Sailing the Caribbean – Around Anguilla December 2010

Around Anguilla
Steve joined Ibis for Christmas sailing and was treated to some memorable swells rolling in from the Atlantic, white sand beaches and turquoise sea; we kicked off with a circumnavigation of Anguilla and some night sailing.

Grand Case to Road Town

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] stiff northerly swell was starting to pick up as Steve flew in from Washington for his Christmas Holiday on Ibis. He was lucky enough to have the boat to himself for the first week and we got some great sailing in around Anguilla and St Martin (French side).

From our anchorage in Marigot, we kicked off with an easy sail a few miles up the coast to Grand Case which hosts a weekly “Grand Case Mardi” and arrived just after dark. I think Steve was just glad to be on board though, cos we spent the evening at anchor chilling out and watching the stars.

The next morning we headed back to Marigot to make the clearances for Anguilla and after a night ashore we set off on a broad reach for Anguilla. By lunchtime we were anchored off one of the whitest beaches in the Caribbean with the place almost all to ourselves! There was just one other superyacht at anchor and the guests were ensconced under a gazebo at one end of the beach.

The sea here is the most exquisite turquoise blue, and resident pelicans were diving for fish close to the shore which was amazing to watch. Steve swam the few hundred yards in for a walk along the (almost) deserted beach.

The same afternoon we headed back across the channel to Road Town for the evening; a burger at the Pumphouse and a nightcap at the famous Elvis’s Beach Bar rounded off a superb day in the islands.

Prickly Pear Cay, Scrub Island and Tintamarre

From Road Harbour we sailed past Sandy Island – just a spit of land with a daytime bar on it – and picked up a bouy at Prickly Pear Cay. From the yacht mooring spot there a small dinghy pass to the far side of the island where we stopped in for some snorkelling and a walk along the beach.

Popular with the day trip boats because of the restaurant and bar, Prickly Pear has some ok snorkelling and a nice long beach for shell hunting. We decided on a change of scene for the night and picked up a mooring bouy in Crocus Bay. This is also supposed to be a good snorkelling spot but the water was pretty cloudy that evening.

Steve was keen to get in some overnight hours so we got up at 3.00am the next morning to sail around the top of Anguilla and then to Tintamarre to the North-East of St Martin. With a reef in the main, we set off in darkness and rounded Scrub Island to the North just after the sun had come up. By that time there was a fair wind blowing and a nasty Atlantic swell rolling in that made for some dramatic waves crashing over the rocks and an ugly shoreline at Scrub…..I wouldn’t want to be pushed onto shore in that!

Once we’d rounded Scrub Island it was a nice fast downwind sail to Tintamarre and we arrived just before 10am for a lunch stop and to catch up on some zeds. Steve tried his hand at fishing for the first time and was rewarded with a couple of jacks…..they LOVE bacon! There was a large barracuda also hovering under the boat which rather put Steve off a swim ashore!

From Tintamarre we had another good downwind sail back to Marigot where we were to pick up our additional Christmas guests!

Marigot Swells

The Ibis crew was rudely awoken at around 3 in the morning again as the swell in Marigot Bay picked up to nearly 3 metres in approximately the same depth of water. We quickly hauled the anchor and motored out over the huge swells in the darkness, roller-coaster style! Once we reached 5 metres or so of depth the surface calmed and we reset the anchor for the rest of the night.

It was a good job we moved when we did; we awoke the next morning to see a smaller boat washed up on the beach having dragged his anchor. The rescue boat was there fairly quickly and some bright spark made the decision to tow the boat off the beach and refloat it. They got it into about 4 metres of depth and it promptly sank! Obviously sustained some damage when it washed ashore….and now a write off!

Read the next part of Steve’s Christmas Holiday….

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