Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Prickly Pear, Anguilla

I was with a handful of other sailors at the customs office when the doors opened. Our extra copies of the crew list was very helpful, but I was never sure if we were "crew" or "passengers" and I was asked over and over again. But, I got through customers in just a few minutes. Or did I? No. The other half of customs--the part that really counted because cash was exchanged--hadn't happened yet because the agent was not there. I was sent to the "Commercial Dock" to find the agent. I did not know what I was looking for. Here we go!

I befriended a Scott who was trying to clear out of Anguilla and knew who the agent was. He hadn't seen her. He thought everything was too expensive given the world-wide money crunch. Suddenly, he saw her and engaged her in conversation about clearing out. "No;" she said. "Not possible." Hmm. Were we supposed to bribe her to do her job? The Scott sweet-talked her until she agreed to meet us back at the Customs Office. He thought she might give us a ride, but that wasn't going to happen. We walked the beach again back to the Office.

A half-hour later and $100 got me cleared to have lunch on Prickly Pair. It was easy. She had no forms. No receipts. No concept that I didn't know what she or I was doing! Still we both muddled through. Great! More paradise ahead.

We had a lovely sail and dinghy ride to a beautiful lunch spot. The view of the waves off the reef that spanned the entire width of the island was magical. I'd never seen so many kinds of blue.

We couldn't stay long, because we were to leave Anguilla that day. After lunch, we dropped our mooring ball and sailed to Grand Case, St. Martins, which was celebrating the weekly market day. The streets were filled with street venders and shoppers. A brass band marched up and down while children danced before it. We danced too.

La Bodega was a topas bar with a nice server and very slow service. A disappointing meal at a great location. How did we manage that?

The dingy dock was overflowing with boats. We had locked ours to a ring on the dock, but where was it? It had floated or been dragged under the dock to the other side.
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