Of course, there are worse places to be stranded. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Our plan for the day was to have lunch at Roy's, then hop aboard "Happiness" for the short ride over to Sandy Island for an afternoon of rest, relaxation, and rum, though obviously not in that order.
We hadn't been to Roy's since they moved from Crocus Bay, so we were excited to check out their new digs on Sandy Ground.
It didn't take long to peruse the short menu, and we ordered up a couple of tasty fish dishes -- the fish 'n' chips for me, and the mahi-mahi Creole for my spicy counterpart.
We finished our lunch just in time for the next departure on "Happiness" and were soon on our way.
We were then informed that the cost for the ride would be $20 per person, which is not expensive but is nevertheless a significant jump in price since our last visit to Sandy Island, which was free. (It also happened to be double the published price, which is $10 per person.) No matter. We were already under way, and I certainly wasn't going to walk the plank over a lousy $40, so we anted up.
Unfortunately, the day was a bit too windy to fully enjoy the water, so after disembarking we headed up the beach to a scattering of sunbeds. Delighted to find all but one unoccupied, we picked the shadiest of the bunch and sat down, discussing what we should order from the bar. However, before our behinds could even warm the cushions, a Sandy Island employee was upon us, requesting yet another $25 for the privilege of sharing a sunbed (which I suppose explains the occupancy rate). We stared dumbly at him, as it slowly sunk in that we were about to be $65 in the hole, and Mama hadn't even had a drink yet.
Of course, back home we're lucky if $65 is enough to buy breakfast, so the price wasn't really the issue. And between living in NYC and spending weekends in the Hamptons, we are used to having our pockets unmercifully picked all day, every day, by everyone from our local dry cleaner to the mercenaries who run our parking garage. (Only in New York can you leave the house in the morning with $100 in your wallet, and by lunchtime be down to your last $3. "All I did was walk to work!" is the phrase Angel and I most often text to each other, followed closely by, "I'm hungry. What's for dinner?") Still, I was galled, since what used to be "free" (if you don't count the couple hundred bucks you'll drop on food and drink here) was now starting to feel like a tourist-trappy shakedown.
And so, before they could levy a sand tax on us or require a credit card to use the restrooms, we asked to return to Sandy Ground, figuring we could spend the remainder of the afternoon there instead. Only . . . they wouldn't take us back. "Next boat 3:30," we were told. When we asked someone else, the time was pushed back another half hour. We asked a third person, and now the boat wasn't departing until 4:30. Stranded and broke, we did the only thing we could do.
I don't know, maybe we look like easy marks. It wouldn't be the first time we've been mistaken for people with money.
Finally, the boat was ready to depart, and you can bet whatever's left in your wallet after an afternoon at Sandy Island that I was the first one on it.
Back at Roy's, we were treated like returning royalty, and at least half of that statement is true. And so we nabbed a couple of (free!) loungers and dug our toes into the (free!) sand and even used the (free!) rest room.
The enjoyable afternoon melted into early evening, and we walked the beach one last time before heading back to Sweet Return.
After cleaning up for dinner, I forced Angel to pose for a few pictures with me, which is his very favorite thing right after root canals.
I, of course, am always a model subject.
We then headed off to the one place on Anguilla where you're almost sure to get some bang for your buck: Picante.
And if not, you'd never know it after a few of their potent margaritas anyway. We perused the various offerings, ultimately settling on a couple of local passion fruit margaritas. Although this thing is pulpier and seedier than an issue of the National Enquirer with a blurry photo of Sasquatch on the front, do not be put off. It's actually quite delicious.
Naturally, I ordered the one dish that you should never leave Picante (or even Anguilla) without having: The seafood enchiladas with crab, prawn, and lobster in a creamy seafood bisque, topped with a blanket of melted cheese.
I'm sure Angel had some food, too -- the grilled chipotle prawn burrito? -- but who can focus when there's that much cheese on those enchiladas?
For dessert, our waiter convinced Angel to try to the flan, while I stuck with the classic Mexican chocolate pudding, accompanied by a tiny shaker of cayenne to add some heat.
The flan and pudding may have been dessert, but in true Caribbean style, the real finale to the meal was a couple of boxes of Chiclets.
Back at Sweet Return, we enjoyed a languid night swim before heading to bed.
And if we happened to need some swimmies to keep us afloat after those passion fruit margaritas, well, that'll be just between us.
Not tired of food, drink, sand, and sun yet? Click here to read Part 5!