The Lure of Anegada

It seems that sailors are drawn to Anegada whenever they are in BVI waters. This isolated island, about 30 miles east of Tortola has a population of less than 300 people. In fact the 4 footed species out number the humans 6 to 1. Many a time, while we were enjoying the crystal waters at Pomato Point, has one of the islands wild donkeys rummaged our tote bags looking for something to sink his teeth into.

What makes this little slice of the Caribbean popular can only be its no frills uncommercialised atmosphere. Just sailing to the island is an amazing adventure in its own right. Unlike the rest of the volcanic formed Virgin Islands, Anegada is a coral atoll barely 30ft at its highest point. (Anegada was aptly named Drowned island by the Spanish). When heading to her by sea Anegada does not come into view until you are nearly upon her. Thus eliciting comments from the back seat drivers searching the horizon – are you sure you are heading in the right direction? The first things you do see on your approach are the whistling pines in the distance. To keep ourselves entertained, on the way to Anegada, was to see who could spot them first.

Anegada also boasts the largest barrier coral reef in the Caribbean, Horseshoe Reef. This reef has claimed many shipwrecks starting back in the 1800’s when the pirates and settlers of Anegada used lights to lure the ships onto the reef so that they could be pillaged and plundered. It is said that there is still gold and treasure to be found in the waters. The waters around Anegada are also known for its shark nursery. Some common sharks that you may see are Nurse sharks, Lemon sharks and Black tips. I have seen sharks of all kinds in this area but my favorite are the little Reef shark pups. They do not bite but as you stand in the shallows they love to swim around you.

Besides walking miles of white sand beaches without another soul in sight, there is bone fishing with one of the local guides or take a taxi (ask to see the Flamingos along the way) to snorkel at Loblolly Beach. A great sight for visitors is the great conch shell mounds. These mounds represent thousands of empty conch shells that the local fishermen have caught over the years.

To me, Anegada represents a place to go when I just want get away from it all. This island of 15 square miles is reminiscent of what the Caribbean would have looked like before the large hotels, cruise ships and other commercial enterprises moved in.

There are many great places to eat and the staff are friendly and locals are always willing to strike up a conversation. Lastly, Anegada is known for it lobster and a trip would not be complete without savoring this delight.