Adventure, Food, Travel, Uncategorized

Adventures and Misadventures in Paradise

Part 6: We Were Lost, But Now We’re… Lost

Friday. This vacation is going by altogether too fast.

Today is adventure day.

You know those movie scenes in which the background is still and the actors just move across the screen?

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Little Miss Sunshine

If I were to write a screenplay about this day, there would be a lot of these shots. A. Lot.

We head out mid-morning for Iguana Cave off Katouche Bay. The road there is easy enough to follow. Until it ends.

We stop in bewilderment in front of a group of villas at road’s end. A woman with shoulder length blond hair spots us from the front of the villas, and raises her arms in question.
“I think we’re lost,” I yell.

“You’re not lost,” she yells back. “You are found!” She comes to meet us at the jeep.

We explain we are trying to get to Katouche Bay, and she points to the rock sign that says “Katouche Bay” behind us, now as clear as day, and to the drive leading around the villas, which is not so clear. We thank her for her help, and get back on the “road.”

Which, once we round the corner, drops precipitously to a parking lot far, far below. I suppress the urge to jump out of the car, and instead mutter a hasty prayer for the brakes hold.

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Safely parked, we grab bottles of water, and strike out to find the path. I’ve read the directions several times on Nori’s website, and am pretty confident we can find it easily.

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At the far end of the bay we find a path leading up the hill. I recall that it’s supposed to be a bit steep in places, but will eventually level off. And it is steep, but I send these words back to my family in encouragement.

The path does not level off any time soon. And it is hot. And just as I think surely we will round a corner and see the “rain forest” where the path levels off, we round a switchback and come face-to-face with a wire fence.

Must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. So we turn around and hike back down until we come to what appears to be a fork in the trail. We take it, and continue onwards and upwards.

Another wire fence.

We find another fork, and this one is not so steep. Surely this must be it.

No wire fence, but the trail dead ends in a cliff overlooking the bay.

Reluctantly, we decide that the cave is just not in the cards. Actually, only some of us are reluctant; some (namely my husband) are all too glad to put this episode behind us and head to the beach.

Back on Katouche, a man with a boat I had noticed earlier asks if he can help us. No, I say, explaining we were trying to get the caves but can’t seem to find them.

“Oh,” he says, “the trail is right there.” And he points to a clearing in the trees back at the start of the beach, and a trailhead now clear as day. “Just go through there.”

This path is much nicer, flatter, cooler, easy. At least at first. Toward the end it points almost straight back up, and I wonder if we’ve once again gone off trail.

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Rainforest, then some very tall cacti

But just as I am starting to doubt, and the grunts behind me begin in earnest, we arrive at the entrance.

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Mark and Zoe are happy to just sit outside in the speckled shade. Which leaves Lauren, Aaron and I to explore the cave by ourselves.

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Some people are not so thrilled with our adventure

It’s pretty big inside, and cool. If you have a spirit for adventure, I strongly suggest you seek it out.

Just make sure you are on the right path.

The hike down is much easier, and everyone is happy now. And eager to move on to the next adventure: Little Bay.

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Lauren is ready for some beach time

*************

When we were in childbirth classes for our son Aaron, our labor coach advised me that, when the time came, to utilize deep, cleansing breaths to help manage the pain, and to imagine myself in the most beautiful, peaceful spot on earth.

For me that spot was Little Bay, a place so beautiful you’d think it could only exist in your dreams. My husband and I had spent one of the best days of our honeymoon relaxing on its beach. So when I finally went into labor, I imagined myself floating in the serene waters of Little Bay, looking up at the cliffs.

We are excited as we make our way back out of Katouche Bay, looking forward to relaxing on the beach after all our exertions of the morning.  We follow the road back to the other side of Crocus Bay, looking for the turnoff to Little Bay. However, somehow we miss it, and find ourselves at what must be Limestone Bay. We turn back, driving more slowly this time as we search for the turnoff.

Again we miss it. Again we turn back. And again. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Finally we head to Crocus Bay,  hoping to find some help. A handful of kind people under a big tamarind tree give us a detailed description of where to park.

We head back out once again.

At last we find what has to be the spot where they told us to park. But I do not remember it like this at all. Plus, the trail leading down seems much steeper than I recall. How could my memory be so poor?

And then the clincher: Mark and I get to the cliff’s edge, where the rope is (we hadn’t remembered a rope being there before, nor really a need for one), and look down. And look at each other.

This is not the Little Bay from our honeymoon. We have never been here before.

Furthermore, the prospect of shimmying down that rope is daunting. Could we do it? Possibly. Could we get hurt doing so? Probably.

Just at that moment, Lauren, making her way down the trail in flip flops, trips and stumbles, nearly tumbling over the cliff.

Game over. We leave and head to Barnes Bay for the rest of the afternoon. Beautiful, safe Barnes Bay, which ends up being my children’s favorite beach of the trip.

To this day I have no idea where that spot was that Mark and I had found. What I remember is that we were able to park just above the beach, and follow a trail down a 20 (?) foot embankment that was somewhat steep but manageable with a cooler, without the need for a rope. There was a cliff on the east end of the beach; I can’t seem to remember what the other end looked like. There were lots of lizards. And it was stunningly beautiful.

And, no, I did not just dream it up. Unless Mark dreamed the same dream.

***************

 

After the day’s adventures in the wilderness, we decide it’s time to rejoin civilization. So we break habit and toast the sunset with rum punches at Roy’s.

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Apparently the happy hour specials are in the bar only, or over at Roy’s other pavilion in the sand. We discover this after being seated in the main restaurant, but then move to a table in the bar.

I’m here to attest that Roy’s has some of the best fish and chips known to mankind. And what a steal on a Friday night. At $15 from 4-7, it’s an outright gift on the expensive little island of Anguilla.

What’s the cherry on top of a day like this? Dessert at Sandbar, of course. Another helping of that mango crisp, and some house-made lemon sorbet.

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And with that, we are exhausted. There’s probably live music nearby, but it’s back to the villa for us.

(“That’s a mighty big rope.”)

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