Reluctantly, we had to say “au revoir” to St. Martin and sailed a short distance about 15 nm to Anguilla, British West Indies, (BVI). This is a jewel of an island with magnificent white sand beaches. The warm, friendly, gentle people made us feel as though we were guests in their homes. The sign on the customs office spoke for the whole island. It quietly said, “All Persons Must Be Tidy in Appearance.” That gentle reminder typifies the people of the whole island: quiet, friendly, reserved, and warm folks. The entire island was pristine and the pride of the locals was evident everywhere.
Anguilla, British West Indies is part of the British Commonwealth. In 1967, Britain included Anguilla, together with the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, and made them an autonomous state. Anguilla did not want this arrangement and wanted to remain a part of Britain. They rebelled against the rule of St. Kitts and invaded St. Kitts with a boat load of men and two American mercenaries. The invasion was a big fiasco. In 1969, Britain, under the mistaken impression the island was under attack sent paratroopers and armed men who waded ashore on to the beaches only to be met by goats and curious small boys. After the embarrassment died down, Anguillans got what they wanted and were once again administered by the British. This was the basis for the film, “The Mouse that Roared.” This seemed all the more incredible to us after visiting this very peaceful and tranquil island.
There are several good anchorages around the island. The two I remember most are Road Bay where we anchored up on the north side and Rendezvous Bay on the south end of the island. We did not visit the south anchorage.
One of the most enjoyable, as well as informative pastimes we enjoyed, was talking with the local people on each island we visited. Here we met a very fine gentleman, Bertram Richardson. He told us that he had been trying, unsuccessfully, to locate a boat he saw in “SOUNDINGS,” a newspaper devoted to boating. It was called a “Stonington Pull” boat. He wanted to buy six of them and modify them into racing sailboats. Boat racing was the number one sport in Anguilla among the locals at that time.
My husband thought that maybe he could be of help. We contacted a sailing friend of ours from Stonington, Ct. and sent a letter of inquiry from Mr. Richardson. Mr. Richardson had been carrying the picture and ad from Soundings for three years in hope of finding his dream boats. We made the inquiry for him, but we never did find out if he was successful in his quest.
Once again, this small friendly island hit close to our home in Connecticut. While having lunch here on Anguilla, we started talking to another couple next to us and learned that she was very familiar with the town where we lived. We talked for a while and learned that her father was buried in Umpawag Cemetery in the small town of Redding, Ct., our home at the time. “Small island-Small world.”
So far we had traveled 3,164 nm. Half of this, I’m sure, was up one side of a wave and down the other on our continuing passage to windward. We were always looking forward to each new island, new people, new foods to try, new vistas to see, new experiences and reconnecting with old friends who were still underway as we were. So far, no two islands were the same even though they may have been only 15 miles away. Please, try to dress modestly, especially, in small island towns. People are modest, very conservative and many are poor. Save your jewelry for special occasions. Better yet, leave it all at home in a safe and just wear modest amounts of native jewelry or costume jewelry.
Frances is a Commodore of the Seven Seas Cruising Association and a member of Sailing Association of Marco Island and AP United States Power Squadron.