Father’s Day Weekend

June 19 – Saturday

Today was still a little left over rainy feeling. It was very overcast, cloudy, gloomy – in general, not a good beach day. There was a beach on our list to visit that is not good for swimming, but for shelling so we decided this would be a good day to do that so we we wouldn’t get too hot from the sun and not be able to go into the water. We started with a french pastry breakfast from Le Bon Pain again.

After breakfast we grabbed the map and set out to find Mimi’s Bay. It was slightly more difficult than some of the others since this isn’t one of the major white sand, beautiful swimming beaches. We found what looked like it should be the right road and headed down this little dirt road. We got to a fork that veered right. I noticed a sign post, but no sign. I stopped, jumped out and fit the pieces back together. Mimi’s Bay! We were on the right track. So we took the fork and arrived at Mimi’s Bay.

The waves were pretty rough and there were large rocks right off the beach so definitely not for swimming. The boys loved hunting for shells and we found a few neat ones too! There was also an abandoned life raft on the beach that we used to have a picnic lunch.

After lunch, even though the sun was not out, we decided to go to a beach and get in the water. We couldn’t stand the thought of missing beach time two days in a row! We were very close to Junk’s Hole so we went there. They don’t have chairs & umbrellas so again, a good day to go there without the hot sun. Gabriel fell asleep on the way so we pulled right up onto the beach, rolled down the windows, and left him to sleep in the car while we jumped in the water. It was cold, still a bit rough, but nice to be back in the beach water.

After beach time we headed back into the Valley to pick up Ken’s ribs again for dinner.

June 20 – Sunday (Father’s Day)

The sun came peeking through! Not full sun yet, but a sight for sore eyes! We celebrated Father’s Day today at Scilly Cay. Make sure you check out our pictures under the photo tab for this day called “Scilly Cay”. This is that little mini island in the harbor here right across from our room. The island and restaurant are owned and operated by Sandra and Eudoxie Wallace. They even have their own website (http://www.scillycayanguilla.com).

It was a WONDERFUL (albeit expensive) experience. This was Father’s Day, Shauna’s 30th birthday (April), my graduation celebration meal, and our 8th anniversary (May) dinner all rolled up into this meal. We didn’t do anything special for those occasions knowing we would while in Anguilla. It’s a good thing too because this was $75/plate for what we got! Yikes! But a wonderful, wonderful experience!

There is no electricity on the island. Early in the morning they bring large coolers over by boat with all the fresh food ingredients to prepare the meals. They offer three main entrees: lobster, chicken, crayfish or a combination. The lobster is the specialty. The fisherman go out 25 miles into the ocean and set lobster traps. They are brought back and kept alive until they are ready to cook. Talk about fresh seafood!

We, of course, had to try the Caribbean spiny lobster. Neither Shauna nor myself are big fans of lobster – during previous east coast (US) beach trips we always choose Snow Crab legs over King Crab or any lobster.  Caribbean spiny lobster is soooo different from lobster in the US – much better based on mine and Shauna’s personal tastes. According to the info I looked up they are barely even related to traditional lobster we see in the US. Caribbean Spiny lobster does not have any claws and instead has sharp spikes down its back for protection.

We were told it takes about an hour from the time we order. We were already starving when we got there! We fed the boys some chicken salad & crackers while we waited and took a dip in the small beach on this island. Our meal came with three lobsters on the plate lined with sea grape leaves (we had no idea we got that many), pasta salad, bread, and fresh fruit. The lobsters were grilled and then brushed with a special sauce (butter based I think) prior to being served. The texture and flavor was just completely different – soft and sweet, just melts in your mouth. A local band was playing and singing throughout the afternoon. This will go down as one of my all-time favorite dining experiences ever!

After lunch we laid around on the beach. The water was super shallow – we had to almost lay down to get water over our shoulders. Ezekiel came in for a bit and the rest of the time played in the sand with Gabriel. We also saw about a zillion crabs in and around the bushes. Ezekiel was catching them in a cup and bringing them down to the decorative drift wood log on the beach.

They quit serving food at 5pm and start packing up. We stayed about an hour after that until most everyone was gone. I asked Ezekiel if he was ready to go and he said, “No, not yet.” So we let him play for a bit more. I went over and asked him again and he said, “Stop asking me. I’ll tell you when I’m ready to go.” If that wasn’t so funny he would have been in big trouble!

Who is Crazy – Us or Them?

