All good things must come to an end
29.04.2010 - 05.05.2010
SUNDAY: SILLY SCILLY CAY, HOME OF THE $75 LOBSTER
I had read about a tiny spit of land inside Anguilla’s Island Harbor. I read that you simply showed up on the beach and waved and someone would come over on a boat and take you to Scilly Cay, where the one tiny restaurant cranked out a delicious grilled lobster and the best rum punches with no electricity.
I just had to go. Just the name was enough to reel me in, pronounced “Silly” Cay.
We headed that way, stopping first to take a peek around Sandy Ground.
We knew we were in Island Harbor when we saw the blue shutters of St. Andrews.
Island Harbor was a rustic fishing village with a wide sweeping beach dotted with colorful wooden boats and a long pier stacked with lobster traps.
I could see Scilly Cay just off the beach, it’s conch shell walls and thatched roof huts waving at us to “Come on Over….” We stood on the pier and, like magic, the boat arrived.
My mouth was watering just thinking of the legendary lobster of Scilly Cay. I could smell the grill as we motored our way over.
When we arrived, we made our way to the tiny restaurant. I knew it took a while to get your order, so I figured we’d go ahead. “I’m sorry,” the woman said apologetically, “We have no lobster today.”
A lobster restaurant with no lobster? This was becoming a theme, and thanks to all the rum punch, it was a funny one. When I looked down at her handwritten menu that said, “Lobster….$75” I have to admit that I was sort of glad there wasn’t any lobster. We decided to try 2 of Eudoxie’s famous rum punches, enjoy the sun, and head back to find lobster somewhere else for lunch.
We had planned to stay on Scilly Cay for the live music they had on Sunday, so now we needed a quick plan B. One rum punch later, Plan B was born: Gwen’s Sunday Reggae on Shoal Bay East!
Now, I have to tell you that one rum punch at Scilly Cay is like 4 rum punches anywhere else. Combined with my empty belly thanks to the great lobster famine of Scilly Cay, I was a buzzing like a 1965 Frigidaire on the front porch of a doublewide. I needed food, and I needed it fast.
I had my heart set on lobster at this point, and nothing else was going to do. Gwen’s had lobster, so that seemed like a winner to me. We got to Gwen’s and guess what….no lobster. Oh dear god, no! The lobster famine had hit Gwen’s too! I told Matt we’d just walk down Shoal Bay to the other restaurants.
Uncle Ernies…..no lobster. We went next door to Mederiman’s. No lobster. What was going on here? It was like a conspiracy. “No lobster for you!” I had to find a lobster! I was growing weak with panic. We continued down the beach and I saw an oasis shimmering in the distant heat induced haze. A happy little bright blue building sat behind a seagrape tree. “Come,” it whispered, “I have lobster for you.” Eudoxie’s rum punch and lobster starvation had reduced me to hallucinations.
“That place isn’t open,” Matt said as I trudged on grimly. I ignored him. Couldn’t he hear it? “Come,” it whispered, “Come….”
“It’s NOT OPEN…..” he said, exasperated, tired of my endless rant down the beach in search of the elusive lobster, “Let’s just go get some ribs or a hot dog.”
“It’s open,” I said. “I know it. I can feel it.” The lobster was calling to me.
It sure looked closed. No one was inside. The chairs were all leaned in against the tables, the way they do when a place is closed.
And then I saw her.
Like an angel.
A lobster angel.
“Are you here for lunch?” she asked sweetly as she sauntered easily out of the kitchen.
“Yes,” I said. “Do you have any lobster?” I asked, hesitantly, beseechingly, pathetically.
“Yes,” she said, “Yes we do.”
HALLELUJAH!!!! I’m pretty sure I heard a chorus of cherubs singing as I ordered.
A frosty mango daiquiri later, we were seated inside the cool and breezy Tropical Sunsets waiting for my grilled lobster and Matt’s BBQ ribs. The lobster and the grilled BBQ had quickly become our favorite foods and after a visit to Tropical Sunsets, the mango daiquiri became our favorite Anguilla drink.
I couldn’t believe we were the only people inside as we sat, eating wonderful food, entranced by the beautiful views just steps from our table. The lobster was perfect, drenched in lots of butter and covered with garlic and parsley. The ribs were tender and meaty, falling off the bones.
Like everything else had been on Anguilla so far, it was secluded, it was peaceful, it was delicious, it was perfect.
We waddled back down to Gwen’s, where the reggae band was in full swing. We set our chairs at the water’s edge, grabbed some drinks, and kicked back.
The music, the view, and the drinks were so good, we couldn’t drag ourselves away. By the time we did, the sun was starting to dip low in the afternoon sky. We decided to grab a pizza at the Corner Bar in North Hill, not far from the villa. After all the lobster and fish and bbq, my mouth needed a change. I heard that the Flemings used a family recipe and pressed their dough thin and crispy if asked, topping it with the freshest ingredients.
