|Up until now, we had only been sailing a few hours a day and visiting mountainous, volcanic islands, but today our destination was Anegada, a small coral and limestone island where the highest point is only 28 feet above sea level (the height of the tallest tree). All the other islands, too, were easy to spot because of their high peaks, but Anagada can’t be seen until you are almost there. First it’s just a ripple on the horizon, then you can finally make out the tree tops, and as you get closer you begin to see the gorgeous, white sandy beaches. Because the island is surrounded by coral reefs, tricky currents, and shallow waters, it can be difficult getting into the bay. Gary was at the wheel with Don and Dan on the bow and Blanche and Dee on the sides, all watching for submerged coral heads while I watched the depth meter, calling out numbers to Gary. Remembering the warning from our charter rep about shallow waters, when our depth went below 10 feet, I started getting a little worried. Never taking my eyes off the meter and continuing to shout out depths to Gary as he cautiously maneuvered us through the channel, my heart raced faster and faster as the water got shallower and shallower. “Eight feet! “ “Seven foot nine!” “Seven five…four…three…six foot!” The lower the depth, the higher my voice. OMG! I prayed we didn’t hit bottom. Afraid to look at the others, I knew they were concerned, too, because gone was the light-hearted bantering that usually accompanied the mooring process. Stealing a quick glance to the port side, the turquoise waters revealed giant coral heads just inches from the side of the boat. Tense and anxious, I was surprised when the guys indicated we were tied off. I hadn’t even noticed that we were in the bay. The final water depth…5 foot 7 inches! The rum came out and the chatter began, everyone talking at once, excited about the experience. When asked about the discrepancy between the water depth and the keel length, Gary calmly told us he was never concerned…he knew there was an additional two feet between the depth meter and the bottom of the boat. Wish he would have told me! Of course we had to sail out the next day, but now we knew what to expect.
Because of the coral reefs and numerous wrecks off shore, Anegada is a fabulous place to snorkel. We went ashore and took a local bus to the west end where Dan, Blanche, and Don spent an hour or so exploring the ocean floor while Dee, Gary, and I kept a watchful eye from shore. Dan came back in with descriptions of the colorful fish, coral, and plant life he saw, going on and on about one fish in particular that had striped spiny things extruding off its body. It’s a shame we forgot the underwater camera! Of course we had to stop for drinks when we were finished, and it was while we were there that Dan picked up a card warning snorkelers about the poisonous Lionfish that could be in the area. It was the fish Dan saw! I am so glad he didn’t try to touch it!
This was one of the rare spots that we would eat dinner on shore, splurging and indulging in local Caribbean lobsters. We had a great time sitting on the beach, drinking rum punch, and soaking up the laid back ambience that is the Caribbean.
It was a beautiful day in paradise and a wonderful day for sailing. As we set our sights on Trellis Bay which is located on Beef Island, we anticipated the party on shore celebrating the full moon. By now we were experienced sailors (I guess that’s debatable) and it was easier to relax and enjoy the beautiful turquoise waters and Caribbean views. Unfortunately by the time we moored the sky clouded up and it began to rain, so we stayed on board and celebrated the full moon without actually seeing it. This was one of those days that the pictures will tell the story.