I woke up on my 8th morning in Anguilla to a phone call from a good friend. Two days before, he and I had made plans to go to Scrub Island on this day, but because I hadn’t heard from him since then I wasn’t even sure the trip was still happening. But, bright and early, he called to let me know that yes, we were still going, and “Oh, by the way, is it ok if we go Prickly Pear Island instead of Scrub Island?”
I had been to both islands on a previous trip on a catamaran day trip on the Chocolat, and I enjoyed them both, so I agreed that Prickly Pear would be just fine. My friend was happy to hear my response and he said, “Ok, well you gotta be at Sandy Ground in 15 minutes.”
Our ride, a boat to Prickly Pear, was leaving in 15 minutes, so I needed to get down to Sandy Ground by then. Still groggy from my late night the previous day, I agreed to do my best to arrive as soon as possible. I hastily got up, threw on a bathing suit and a cover up, grabbed my beach gear and I flew out the door. I made it down to our meeting place about 3 minutes late, but luckily, the crew was still loading up the boat. Hooray for island time!
It turns out that our ride was with the group of people delivering supplies to the Prickly Pear restaurant, so we found spots on the boat between coolers and tubs of potatoes. I asked my friend how we were going to get back, and he said “I’m not sure yet. I told Nature Boy to come get us later, but I don’t know if he’s coming.” (Nature Boy is a well-known Anguillian boat-trip operator.)
Hm. In my own world, this lack of planning would have been completely unacceptable. Going out to a remote island without knowing how I was getting back? Not a chance! But, at this point in my trip I had loosened up a bit and allowed the whole laid-back island attitude take over, so I just shrugged, said “Ok” and sat back to enjoy the boat ride.
Inter-island hitchiking! Awesome.
We made it to Prickly Pear early enough that it was still deserted, so we got to enjoy the beautiful water without any of the crowds that are usually there. And so, once again I found myself floating in the beautiful crystal-clear blue waters off of yet another gorgeous deserted beach. How lucky am I?
It wasn’t long before the day-tripping boats from St. Martin and Anguilla (the Chocolat!) started showing up with large groups of people. By that time, though, the sun was getting a bit too hot for my taste so we retreated to the shade of the beach bar where we grabbed some drinks and a bite to eat. Captain Rollins, who runs the catamaran ‘The Chocolat’ was hanging out there too and kept us laughing as he does so well. (Those of you who know Captian Rollins know exactly what I mean. For those of you who haven’t, it’s just something you need to experience in person because he is QUITE the character. I highly recommend a trip on the Chocolat to meet him yourself!)
Nature Boy did eventually show up and so any worries I had about how we were getting home fell to the wayside. He’s an entertaining personality as well, and he demonstrated that when he serenaded the bride-to-be in a bachelorette party group from St. Martin. He’s a pretty good singer, too, so we were all very impressed!
After we had all finished our food, my friend and I set off for home with Nature Boy in his small powerboat. This ride home was a bit bumpier than the ride out, but once I learned to sit forward a bit to avoid constantly bouncing off of the seat back, the bounciness was actually really fun! Nature Boy even pointed out a few sea turtles on our ride home, which was incredibly exciting for this usually landlocked girl.
We got back to Sandy Ground in one piece and I thanked my friend for setting up a great trip and Nature Boy for getting us back. My lack of sleep and the day’s hot sun had left me exhausted, so I decided to head home to shower and to try and get in a nap.
I think I must have passed out pretty quickly after showering because the next thing I knew it was evening. A friend invited me out for drinks at the Viceroy’s Sunset Lounge, so I ended up meeting her there. We tried a few of the appetizers on the bar menu and had a nice chat with the sound of the ocean waves in the background. We swung over to the restaurant where our friends work after the Viceroy to finish off the evening where we all laughed well into the night.
I ended that day by counting my blessings for being able to take a vacation to a place that is not only a paradise, but is also home to some amazing people who I now consider as close as family. How many people get to do that in their travels? Probably not too many, so I feel lucky to be one of them… thanks to Anguilla, of course.