We found it easily enough and placed our order, sitting at the bar watching the locals come in and out with for their pizzas. It was a lively place and it was fun to sit back and listen to everyone talk for a while. The smells from the pizza oven were making me crazy and finally, they brought our box out. A large pepperoni, mushroom, and olive pizza for $20. From the way it smelled, I’d have paid $100!
We took the pizza to the villa, grabbed a couple of cokes, and popped in a movie.
I could have almost imagined I was at home, if not for the sound of the crashing waves outside and the smell of salt on the air.
MONDAY: THE WILD, WILD ........EAST?
On Monday we decided to explore the east end. Matt loves the force of wildly crashing waves and rough seas, so I knew he’d like to venture out to Windward Point, the far eastern tip of the island. On the way, we took a side road to what is sometimes called "the most remote beach on Anguilla." There, at the end of a long, sandy lane was Dropsey Bay. Just a speck of sand, some beautiful rock formations, and a gorgeous blue lagoon....it was a desert island beach if I'd ever seen one. We were tempted to just stop right there and stay the day, but instead, we enjoyed it for a few beautiful moments and then headed east.
As we drove our little rental car through a maze of sandy tracks that I couldn’t believe someone had actually put on a map as roads, passing donkeys, and goats and not much else, we finally reached the “end of the road.”
We parked the car and walked down to Windward Point Bay.
It took my breath. The beach was expansive, huge. The waves broke fiercely out from the bay, but the interior was a protected tidal pool.
As we walked around the bay, we saw that the beach was littered with tons of sponges, sea fans, and shells. It was like finding God’s treasure chest.
The waves pounded, sending their spray high into the air. It was exhilarating.
When I saw Matt looking at the hill that was waaaaaaaaaaay out on the eastern tip, I knew he was going to make me climb up there. Of course he was. We had on flip flops. We had no water. It was at least 192 degrees out there. There were cacti everywhere. We had no sunscreen. Why not walk up there? Sure. Let’s do it.
We did it.
Really, I am exaggerating. It was a very quick and easy walk and the views were worth every step. When we reached the top of Windward Point, you could take in the 360 degree view with Scrub Island to the east and the rest of Anguilla to the west. It was breathtaking.
After all that walking, I was in desperate need of something cool. We make the quick drive back to Savannah Bay and parked at Nat’s Place, aka Palm Grove at Junk’s Hole. We saw the little green and red building with the sign that proclaimed, “Where Happiness Awaits You.”
In Vicki-Speak, that means they have lobster.
We went inside and Nat himself was taking orders. We ordered 2 lobsters, a full rack of ribs, fries, and Johnny Cakes. Oh, and 2 rum punches.
I decided that Nat’s rum punch was my favorite. Sweet and strong, it knocked me on my tookus in no time.
Knowing it would take a while for the food to be prepared, we set up on the beach and guess what…..once again….we were alone on the beach. It was crazy. It was like having an island all to ourselves. Unless you count the donkey.
We set up our chairs and umbrellas and dipped into the cool, sweet water of Savannah Bay for a long, luxurious soak. Then we napped in our chairs to the soft sounds of reggae as Nat grilled up some delicious food.
Fuor Rhuuum PUchnes later………(I told you they were good, didn’t I?)…..It was time to eat!
When Nat brought our tray out, he looked at us and said, “All this is just for the two of you?”
There was nothing left but the bones. I probably would have eaten them too if I could have figured out how.
In addition to his rum punch being my fave, Nat’s lobster was also my favorite of the trip. It was juicy grilled and slightly spicy with curry. Succulent.
We spent the rest of the afternoon soaking in the sun and swimming in the waters of Savannah Bay. It was late by the time we dragged ourselves away. We stopped in at Elvis’ in Sandy Ground, but it was Anguillan Labor Day, so it was closed.
Wanting a cold drink, we headed on over to the bar at Ku on Shoal Bay East before heading back to the villa.
Myra introduced herself and hooked us up with 2 of Myra’s Mango Bailey’s Bonanzas. Now, if you had asked me if I thought a frozen drink with both Mango and Bailey’s in it would be good, I would have said, “Never.”
It was phenomenal. Just what we needed to cool our parched throats.
Matt was sun drained and rum punched by the time we got back to the villa and lay down for a quick nap. By the time he woke up, we had missed dinner time and decided to open the bottle of wine and have some cheese and crackers and smoked salmon dip with French bread. I cut up a fresh pineapple and we ate outside by the ocean, our night lit by the gentle glow of a lantern and the giant moon.
TUESDAY: DECADENT, DELICIOUS, DELIGHTFUL…..DA’VIDA
It was our last day and we wanted to spend it in luxury. Da’Vida.
We headed toward Crocus Bay, but first took a short detour to Limestone Bay. A tiny pocket of a beach with one beautiful tree, Limestone Bay almost stole us for the day, but the lure of Da’Vida was calling.
We stepped out onto Crocus Bay and again, not a soul on the beach. For hours, we were alone. Well after lunch, a few people trickled in and parked on the far end of the beach, opposite us. I couldn’t believe the luck we’d had all week with utter seclusion on every beach.
