Anguilla is only a short hop from Saint Martin where Mermaid had been anchored for a few weeks but it’s a big change in culture. St Martin is hustle and bustle with cruise ships and big jet planes dropping off loads tourists daily. Anguilla has it’s share of tourism but it comes in a much more laid back atmosphere. We left Simpson Bay mid morning and had a fantastic sail over to Road Bay in Anguilla.
When checking into a new country we always dress nice, smile when meeting the officials and make a point to be pleasant. It’s worked well for us as we’ve checked in and out of many countries hassle free but not everyone uses this approach. When we went ashore to clear we were met at the door by the Immigration lady saying that the customs man had to go home sick. She invited us to enjoy the island that evening and come back in the morning. No problem. We headed next door for a cold beer but there was another couple on a charter boat who walked up at the same time and insisted that they be allowed to clear in and out as they planned to leave early the next morning. The immigration lady explained that they could stay overnight and leave early in the morning without checking in and out but this was met with outrage. They wanted their passports stamped and insisted that the customs man come back to work. They were still angrily insisting that that it was an outrage that the customs man wasn’t there when we were heading back to the dingy. When we headed in the next morning we got a little guilt by association. The Immigration Lady greeted us a bit coolly and told us that the couple argued until the customs man came back from his sick bed to process them. We let her know that we just showed up at the same time as the other boat and we weren’t with them. Things proceed much more happily after that.
Anguilla was quiet, peaceful and friendly. We spent most of our time chillaxing, hiking and walking the gorgeous beaches. Our biggest outing was hiring a taxi for an island tour where we saw the island through the driver’s eyes. Our favorite place ashore was the Pump House, a bar and restaurant in the building that in past times served as, you guessed it, a pumping station for the now closed salt works. Great burger, drinks and friendly service.
We had to cut our stay short when a large, north swell was predicted to moved in and make the exposed anchorage uncomfortable.