Anguilla News: January 1996
News reports from on the island, as they were posted to the Net:
Casablanca Reopens as Sonesta Beach
Casablanca Resort on Rendevous Bay has been
refurbished by new owners and reopened as the
Sonesta Beach Club. The new manager last worked at a
Sonesta resort on the Red Sea in Eqypt, so this is
quite a change. They have a full-page ad in the
St. Martin newspaper promoting the resort to
locals: "Your magnificent island of St. Martin bustles
with action and activity. But if you want to totally relax
and do next to nothing, your friendly neighbor Anguilla
is the place to be." 809-497-6999.
Lucy's Harbour View Open
Lucy's Harbour View is a restaurant on the
"backroad" cliff overlooking Sandy Ground and
Road Bay. Because of the great view and exposed
position, it was damaged in the hurricane. But
it has now reopened.
Open for lunch 12-3, dinner 7 til whenever.
Hidden Anguilla: Rainforest Hike
You may not believe it, but Anguilla has a jungle.
You enter a path from the beach, skirting the edge of
a spooky swamp through dead grey trees (victims of Luis),
then enter lush greenery. As the plants close over you,
cutting off the sun, you notice the cool shade and
the birds. Regular Anguillian plants that you expect to find
at 6" to 24" high are now 6' to 12' high. I won't spoil the
surprise by telling all the details of this hike--only
suggest you wear good runners or hiking boots, be
prepared to climb a hill, and take a flashlight.
To experience the jungle, go to Katouche Bay beach (between Crocus
Bay and Road Bay/Sandy Ground on the north side). From
The Valley, go up Coronation Blvd to Crocus Hill.
Turn left at Lloyd's Hotel (the old Cottage Hospital
is on the right). Follow the paved road until it ends, then
continue on the main dirt road to
Masara Resort. Drive through the resort, down
a steep one-lane road to the beach and park. Walk down
to the beach, go left about 40 yards and turn left
away from the beach. You should find a path that skirts
the right edge of a large pond. Good luck.
Anguilla has many more hidden delights.
Scilly Cay Rebuilt
Sandra and Eudoxie have rebuilt their restaurant on
the tiny islet of Scilly Cay in Island Harbour. They held
a private wedding on December 31st and opened to the
public today. Hours are 11am to 5pm, closed Mondays.
809-497-5123. Just stand on the beach in Island Harbour
in front of Cyril's and wave - a launch will come over
to pick you up.
Tuesday Happy Hour at Uncle Ernie's
There is live music and fish fry happy hour at
Uncle Ernie's on Shoal Bay, every Tuesday after
work. Swim and party. Nice combination.
Anguilla Lettuce Returning
It may come as a surprise to some people that Anguilla
has hydroponic gardens for growing lettuce.
We were used to having excellent lettuce in the stores
at all times--we even export to other islands. Since
Luis we have had to do with hard heads of
imported iceburg, with the occasional limp romaine.
Good News: Anguilla Lettuce should be back in
production by mid-February.
Fast, Tasty, Cheap Lunch
There are many places in Anguilla
that the tourist may not know about.
Anguilla is known for its gourmet restaurants, but what
if you have things to do? Lunch can easily stretch to
two hours in our elegant eateries. If you want good food,
served quickly, at a very reasonable price, do as the
locals do. It doesn't advertise, there are no signs
directing you there from the West End, but lunch
at the Hill Street Restaurant is the best bargain
in the Caribbean (according to the Blanshards).
Hill Street is located next to the Fairplay Food Center in The
Valley. A substantial lunch of Chicken, Beef, Goat Stew or
Fish, with rice, vegetable and salad,
runs from 16 EC to 20EC. You could easily split one of
these meals between two people. They also make hamburgers
and salad plates (ask). When available, the meat loaf is delicious.
They also cook a lot of meals for take-away, and serve
dinner. Give them a try.
Ronnie's Seahorse Resort Is Open
The intimate Seahorse Resort on Rendevous Bay has
been re-opened after Luis and is welcoming
back many of its loyal repeat guests.
Where Can I Buy Pop/Beer/Wine By the Case?
Help! I am addicted to the soft drink TING. Where can
I buy it by the case? Go to the Tropical Flower
wholesale outlet in The Farrington. 809-497-4315. They
also sell Heineken and Coors Light and a nice Glen Ellen
Chardonnay and the case prices are very reasonable.
To find it, head east on Coronation Blvd toward the gas
station in The Valley, continue east through the traffic
light toward East End, when you see the Caribbean Beacon
Radio Tower on the left look for Tropical Flower
wholesale on the right. Service is fast and friendly,
the ambiance is "shady, cool, West Indian warehouse".
Hidden Anguilla: Fantasy Snorkelling
Anguilla has many hidden delights.
Try Jobsie Bay for snorkelling in protected, quiet, shallow
Swim or wade over to the right side of the bay and
enter a small cave with a "hot tub"
and an opening where you can stand up and view the coast line.
Re-enter the water and look for the underwater bridge.
This is snorkelling on an intimate scale. Go slow and
wear reef shoes or old runners and you will have an
There are no houses nearby (and no shade or
protection from the constant wind either, so this is not
a major sunbathing destination) -- you will probably be
the only people in the entire area.
