Return to Paradise, Part 8

Limin’ on a Sunday Afternoon



For the first time this vacation I wake after the sun rises. Or, more accurately, as it is rising. I know it is time but I remain under the covers, luxuriating in the comfort of the fourposter bed, enjoying the ocean breezes through the louvered doors as the surf crashes below.

Today is our last full day on the island. I imagine I should be panicking, knowing this will be our final opportunity to enjoy all Anguilla has to offer, at least for a good long while.

But instead I’m feeling a sense of surrender. There is no way we can possibly squeeze in everything we still want to do. We cannot make it to both Sarjai’s and E’s Oven, two restaurants I’ve been dying to try, and certainly not back to the Barrel Stay. In fact, we’ll be lucky to make it to any of them. That notion of mine for lunching with Mark at Jacala while the kids grab a bite next door at Blanchard’s Beach Shack? Yeah, that’s not going to happen either. I think this family is plumb dined out.

And you know what? I’m okay with that.

Don’t think I didn’t hear your jaw just hit the floor. Yes, I am fully capable of riding the current of popular choice. I don’t always have to be Julie McCoy, hustling the family along with my clipboard in hand. I can chill.

Funny story: I didn’t learn to swim until I was in my teens (which probably explains my skittishness with snorkeling, right?). And because of this, I’m a firm believer that everyone should learn this skill in early childhood, because believe me, any later in life and it becomes an ordeal.

In particular I remember learning to float on my back. I would throw my body backwards and kick my feet up, then try to will myself to stay afloat. Inevitably the water would close in over my face.

Over and over I tried. I can be doggedly stubborn when it comes to certain things, such as acquiring a stupid skill that the rest of the human population can accomplish without thinking. Yet over and over I kept sinking.

Until, that is, my uncle told me that was my problem, that I needed to just stop thinking, stop trying so darn hard. Just puff out your chest, he said, and let go. Just let it come.

So I took a deep breath, stuck out my chest, pointed my toes, and just let go.

And guess what? It worked! I floated, and have floated every try since then. In fact, I can’t remember why it seemed so hard in the first place.

Sometimes you have to stop trying so hard and just surrender, let the water carry you.

So that’s the plan for our last day on Anguilla. We (and by that I mean “I”) will just let this day carry us where it will, no stress.

That’s not to say there’s not a few definite items on the agenda. It is Funday Sunday, after all.

After a leisurely morning of dipping in the pool and eating leftover pizza, we strike out for Meads Bay.

A trip we decide to make by way of Forest Bay. Because why not check out another new-to-us beach? Especially as it should be just a quick jaunt down Tanglewood Road.


It is not quick at all.


Hmm… would you risk it?

Note: Tanglewood Road has the SAME DESIGNATION on the map as John Hodge Road, that road that leads to Meads Bay.


We pull over to evaluate the situation. Which course should we take? Can we even go any farther without tipping the car?

Just as we’re trying to figure out how to get the car turned around and head back to safe ground, a tiny Suzuki the size of a love seat comes barreling up this very road.


Same type of car, seen later at Meads Bay

The dreadlocked driver waves to me cheerily.

We decide to power on down the road (sorry again, Ronnie!).



Somehow we manage to land at Forest Bay relatively unscathed. And decide we’ll stick to the well known roads for the rest of our brief time here.



Another attempt to memorialize the moment


YOU try working with this bunch of clowns!


Meads Bay is perfect today, hardly a swell at all.



We land back at Blanchard’s Beach Shack for lunch.

And since I am in full limin’ mode, it doesn’t even enter my mind to take a single picture of it. I get the fried shrimp (don’t judge– it’s my last day of vacation!). I have no idea what anybody else orders.

We plunk ourselves down on the beach, where we lounge for the next couple of hours.



Eventually we rouse ourselves out of our stupor and mosey down to Ocean Echo, where we find our favorite Andrea waiting tables, Omalie 360 on stage, and the Greens at lunch.



Delacroix, hard at work keeping things running smoothly!

We have an action-packed couple of hours at Ocean Echo, listening to the band, helping to free a boat that has grounded on the beach, and sharing a famed Rumzie (or two) with the Greens (Paula and Peter, thank you for the cocktails, and for your delightful company. I know we will meet again in the future!), before the day carries us on to Rendezvous Bay to catch the end of Reggae Sunday at the Sunshine Shack.


Does it feel like this day is ripping by at warp speed? Because it is. That is how your last day on the island will go, and there’s not a thing you can do about it except put your feet up, point your toes, and ride the current.


The vibe at the SSS is different, more down-to-earth than that at Ocean Echo. Mystic Vybes is performing reggae, the real deal, not the contemporary cover material done by so many other bands. We are in our element.




Unfortunately we are also in the final hours of daylight. We get to bob our heads for just about an hour before the sun starts to sink low.


We grab some ribs and coleslaw to go, the only things Garvey has leftover from lunch, and make the trek back to the villa to watch the sun set over Sandy Hill Bay.



But Funday Sunday is not over for us yet.

My original itinerary had the Barrel Stay slated for dinner tonight, an opportunity for Mark and I to return to our favorite restaurant from our honeymoon, and introduce our children to that famous fish soup.

Not going to happen. It got knocked off the itinerary Friday night, when we ticked “fancy sit down seafood dinner” off our list at Mangos.

It was temporarily replaced with plans to visit either Sarjai’s or E’s Oven, more down-to-earth establishments offering local fare like creole snapper and curried goat stew. Frankly I’m more excited about dining at either of these places than another fancy restaurant. Stew me up an old shoe and chances are I will be perfectly content.

But this is not going to happen either, I realize by sunset. The girls, it soon becomes clear, are wiped out and will not be leaving the villa, content to graze on the ribs. And while Mark and Aaron would like to go out for our last night, it is not for a sit-down dinner.

We return to our old stomping grounds of Sandy Ground, where the Funday Sunday party continues at Dad’s.

Except there seems to be no party, or at least no live music. Our waitress informs us there’s been a death in the family for one of the members of EarthLight, and they will not be playing tonight.

Devastating news! No fancy seaside dinner, no cozy dinner of stewed goat with the locals, and now no music.

This is sad stuff, people.

At least there’s calypso wings.

And then, just as I am tucking into them, I see people with instruments and microphones rustling up on the stage. What’s this?

It’s not EarthLight, it’s clear; they have not miraculously appeared. But it is a band. Not a reggae one, but also not a cover band. Instead these guys start playing another type of Caribbean music, soca, and it is the perfect compliment to my calypso wings.

We dance with the mix of tourists and locals until around 10 o’clock, when the DJ takes over the stage, then reluctantly tear ourselves away.


Bye bye, Dad’s. Bye bye, calypso wings.

Our last day, for all practical purposes, has been perfect. Sure, not a whole lot of food, captured in fewer pictures, but it has been filled with the things we love most about this island: gorgeous beaches, great music, and so many beautiful, generous people. All this, topped off with one last late-night swim in our beautiful pool, one last blissful night’s sleep in our luxurious beds.



4 thoughts on “Return to Paradise, Part 8

  1. Another perfect day, Forest Bay looked nice, whenever I have seen it, it was filled with seaweed. Sorry to hear you did not get to Barrel Stay, it is one of our favorites, Jill is always so kind and caring, and we love Graham’s cooking, one place we never miss.
    Thank you for all your posts, they have been wonderful.


    • There was a lot of seaweed there this time too. In fact, there was a lot more seaweed in general. I certainly hope it has cleared up some since!
      I am very sorry to have missed the Barrel Stay, especially if the rumors of them closing are true.

      Thank you again for reading!


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