June 18 – Friday

Well it was our first rainy day since we have been on Anguilla, so not much to tell about our day.  We just stayed in the room, watched some movies, Gabriel slept, ate our lunch, then went out shopping and out to eat.  We went to Roy’s Bayside Grill, which has an early-bird special on Fridays for $14. We both got Fish & Chips and they also had chicken curry and steak kabobs.  After dinner we went to an ice cream shop and all four of us got a different flavor – Ezekiel got chocolate, Gabriel got banana, I got Black Raspberry Cheesecake, and Josh got Pastashio and Butter Pecan.  We stopped at a local grocery we heard sold locally-made hot sauce and found a basketball court beside it. So we decided to sit and watch and the boys really enjoyed watching them. However, Josh said they weren’t going to get any college scholarships – we saw maybe 3 or 4 shots made the whole time we watched.

Now here are some funny things since we have been here that people have commented on or we’ve seen.

  1. School kids come to the Arawak regularly to get pizza by the slice and every Wednesday have a special menu. Several girls have asked me if I cut my hair.  They were asking why I liked short hair and not long hair.  I asked them if they cut their hair and one little girl said no.  Then another day one of the adults asked me if I cut my hair. I asked the adult if no one cuts their hair in Anguilla and she said that some do, but most don’t. The fact that I only have shoulder-length hair seems to fascinate the locals.
  2. Another funny thing is that when Ezekiel chews gum, people comment about it.  They ask him what he’s chewing on and he says gum and they are like really.  He is chewing gum?  He likes gum?  Wow!  Apparently gum isn’t for little kids here.
  3. People also ask where we are from and we tell them Kentucky.  They are like “I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone from Kentucky here before.”  And “I didn’t think anyone from Kentucky would ever come here.” Or one said, “Where is Kentucky – close to Floriday?” Josh explained it is about a 10-12 hour drive from Kentucky to various parts of Florida so when it only takes 30 minutes to drive across the entire country here then no, Kentucky is not close to Florida. And the best for last, “Oh, Kentucky Fried Chicken, yes, I know.”
  4. There are also crazy, crazy drivers here.  Of course they drive on the left, so that is different, but once you get used to it, it’s no big deal.  But they drive so fast and if you’re not driving fast enough, they will pass you. The strange thing is the passing technique – they honk their horn and go around you.  Guess that is good so you know they are coming. In general the driving seems very aggressive and without many rules. People will pull over to talk to someone or stop at a shop and they are still half-way in the lane. Everyone just waits for a gap in the oncoming traffic and buzzes around them so that’s what we do too. Many times these cars seemingly parked half-way off the road will decide to keep driving and they pull out right in front of you.  So if you’re not paying attention, then you can get yourself in trouble.  You have to be quick on the brakes. On our way home last night, a guy was driving across the center line in our lane (maybe a foreigner because the locals all stay in the proper lane) and almost side-swipped us. Josh got over as far as he could without hitting the fence on his side and we probably missed by inches. Not 30 seconds later these 3 kids on bicycles darted out from a side street right in front of us and Josh slammed on the breaks to keep from hitting them.  I thought I was going to pee my pants and Josh thought he had a heart attack.  If that one car got in our lane as the 3 boys were there, it would have been a choice between hitting the car head on or running over the kids on bikes. Thank God nothing happened. As a general rule though, driving has been very safe, just odd.
  5. Another weird thing is that the speed limit signs are all in miles per hour, however the spedometer is in kilometers per hour.

We have met some more people since we have been here.  A couple on their honeymoon from Texas.  A couple from Brazil.  A couple from Rome, Italy.  A girl who lives here from the Phillipines.  And a family that is from Texas whose grandparents have a house in Anguilla and have had the house since the 1970′s.  I’m sure we will meet more people in our remaining days.  It is really neat to meet so many people from so many different places and to hear their experiences and different languages.

Cheddie’s and Sand Messages

June 16 – Wednesday

We did some cleaning up this morning and a little laundry in the sink. Kind of fun washing by hand, but wouldn’t want to do it all the time. Yes, they have laundry services here, but at $9.50/load we decided to do our own in the sink this month.