The bay is protected by a pair of reefs offshore, so
the big waves are usually reduced to tiny ripples.
The water is shallow and is clear on most days.
This tiny crescent bay is directly across Long Pond
from the Caribbean Beacon tower. You turn right 100 yards past
"Tropical Flower" wholesale in the Farrington
at the road down to Long Pond Bay (if you reach the roundabout
you went a little too far).
Continue on the track through the seagrapes across the
ithmus of Long Pond. Since the hurricane, this "road"
ends in a 100 yard stretch of sand, only to resume on
the rock on the other side. If you have a 4WD, just
drive across. If not, consider parking and hiking the rest
of the way (1/2 mile or so). The road goes to the right
along the southern edge of Long Pond, then turns left
and runs directly to the coast.
42 Inches of Rain in 1995
The Agriculture Department in The Valley recorded 42.25
inches of rainfall for 1995, but there were only 90 days
when it rained. This is almost double the 1994 figure of
22.4 inches, spread over 60 days. Most of the rain
fell in September during Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn
(16+ inches). The island was extremely dry up to the end of
August with only 14.7 inches to that point.
Anglec Applies to Raise Electricity Rates
General Manager Errol Hartley asked customers to
recognize the need for this increase due to
large losses sustained by the company from the onslaught
of Hurricane Luis and also the need to put the
company on a firm commercial footing, so that shares
could be offered to the public in the near future.
Recent News Items from St. Martin
The news from Anguilla can be unexciting, so
here are a few news items reported during the last week in
The Daily Herald from neighboring St. Martin:
- A couple from the Dutch side were robbed at
gun point Saturday morning as they were leaving
the night club L'Aventure.
- A KLM 747 was delayed at Juliana Airport for two days
after an engine gave out
half way from Europe to St. Martin.
The flight made it in on three engines and a new engine was
flown in (in two pieces because it was too big
to fit inside a 747 cargo plane).
- A voodoo doctor was arrested for casting spells
in the restaurant Le Jarbin Tropicale after he attempted
to cut off the hand of the owner of the restaurant.
- Only a handful of people have been able to qualify for the
Emergency Unemployment Insurance on the Dutch side,
because most people received
mandatory redundancy payments from their destroyed
"If someone is fired and gets 20 weeks of salary they
can only come into the program after that period. But
in practice people do not save their redundancy payment
to get them through that period."
- Two French locals were robbed at knife point on Grand
Case beach early Friday evening. With the help of the
local population of Grand Case the thief was arrested
only a few minutes later.
- Baby found abandoned. M.M. told the police
she no longer wanted her 9-month old child. Police
discovered that M.M. did not have legal papers,
so she and the child will be sent back to Haiti.
- Three stabbings in one weekend. Following a
fight outside the Last Stop Disco a 27-year old man
from the Dominican Republic is wanted by the police.
In the case of N.W. who says he was stabbed by "Reggie",
police shortly spotted "Reggie", who is well known to them,
and arrested him. In the last case, T.C.E. said that
the woman L.B. stabbed him with a fork in connection with
a drug deal. He had little cuts on his head, but did not
want to make an official complaint. (Police reports
from St. Martin always use initials, not names.)
- Major drug catch off St. Marten. The Dutch navy,
in cooperation with the US Coast Guard,
intercepted cocaine worth $60 million on the street
that was spotted being dropped from an aircraft into
the sea near St. Martin.
Coccoloba Still Rebuilding
In answer to a query from New Jersey I called the
Coccoloba to see if they were open. No one
answered the phone (809-497-6871), so I talked to
the Tourism Department. They report that Coccoloba is
still busy rebuilding. They hope to reopen in February,
but a firm date has not been set. Reportedly the
beach at Barnes Bay was eroded by the hurricane (as
were several others), but has already partially
restored itself through the natural action of winter
storms. Neighboring Sea Grape Beach Club (809-497-6433)
is open again
and La Sirena (809-497-6827) has been open for a long
time (the gardens look very nice again--the bougainvilla
up the sides of the buildings are in glorious bloom).
Le Bon Pain Bakery and Pastry Shop
Bernard and Yvonne's french bakery in Island Harbour
reopened this week. We had incredible chocolate
croissonts and apple pastry for breakfast today.
They also have wonderful french bread and desserts.
809-497-8090, open from 6 AM to late at night.
Then can also bake a delicious pizza.
Le Bon Pain has moved to a new location
further into Island Harbour, on the right, watch for
their sign by the road.
VISA Card Mystery in Anguilla
Recently when I eat out at restaurants in Anguilla
they have been converting my bill from US$ to EC$ for
the VISA charge. The story going around is that
the EC Central Bank has made a rule forcing all
credit card bills to be denominated in EC$. (This is not
as much like being forced to use Mexican pesos as it
sounds because the EC$ is tightly linked to the US$,
but there is a slight spread of EC$ 0.02 between the
buy and sell price. So your restaurant bill will go up a tiny
bit when it is converted back to US$ by VISA.)