Da’Vida is a day in heaven. The beach is a slender curve of soft sand with a great, big tamarind tree on one end and nothing on the other. In the middle is Da’Vida, a wonderful open air restaurant with a casual beach bar next to it.
They have giant, white lounges with billowing white umbrellas set up along the beach for your use. You can relax, eat, and drink all day in utter luxury and pristine seclusion.
We chose two big, fat, comfy chairs, turned on the tunes, and let it soak in. Every so often, the bartender would bring us a frosty drink and make sure we didn’t need anything. We didn’t. Seriously, what more could you need?
The water’s edge at Crocus Bay was littered with piles of smooth round stones, bits of coral, and elusive pieces of sea glass. I could have spent hours wandering along the beach looking for sand worn pieces of glass, like the sea’s treasure hidden just for me to find.
When I was sure I had found it all, we looked over the restaurant and beach grill menus to see which one we preferred.
We opted for the restaurant. The interior was elegant and opulent. Sofas strewn with brightly colored pillows, rich wooden furnishings, and bowls of flowers adorned the space. The entire dining area was open to the beach, and the view was to die for.
The waitress brought more drinks and a savory soup that was compliments of the chef. We ordered the lobster and an angus cheeseburger. Do you know what happens when you combine a grilled lobster with a cheeseburger and fries? You get Vicki’s Perfect Lunch.
To work off all that food, we rented a kayak ($10 for an hour) and made our way over to Little Bay. We almost stopped too soon, seeing a little patch of sand.
“Is that it?” I asked. “That isn’t very pretty….”
We headed on thinking maybe there was something better ahead, and there was.
Little Bay is just that, a little bay carved into high cliffs, a perfect little crescent of soft white sand with the calmest blue waters tickling the edge. I saw the rope dangling from the top of the cliff, about 100 feet up and had to climb it. We both did.
FYI: A bikini is not optimal rock climbing gear, in case you ever need to know.
100 feet and one rockburn later, we had a beautiful view looking down at Little Bay. We made our way back down and spent the next 30 minutes soaking in that clear, cool water, all alone. It was glorious.
When we’d had enough, we paddled our kayak back to Crocus Bay and called it a day.
A very perfect day.
Hoping to find some music, we headed to the Pumphouse in Sandy Ground for dinner. There was no music, but the doors were open and the bar was serving. We ordered some drinks, some HOT wings, a giant platter of nachos with chili, and a bacon jalepeno bbq burger.
After dinner, we thought we’d try to find that live music that had been evading us, so we checked every place in Sandy Ground. Johnnos….no. Elvis’s…..no. We even drove all the way to Dune Preserve, prepared to brave another terrible margarita if it came with some live music. Dune….no.
The upside to coming during a slow week is that you are alone on the beach every day and never need a reservation for dinner. The downside is that there is NO LIVE MUSIC ANYWHERE ANYTIME.
Ah, well, if I had to choose, I’d forfeit the tunes for the seclusion any day.
WEDNESDAY: HOME AGAIN, HOME AGAIN
All good things must come to an end, and our stay on Anguilla had run its course. We got our things packed up and left the beauty of L’Embellie.
We drove to the Koal Keel for pastries and coffee in the Old Valley. Filled with antiques, the bright green shutters of the patisserie were thrown open to the fresh morning air and the waving palm trees. We ordered one of nearly everything. Literally, we had a croissant, a pineapple pastry, an almond pastry, a chocolate pain, and a raisin pastry. It was gone in seconds. Light, flaky, buttery goodness.
We made our way to the Blowing Point ferry dock. Our rental car had been at the villa when we arrived and the rental car agent had told us to just leave it at the ferry when we left. Seriously…does it get any easier than that? We parked our little car and grabbed our bags and headed inside to wait for the ferry to Marigot, St. Martin. We were on the 10:30 am ferry, waving goodbye to Anguilla as it pulled away.
Anguilla has been so much more than I expected. I admit that when I first arrived, I thought her to be a scruffy little island. Dry and not very interesting to look at. I had misjudged her upon first glance.
Anguilla’s beauty is simple and comfortable, luxurious and opulent. I could not resist the sensuous appeal of her soft white sand or her azure seas. On Anguilla, you are not a visitor. You are treated as family. It’s a place where goats outnumber golf courses, where the people are welcoming and kind and crime doesn’t seem to exist. It’s a place where life sways more than it pulses.
I had arrived a stranger and I had left a friend.
Anguilla’s seduction of me was complete. She wrapped long arms, as slender and elegant as palm fronds around me and pulled me in, bathing me in cool, sweet water and coconut oil, wrapping me in the warmth of her sun and kissing my feet with her sugary sand. She dazzled my eyes with a kaleidoscope of color – the blue of the sea, the red of the hibiscus and pink bougainvillea, the bright green of her palms and the brilliant white of her shells, the orange of a dying sun and the deep indigo of the night sky sprinkled with silver stars. She won me with her sweet embrace and gentle, salty kiss.
The land of Anguilla is now deeply imprinted on my soul…the people of Anguilla on my heart.
More photos? Click Here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42427255@N00/sets/72157624033473716/