoon on Saint Martin and Anguilla and they were very complimentary of Anguilla.
After prepping the boat we fired up the diesels in an amazingly flat pre dawn calm. Our friends Fred and Cindy were getting underway in the slip next to us aboard Kelp Fiction. They had been working as Dive Instructors in the BVI and had decided to head south with us. It would be nice to travel with friends again. Cindy's sister had come to visit them in the BVI and ended up getting kidnapped for a cruise south through the Caribbean. The five of us and Roq set off almost silently sending ripples through the glassy water.
We motored out the well marked north entrance to Virgin Gorda's North Sound as light came into the sky. I had tried to talk everyone into spending our last night at Saba Rock and taking off through the cut in Eustatia Sound. This is a reasonable but narrow cut in a fairly large and shallow reef. Fred was not having any of it, especially in the pre dawn. Perhaps the wise choice, but I do want to go back there and try that pass with good light.
Once north of the last marker outside of the sound we headed due east through the Necker Island Passage. We had about 10 knots of wind from the southeast so we put the main up and motor sailed. As soon as the boat was settled in Hideko put her lines out. Shortly there after she hooked something. It had some serious fight in it and gave her some trouble. When she got it to the boat we had no idea what it was. "Quick get the fish card!" I got the fish card and we made our best guess, a large Horse Eye Jack. Not the best eating so back he went. Twenty minutes later she hit again, and this time it was dinner. A perfect Mahi Mahi sized just right for 5 (no fish for Roq, he likes it but it does bad things to him, or should I say us). We pulled the other line in having caught what we needed to eat.
The passage was an enjoyable motor sail with no big surprises. The wind blew between 10 and 15 knots right from where we were going mostly but we hummed along at 8 to 9 knots, depending on the wind direction, running the engines at about 2K. We had looked for a better window but the best thing we could come up with without waiting for the underworld to freeze over was light wind from 120 degrees. The swell was a good six feet but long duration and there were no waves to speak of.
Around 10AM some dolphins came to join us. We asked them where the whales were but apparently that insulted them because they left immediately after we asked. As we neared Anguilla we sighted Dog Island. The out islands around Anguilla look very beautiful though we didn't stop at any. You can stay as long as you like in Road Harbor with little expense but if you want to cruise Anguilla you must buy a cruising permit which is a bit more than free. Given more time I would have cruised around Anguilla, it is a very pretty area with great food. Unfortunately it was time for us to head south.
Shortly after sighting land we also sighted some fairly ominous looking black clouds coming from Saint Martin. We were close enough to Anguilla that dodging the squally mess wasn't really an option. We stayed the course and hunkered down. I had a reef in the main since we weren't really sailing much and as long as things stay south of 30 knots that works just fine.
The first bunch of darkness just brushed us. We saw a bit of rain but not enough to clean the decks off. We looked behind us and figured Fred and Cindy would not be so lucky. I radioed them and let them know that some dark clouds were headed their way. The next set came close to us and we got about 20 to 25 knots for a short period and quite a bit more H2O. It was all passing south of us as we neared Road Bay though.
Road Bay is a big beautiful anchorage. There's a huge area to anchor in 15 feet of water with no obstructions on the way in. The little town there is pretty basic and the Anguillans don't keep their beach incredibly clean but it is still a beautiful spot and a great place to be anchored.
Once we had the anchor well down I broke out the hammock. Hideko had purchased a Brazilian Hammock in Florida before we left and we had never tried it. It is a perfect fit under the tramps and across the cockpit. There were some sprinkles threatening so I chose the cockpit. Fred and Cindy came into the anchorage before long, and had only been a little more ruffled up than us by the squally bits.
I took a swim to check the anchor and cool off. The bay is very open and the water was lovely. After getting Kelp Fiction situated, Fred, Cindy and Jill came over to Swingin' on a Star and we enjoyed a great dinner of Mahi Mahi frilled with garlic butter. Not a bad day.