We headed west again today with our destination in mind: Cheddie’s. He has an art gallery and carves things out of drift wood that washes up on the beaches. He’s also got a little restaurant called Klassik Cafe that is essentially outdoors, but all the tables are in little tiki huts. Really neat! We had garlic shrimp and shrimp pasta and boy was it good! Mmmm! Definitely worth the 25 minute drive to get all the way across the country. :)

After lunch we walked through the gallery and it was amazing. Make sure you see photos from this day. We also walked through this small nature trail that had some pigeons, an iguana and some crabs. Short, not much to see, but fun for the boys to see.

We headed back to the Viceroy Beach Club to live it up like royalty again for $10. Unfortunately the waters were choppy so we didn’t get to do any boating activities. Apparently a tropical storm had been building out at sea and was headed our way and then broke up leaving choppy waters and scattered showers. Instead we enjoyed VIRGIN strawberry daiquiri and pina coladas. The boys liked both flavors. One of the attendants brought them their own flavor ice popsicle thing each. It rained on us at the beach today for the first time since we got here June 1st and only for about 3-4 minutes as we were getting ready to leave.

We headed back tot he Arawak and cooked dinner then went up to the pool for the Wednesday night acoustic guitar singing.

June 17 – Thursday

Today the waters were still choppy so we headed to Shoal Bay East (closest NICE beach to us) where we get free chairs and umbrellas courtesy of the Arawak and Tropical Sunset Beach Bar & Restaurant. Despite the choppy waters we still got plenty of beach time and fun. We also managed to create some sand messages (see photos). We came back for a dip in the pool mid afternoon. Then we got cleaned up, made dinner, and headed to the grocery – only one open past 8pm and it only stays open until 9pm. Another nice day, but nothing much new to report today.

If the waters are rough again in the morning we’re going to a beach on the other side of the island. The side we use most often is actually part of the Atlantic Ocean. The other side is part of the Caribbean Sea and should be calmer, or so we’ve heard.

The Sand Man & Sailing!

June 14 – Monday

Monday was an Angullian holiday – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s birthday, so most of the stores were closed or those that were opened, closed early.  We decided to go to our familiar beach, Shoal Bay and it was as beautiful as ever.  We played in the sand and in the water.  And we created the “Sand Man!”  Dum, dum, dum!!!  Josh and the boys were playing in the sand together and he buried each of their legs.  They all loved it and he asked Ezekiel if he wanted to be buried all the way but his head and he got excited.  We buried our boy and it was so cute.  He kept telling us that he was still breathing and he was “o-tay!”  Then when we were all finished, he escaped like the “Sand Man” and it was scary.  OOOOOooooo!  It was so cute.  He loved it.  We did it at least 3 more times (see video below) and even made him look like a monster by putting spikes on him.  We tried Gabriel and he did OK, even helping some, until we got up to his chest and then he didn’t like it. So then they decided to bury me and that was when some waves started packing in the sand along my feet and up to my waist.  Gladly it didn’t drown me while I was buried and waiting for Josh to get a picture.  HA!

After Shoal Bay beach, we decided we should check out the boat races at Crocus Bay.  We were told that the time to be at the boat race was either when they started the race or when they were finishing the race.  They had activities during the race, but there wasn’t anything to see.  By the time we got there, the race was finishing and we got to see some of the boats.  It was really neat.  There were tons of people, music, food, and fun.  Kids were in the water playing and having a ball.  The only bad thing was the air on the beach reeked of alcohol. We stayed for a bit, collecting some stones, and then headed back to our place for a dip in the pool.  We swam until our pizza we ordered was ready, then we ate, showered, and headed to bed.  It was a nice day.

June 15 – Tuesday

Tuesday we decided to explore the west end of the island, which probably only took 20-25 minutes to get there.  Think of being able to drive across the entire country in less than 30 minutes.  We had lunch at a sandwich & pastry shop called Geraud’s.  We split two different lunch specials -  Parmesan Focaccia stuffed with chicken, bacon, & cheddar cheese with Caesar salad and the other special was ham & turkey Panini with pasta salad.  They were both very good and big enough that we should have just ordered one to split.

Since we had not been to any of the beaches on the very West End of the Island, we decided to try Meads Bay which we heard was beautiful.  We were driving around, trying to find a place to park that had chairs and umbrellas and wouldn’t charge us $200 like Cusinart tried to do.  We came across this place called Viceroy which that guy we met at Hungry’s told us about.   It is a beach club on Meads Bay that you pay $5 for use of a chair and umbrella.  The guys are dressed in Kahki shorts and white polo shirts – beach dressy. After we selected our chairs a guy carefully lined both chairs with towels. Next he brought out  2 complementary bottles of water in a plastic ice bucket and set on the table under our umbrella. They also had beach toys for the boys to check out for the day – also complementary.  It was awesome.  They even had a bathroom inside their building we could use and it was . . . AIR CONDITIONED!!!  Amazing!

