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Wednesday, May 15th, 2002
Our first real trip - Anguilla

For our first solo sail, Curt and I decided to adventure out to a nearby island for a few days. Of course, Curt asked the guys at the chandlery where they might suggest, and we also consulted our cruising guide. We chose Anguilla because it seemed to be the closest, an easy sail, and a straightforward anchorage that seemed easy to navigate.

I'm sure in time, readying the boat for a cruise won't feel like such a fire drill, but for now, my mind is always racing as we get ready to go. So many things to remember: checking out of customs, stowing things away so they don't break, removing the bumpers, when to take off the sail cover... And while here at dock in St. Maarten we have the added stress of both pulling out of our somewhat awkward dock and having to do it in accordance with the timing of the bridge openings. We're in a protected lagoon, and in order to reach the ocean we have to go through a draw-bridge of sorts. It only opens a handful of designated times each day, so if you miss it, it may be hours or an entire day before you can get back in or out. At any rate- though stressful, we pulled away from dock smoothly and made it out of the 9am bridge without incident. The sail to Anguilla was equally uneventful, but beautiful and relaxing.

Road Bay, where we anchored in Anguilla has the beautiful turqouise water that you see in the magazines. The water was so clear, you could see the bottom! While we heard it was a quiet town, we didn't know it was going to be THAT quiet. The whole island is rather flat, and the beach here has white sand and is lined with a couple of little restaurants and houses. No sidewalk. Just sand. There may've been a handful of people sitting under the shade of a tree, or having a beer on the patio of the local bar. Curt checked us into customs, we had an afternoon swim around the boat, and a nice dinner aboard.

The next morning we took the dinghy ashore to do some exploring, only to find there wasn't much to see (we saw most of it from our boat). On the way in the day before, we had seen what looked to be like a little deserted island, and read later read in our guidebook there's a hut out there on what's known as Sandy Island where you can get a nice lobster lunch. Since our tour of Road Bay was so short, we opted to hop in our dinghy and make the mile and half trek out to sea to check it out. As we arrived, a big catamaran full of tourists was taking off. I think it was some sort of snorkeling tour. We had the whole little island to ourselves! Turns out the hut was even closed. No lunch for us. But it was fun to explore this tiny little sliver of land in the middle of nowhere.

We got back to the boat and it wasn't long before we were clamoring back in the dinghy and our way to check out a little restaurant our friends at the chandlery had mentioned… Roy's. This was another mile and a half ride (around the coast, rather than out to sea this time), but this time we found both people and beer at our destination. Oh. And Roger the (girl) parrot. She sat on the counter drinking a shot of something or other. The couple that owns the restaurant is a jovial, friendly sort. The type that slap you on the back just a teeny bit too hard, and talk just a bit too loud. And talk and talk and talk. It was great. Good folks indeed. Afterward we had dinner back in Road Bay and called it a night.

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