Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday – Anguilla Day!

Today we joined in the celebration of Anguilla separating from Nevis/St Kitts in a bloodless revolution in 1967.  It is a day for all to gather and enjoy this lovely island and their self rule.  The day begins early as old and young assemble in the Valley for a parade and civic awards.  We skipped the parade, but headed directly to the Sandy Ground for the annual Anguilla Day Sail Race.  The harbor was hopping at 8:30 with race time still 90 minutes away.  I was in heaven – Blue Skies, Lots of Sailboats (9 meter), and great people shots. 

Picture taking was my priority of the morning.  I felt like a kid in a candy shop.   Janet snapped this one of me on the point and shoot - 1 Camera, 2 Beers, 3 Lens, and a perfect day to take pictures - Life is Good! 

There were two large barges that had bands, djs, and dance floors that were party chase boats for the race.  Both were packed to standing room only. Everyone on the chase boats and ashore waited for the big race to begin... and we waited... and we waited, but no start horn.  The winds were a steady 20 to 25 mph.   Some of the boats made practice runs in the harbor waiting for the horn.  With one big gust of wind one of the competiors, Satellite, lost her mast.  So we had another delay. 
Some of the boats waiting for the start
Tired of sitting - some crews sailed back and forth to cool down
After 4 delays the race was on with shorten safer course

The men gather on Bankie's deck watching the race!  Bankie in White
As soon the boats cleared the harbor the chase was on.  Everyone jumps in their cars and drives around the island cheering their favorite boat on to victory. 

We decided to head to the Dune Preserve, Bankie Banks place, on Rendezvous Bay.  It would be the halfway point of the race and where the boats do a 180 degree turn and return to the Sandy Ground.  When Janet and I arrived there was just one couple taking in the beauty of this special spot awaiting the boats.  Bankie poured us one of his famous Ginger Rum Punches as we settled in for the arrival boats.   Not having lunch one of Bankie’s friends brought us apples and the kindness was gratefully accepted. 

Janet walked down the beach with the wife of the nice Rasta and her 3 children to explore and look for shells.  I think the mother of the children wanted to remove the kids from the screaming men as they debated every tack or jibe of each boat as it passed by.  One boat “Real Deal” made a dangerous move and came all the way into the shore.  Paralleling the beach maybe 10 yards off shore and at the precise moment made his move.  The boat accelerated like a race car as he passed most of the boats on the outside.  The fans went wild!

Battling for position
The boats would pass by our hotel on their return so we headed back to Carimar to clean up and  continued to watch the race.  The move made by "Real Deal" in front of Bankie's was the deciding point of the race and it finished first.  Another boat lost their mast making the turn in Rendezvous Bay.  I never thought sailboat race could be soooooooo much fun!  Ann and Paul if you are reading this... Today was your day!

The winner of the 2013 Anguilla Day Sail Race - "Real Deal" - Congratulations!

Dinner we decided to keep is simple and go Mexican!  Yep Mexican, but this was not your regular fare for South of the Border.  Picante's was a short distance from our hotel and just seem like the right place.  Let me tell you I had a brick oven roasted chicken quarter that was cooked in tequilla and lime.  YES!  My sweetie went fried Mahi burrito that was stuffed with cole slaw and a bunch of other good stuff.   Accompanied by a couple top shelf margaritas dinner was relaxing as we recounted the day and rain drops beat on the roof of Picante's porch.

We decided to make one more stop on the way back.  Blanchard's for dessert!  I opted for triple chocolate dessert that would bring our friend Richard to his knees.  Janet got the home made vannila bean ice cream, and believe it or not friends Tom shared food!  Both were very good, but the service not so much.  However, in fairness, there was an extremely noisy family next to us that the mother's laugh grated on me like fingers on chalkboard. 

Melinda Blanchard was cooking tonight and in fact came out to answer some questions on a dish at another table.  I think Blanchard's is back on the list.

Tomorrow is chill day on Meads Bay.


  1. Wow, great pictures! Glad you got to see the boat races, they are always a lot of fun!
    Enjoy your trip and thanks for posting.

    1. Having a great time! Your hints have been very helpful! Thanks for following along.

  2. Again, love the photos! Such beautiful people...

  3. Great photos! Somebody on a travel forum posted a link that I followed over here. I love visiting Anguilla and I have my next trip coming up very soon.

    It's been a few years since I've been on island for one of the boat races--lucky you to be there on Anguilla Day!