Date: November 21, 2017
After six days at sea from Bermuda we arrived in Anguilla, a small country which is part of the Commonwealth. It consists of one large inhabited island (about 30 km long and less than 10 km wide at its widest point with a population of around 15,000) and a number of very small islands. Here is a picture from Road Bay Harbour where we cleared customs at our arrival to Anguilla:
Anguilla is one of the many islands that got hit by hurricanes in the Caribbean this summer. Irma was the one that hit Anguilla. The repair work was still ongoing when we were there and Road Bay finally got electricity back on one of the last days we were in Anguilla. We were told that the western most part of the island was expected to get electricity again before Christmas. Also, there was not internet in Road Bay but we did hear a rumor that there might have been a few places in The Valley (the capital of Anguilla) with internet. Apart from lacking electricity and internet there was also obviously some structural damage to many buildings on the island and it seemed to us that the hotels and resorts - of which there are quite a few on Anguilla - were mostly closed for now and a lot of them did not look like they were going to open any time soon.
We saw lots of frigate birds on Anguilla. Here are two of then flying over the boat:
The first couple of days we were in Anguilla, the weather was quite unstable. Every day in the afternoon, large masses of dark clouds would roll in and rain on us. Sometimes we even had thunder and lightning and we also saw a few of these tornado-like water spouts. If you look close it is possible to see some water at sea level being sucked up by the whirl:
Here is the head of Félicie as she swims ashore at one of the uninhabited islands called Shrub Island.
The beach there is very steep and has breaking waves coming in so it is pretty much impossible to land the dinghy, instead we decided to anchor the dinghy a bit away from shore and swim in. Because of this we had to leave the camera in the dinghy so we did not get any pictures of the hermit crabs, goats, lizards, turks head cacti or the frangipani trees we saw there.
Back at the main island we went ashore at a place called Island Harbour. The village used to have a couple of nice restaurants but they were closed when we were there. We went for a quite nice walk through the village and beyond and found a small supermarket where we could buy fresh fruits and vegetables, something we had run out of on the way from Bermuda. We also got this picture of some of damage by Irma:
Since the restaurants were all closed we had to eat our wedding anniversary dinner aboard Restaurant Amanda (too bad she does not come with a cook, says Félicie). Here is a picture of the appetizer, mahi mahi (from the one we caught on the way to Bermuda) ceviche with grapefruit, spring onion and pomegranate and champagne of course:
After leaving Island Harbour we went a short trip further along the coast to Crocus Bay. Also here, there was a lack of open restaurants but there is a protected marine park in the neighboring Little Bay where we could snorkel (much, much more about that in our next post). Here is a picture of the steep cliffs with caves and crevices above Little Bay:
Another picture of the cliffs. We would worry at bit if we had built our fancy house on top of something that may best be compared to a Swiss cheese:
Amanda at anchor in Crocus Bay:
While we were in the US we were told about so-called solar ovens that use the sun to heat up and cook food. The boat tends to get very hot when we are cooking in the tropics and we try to use the barbecue a lot and cook food that only needs to cook for a short time, but with a solar oven it is possible to make slow roasted meat and dishes without adding heat to the inside of the boat. Anyway, that sounded to good to not try out so we found a foldable, lightweight version of a solar oven and decided to give it a try. The model we chose consists of a chamber made of thick reflective fabric closed by a zip-on "oven door" of clear plastic to let the sun in. While in Anguilla, Félicie used the solar oven for the first time to cook duck legs in a tomato-orange sauce with cumin. Normally, cooking duck legs on the stove top would take 1.5 to 2 hours of simmering. In the solar oven that only got to just over 100 degrees Celcius it took about twice that time. If you just take the longer cooking time into account and start cooking in time for the food to be finished before sunset (or cheat and finish it on the stove) it works quite well and you do not have to worry about stirring the food to prevent it from sticking and burning at the bottom of the pan. Here is the solar oven in function:
Unfortunately Félicie forgot to take a picture of the finished dish, so you will have to wait until next time the solar oven is being used.