Sunday, August 05, 2007

Windjammer Ships and Pirate Adventures: Anguilla

Day 7: Anguilla February 23, 2007
The Best Beach in the World & The Diver Kid

I’ve been so busy reviewing books for our upcoming school year, I forgot to conclude the story of our trip on the S.V. Polynesia.
Anguilla has the best beach I have ever seen.

There is one stop light on this island and lots of goats. There’s also an Ace Hardware, in the middle of nowhere - no where near the stop light.
Anguilla is a place I’d like to explore more.

Shoal beach is an incredible stretch of land that I hope not too many people ever find. It is the real Caribbean. Desolate to the point that you can still find a patch of pink sand all your own, but populated just enough that you can get a decent cheeseburger if you really wanted one.

We rode on one of the local school buses to get to Shoal Beach, that’s the thing about Windjammer, you really do get to feel like your part of the island culture. We spent several hours strolling the beach, but as luck would have it, we had to find our own way back to the ship as we were leaving the beach earlier than the rest of our shipmates. The Kid was going to try scuba for the first time.

The taxi ride back from the beach was an interesting one. We shared the cab with one of the other three beginner scuba students and boy did we have a ball with the cab driver. He was very proud of his island, he said he would take us the best way back to the ship -- and he did. Apparently, Brittany Spears did one of her rehabs on this island and this was a big stop for the cab drivers to show non-locals. Our cab driver was no different. He also showed us many interesting places, that weren’t on paved roads and we eventually ended up in close proximity of the Polynesia.

The Kid had a rare opportunity presented to him earlier in the week. Windjammer had 3 dive masters on this ship, one was the resident dive master and the other two were new to Windjammer and were learning where all the great dive spots were from Tomas, the dive master on the Polynesia. There were three beginner divers. An interesting and rare ratio, so The Kid decided it was time. Floored the heck out of me because this is a kid who doesn’t like to swim, has had every swim lesson under the sun, but won’t swim. But I remembered this was also the kid who snorkeled with Nurse sharks at Hol Chan in Belize (that story for another day), so I signed the consent papers and let him have his adventure. The class was 4 hours, preceded with a safety video. It was an awesome opportunity in an amazing place. The Kid got to do a 20-40 foot dive in some of the clearest water in the Caribbean, an adventure he won’t soon forget. I wrote “He was all smiles when he got back from his dive” in my journal.

Anguilla is another place in the Caribbean that I would like to explore more. I think if I had to settle on a place today where I'd check-out in the Caribbean, Anguilla would be on my short list. Bequia is at the top, followed by Anguilla, then Mayreau. St. Vincent, Guadeloupe, Nevis, Statia, Dominica and several of the Grenadines are also places I’d explore further if I had the time and the sailboat.

Our Windjammer adventure ended in St. Marten, where it began. It was a great trip and I would recommend a Windjammer adventure to anyone taking their homeschool on the road. We’ll do it again.

And now it’s time to plan our Not-Back-To-School-Trip....we’re thinking the beach in September....