A guy that had been out snorkeling brought in a star fish that Ezekiel held.  Josh & Ezekiel went for a swim first.  So while they were in the water, I was sitting on the chairs with Gabriel while he was playing in the sand.  A guy came around asking if we wanted a “chill towel” which was ice cold and smelled of mint and eucalyptus type oils.  I felt like we were at a resort.  Then I saw this couple get on a speed boat and go tubing and then a sail boat came in with another couple.  We inquired about both and get this, they were all complimentary as well.  WOW!  So we went sailing!!!  It was amazing!  All four of us went together and it was great (see video below)!  We couldn’t believe that we only paid $10 ($5 for each chair) and got to do so much stuff.  We found out that the “sports boat” will take you tubing and snorkeling, possibly skiing.

After sailing Josh took Ezekiel inside the building to show him around and this guy asked his name, but of course Ezekiel was being shy.  So the guy offered him some ice cream and then he livened up.  He brought out two miniature tubs of Haagen Dazs ice cream and said, “Here’s one for you and one for your brother”!  That hit the spot for both of them.  We will definitely be back.  It was such a beautiful beach and such a neat beach club that I want to go there every single day!

After Gabriel woke up from his nap, we left the beach and went back to our place.  Ezekiel was knocked out pretty soon, holding a can of Pringles while we were driving back.  Gabriel was hungry too, so he was eating chips on the way back.  When we got back, Josh and Gabriel showered while I sat in the car with Ezekiel and read while he slept.  Then I woke him up, we showered while Josh cooked dinner. After dinner we had popsicles by the pool, then went to bed.  What a nice day.

NOTE: Make sure you check out all our new pictures. If you missed it Josh added some new categories like Anguilla Beaches cont., Cuisinart Resort, Gwen’s Reggae Grill, Queen’s Birthday, and there are new ones in Anguilla Beaches and Food Stuff.

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Shells, Pool, Reggae, and Snorkeling

I have several really fun videos to share today so I thought I’d just do a very brief recap of the weekend and get on to the videos!

June 12 – Saturday

We did a mid-morning walk along a more secluded part of Shoal Bay East and collected shells and pieces of coral reef that had washed ashore. We took a quick dip to get cooled off, but didn’t stay long since there were no umbrellas and the sun was really bothering Gabriel. We went back to the room for lunch and naps. I did some grocery shopping while they napped. Then we went for a swim in the pool, made dinner and went to bed.

June 13 – Sunday

After breakfast we did some cleaning up while trying to figure out what beach we wanted to visit (talk about hard decisions!). Gabriel was all out of sorts so we laid him back down at 10am and he slept until 1:30pm! Obviously we didn’t get out of here. It was kind of nice just hanging out on our porch, reading, relaxing and listening to the waves. After Gabe woke up we got him lunch and decided just to go to the pool since it was so late in the day. I captured all of Ezekiel’s tricks and swimming advances on video (see below).

After pool time we got cleaned up and headed to Gwen’s Reggae Grill on the beach. We ordered a cheeseburger and snapper and shared both. Both came with fries, cole slaw, very small side salad with vinegar & oil, and a spicy pasta salad that neither of us could eat much of (not spicy hot, just spicy flavors that we were not accustomed to). Shauna was afraid she wouldn’t like the snapper (she doesn’t like strong fish flavored fish like Salmon), but she did and everything was very good. The best part was the live Reggae band. People were dancing and having an all-around good time. I’ve added a brand new category of pictures just for this. Now on to the videos!

Here are Ezekiel’s tricks in the pool (4 videos). We mentioned previously about how far he has come and now here is the proof!

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Here are 4 videos from Gwen’s Reggae Grill. There is one girl in short white shorts who kept messing up my shot. I apologize in advance (I tried to avoid it as much as I could), but I did want you to see the fun Reggae band.

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Here are 8 videos from our snorkeling adventures on Shoal Bay East beach. It was a bit challenging to hold the camera in one hand while swimming/navigating with the other and add in being hit by the waves so its a bit shakey. We tried our best. Oh, and on Shauna’s video “The Big One” – after the first glimpse she couldn’t find it so the rest of the video is nothing much to see.

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