25/05/2010 - Best Day EVER II

Woke up to find everyone on the hatch had disappeared, apparently there had been a small torrential downpour at about 3.30am and it had cleared everyone out!

As Dan and I were on Galley duty, Brad had kindly counted all the people on board as they returned after the night on shore,.. 42!!  Holy crap, Dan and I had no idea it was going to be so many,.. we rapidly descended into the hold to see what we could rustle up! We decided to keep it simple and after struggling up the stairs with 52 eggs and 50 rashers of bacon with a great deal of trouble we set about making scrambled eggs and bacon for 40+ hungry and hung over sailors!  To ensure we had all the bases covered we also included a potful of porridge and attempted to make some fried mashed potato and veggie fritter-esque things, but they just burned and stuck to the bottom of the pan so we gave up… we didn’t do too badly and only 5 minutes late we served up a sumptuous feast,.. the porridge had turned out a Little lumpy so I was forced to whisk it to remove them,..

I have no idea how Donald cooks so well in the galley,.. I was sweating so much it was pouring off me in small rivers and Sophie helpfully pointed out to me that it looked like I had wet myself,.. I assured her I hadn’t!  By 8am we were off duty and Dan and I caught the next skiff in to make the most of Anguilla,.. neither of us really knew what to expect and after asking a local how to get to the centre (The Valley) he assured us it was only a 15 minute walk so off we went,… about 20 minutes into the walk which rapidly became evident was going to take us considerably more than 15 minutes a taxi screeched to a halt beside us and we discovered Via had spotted us whilst driving up the hill and we jumped in so we could get to the valley in time to actually get anything done…  The Valley was a bizarre place, basically a small collection of shops, hotels and gas stations clustered around the post office, but with no discernable organization.  After studying the map obtained at the post office we headed off to crocus bay which based on our walking experience from earlier looked accessible,.. en route we picked up another couple of trainees and began our little expedition,.. we quickly discovered that the map was not to scale and 20 minutes into our diminutive trek we happened upon “Koal Keel” which advertised a Petit Patisserie and Rum museum,.. seemed to tick all the boxes for an interesting place and despite actually cooking breakfast, neither Dan or I had managed to actually eat anything so were starving.

Koal Keel was a beautiful colonial style building, perhaps a little on the rustic side (i.e. needed a little work!), but the pastries were delicious and Alicia was chatty and helpful, she even gave us a little information on the history of the place,.. originally an old dutch colonial ranch they had tried to reconstruct everything as it had been with original materials, it was like stepping back in time and we enjoyed out breakfast in what can only be described as an English tea room!

We had become a little disillusioned with the walk to crocus bay and as we had agreed to meet everyone else at 11am on the dock to go to Shoal beach which is meant to be the jewel in the crown of Anguilla and so we decided to call toppy our taxi driver.

Shoal beach really was beautiful, and we spent pretty much the rest of the day there snorkelling, swimming, eating, drinking and generally making the most of being on land after being at sea for over 2 weeks.  I borrowed a friends’ snorkel gear and spent a large chunk of the afternoon diving down to peer into crannies and hunt for sea urchins and octopi! At one point while I was a couple of metres down, I heard the distinct sound of a motor and decided it sounded sufficiently close to grab onto a rock and stay on the bottom for a bit,  seconds later I saw the boat zoom overhead,.. bastard!  On returning to the beach Julie said she saw me dive down and the boat zoom overhead, but there was nothing she could do! I figured the same shit couldn’t happen to the same person twice in one lifetime!

All in I saw a ray (eagle I think), wrasses, damsel fish, crabs and a variety of fish that my limited piscine recognition skills let me down on!

Some people enjoyed our time at the beach more than others and we were forced to carry one of our colleagues to a hotel room to sleep off the rum we had all been enjoying!

We all headed to Elvis’ for a few drinks before the skiff and a big night was planned,.. there were a few people who took advantage of Elvis’ more than liberal shots and cocktails and I was proposed to on no more than 2 occasions…. A pretty successful evening I think!

I think the heat had sapped a lot of our energy as a lot of us were quite quiet as the evening progressed and despite Elvis opening up his beach bar exclusively for us there were only a couple of people who didn’t make the 11.30 last skiff back to the boat.  Once back on board I was intent on sleeping in the salon, but within a matter of seconds the sweat drops gathering all over my body made it obvious that I would either have to employ both fans I had brought with me, or find somewhere else to sleep.  The hatch was full and also a bit damp as it had begun to rain again and I bedded down on the aloha deck and slept pretty well on my sleeping bag surrounded by the snores of similarly sweaty and exhausted people!


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