However, "informed" sources tell me that the Central Bank never
made such a rule. Another source tells me a story that
sounds feasible: charges on the new local EC$ VISA cards
must be written in EC$ or the merchant doesn't
get paid at all. Tourist VISA charges can still be
written in US$, but the message has not gotten through
very clearly. And some places may have made a policy of
writing all charges in EC$ so as not to miss any EC$ VISA
cards (even though there are only a handful of these
likely to show up at a tourist restaurant).
Whatever the reason, this is a
bad sign on an island that promotes itself as having
no currency restrictions. It is confusing for the tourists
and will no doubt lead to clerical mistakes with some
bills going through in US dollars that should have been
EC (this multiplies your bill by 2.7 times!), and vice
versa (this divides your bill by 2.7, much nicer).
And it probably means that the waiters don't get any
extra tips added on to the VISA slips since the customer
is not as comfortable with the EC$.
Hidden Anguilla: The Ice Cream Truck
Continuing my series on "Anguilla delights"
that the tourist may not know about.
If you drive by a small blue and white truck that
says "El Gelaterooo" parked on the side of the road,
stop, stop immediately. You have been fortunate
enough to spot Ranny and Joe's travelling
Anguilla Ice Cream emporium. For a very small fee you
can have a cone or a quart of the best home-made ice cream
I have tasted in years (Italian style, but just a bit
less "icey" and a tad more creamy). They also sell from
their plant behind Norman B's (closed monday)
and may soon have a retail
outlet in The Valley. 809-497-3317.
"Fire Fire, and other stories of Anguilla"
I bought this fun book (really a booklet) for EC$ 16.90 in the
Antigua airport transit lounge and have never seen
it for sale in Anguilla. It contains newspaper articles
written by Henry Howard, a British expat who was building
a house on Sandy Hill Bay at the time of the Anguillian
revolution. Here's an excerpt from the title story set
on May 30th, 1967, the day the Anguillans kicked the
St. Kitts policemen off the island and repelled police
Suddenly the pilot gunned the engines and we started
climbing again. Goats, I thought, on the airstrip. A well
known Anguillian phenomenon. We made a wide circle and banked
into a tight turn on our second aproach. The whole airstrip
became visible to me across the aisle through a portside
window. The picture was quite clear. Oil drums had been
laid across the airstrip. Two bulldozers strategically sited
on the runway defied anything to land except a helicopter.
Cars and trucks were racing parallel to airstrip towards the
little airport building where a large crowd was
assembled. Later on a Kittian passenger complained that he had
seen people with "rock stones in their hands ready to throw
at us if we landed", but neither my eyesight nor my
imagination could corroborate this. The Captain's
interpetation of the situation was, I think, the correct one. He came over
the blower again. "Ladies and gentlemen, it seems to me that
the good people of Anguilla don't want us to land. I am
taking the aircraft to the Juliana Airport, St. Martin.
Flying time about five minutes." And with that he gunned his
engines again and off we went.
Harbour Lights Open in Island Harbour
Yesterday I went over see how they were doing at
the Harbour Lights efficiency apartments on
the waterfront in the picturesque fishing village
of Island Harbour. All the windows facing the water
were blown out by Luis, but have been replaced and
the damage repaired. Kathy, the manager, still has a
small crew there repairing her house, but the studio
units are open and booked with the people who usually
come every February. This looks like a real bargain
for Anguilla, $70 to $100 per night, depending on
the size of the apartment. 809-497-4435.
Red Stripe Cricket in Anguilla
The big cricket match between the Leeward and
Windward Islands started at Ronald Webster Park
today. If I could understand cricket I could
give you some informed details since it is covered
exhaustively on Radio Anguilla. I do know that the
match lasts 3 days and very little work gets done
on the island during the match.
Valerie New Manager at Arawak
Valerie Patanella, who used to manage
Harbour Villas, has been named the new
manager at Arawak Beach Resort in
Island Harbour. The resort has reopened, although
the pool and restaurant are still closed (of course
you are right on the ocean and Cyril's and Smitty's
restaurants are just a short walk down the beach).
The distinctive octagonal guest units suffered very
little damage from the hurricane, even though they
are made of wood and have shingled roofs. Perhaps it
was the shape. The rooms are renting at the off-season
rate of $100 per night this year and guests we had staying
there found the Anguillian owners and
staff extremely friendly and nice. Call Valerie at
809-497-4888 to book a reservation or to arrange a scuba
Don't Miss the Police Week Fashion Show
Police week starts tomorrow with a special service
at the Anglican church. There are activities
almost every night. The one I enjoyed most last year
was the Fashion Show, with live music, barbecue, bar,
children wandering around, entertainers, and of course,
fashion modeling by pairs of police officers: male and
female. Not like any stuffy fashion show you ever
attended in the States. Don't miss it, Tuesday night January 30th, at the Police Recreation Hall
next to the government offices. Music is supposed to be
by the Mussingtons. Other nights include calypso show, Gospel
concert, guest artist night, and a dinner/dance. The climax
of police week this year will be on Saturday evening
with free entry for everyone to a block-a-rama on the
police grounds with music provided and
drinks, barbecue, and fish fry for
. . . continue virtual vacation