Thursday, 27 March 2008

The Festival Del Mar was such fun! The whole community turned out to support it and there were lots of visitors to go around the various food stalls and stands.

The Anguilla Sailing Association came along with the kids from the Anguilla Youth Sailing Club and Kenny Richardson did well to win the Optimists race. Captain Lue won the Sunfish race and was jubilant "I'm one of the main guys," he modestly remarked afterwards.

Four brave fishing boats went out in the still-heaving seas for the Fishing Tournament. Two returned in time for judging and Roger Smith won the Best Catch category. He had a great weekend as he also won the Adult Model Boat Race and competed in the Adult Triathlon. Asked what he thought of his achievements he said,"I am proud and I am the best fisherman in Anguilla!"

As the weather had been so bad, the traditional boat races were curtailed. One Class B boat sank on the prerace warm up and had to de-sail before being refloated.

Food was spectacular as is to be expected on an island with the reputation for culinary expertise. The Island Harbour beach restaurant, Coté Mer, served delectable Paella with ingredients donated by several island businesses and gave all proceeds to the local St Andrews Church. Local vendors cleaned and sold fish on the roadside.

Music went on into the night. The delightful Garvey and his Satisfaction band got people into the mood on Saturday evening.

In all this first Festival Del Mar was a success and lessons learnt this year will go towards making it a must for everyone, local and tourist, next year.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Festival Del Mar

Today is the first day of the Festival Del Mar in Island Harbour in the east of Anguilla. It runs over the Easter weekend.

It is truly a celebration of all that the sea offers. There is a culinary exhibition, local boat racing, model boat racing, a fishing tournament, optimist and sunfish children's boat races, triathlons and lots of music.

Joe and I are off to visit this event and are hoping that the weather does not spoil all the work that has gone into it. The sea has abated somewhat but it is not completely quiet. At present, the weather is cloudy and overcast.

I am covering the event for a magazine so I am hoping that all the events get to go on. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

The Sea, The Sea...

The sea is raging about Anguilla at the moment. Something has upset Mother Nature and she is letting us all know it.

Waves, such as I have never seen in three years of living in the Caribbean, are battering the island and the ferry ports at both Blowing Point here on Anguilla and at Marigot, on neighbouring St Martin, have been closed for two days.

The Barbados and Saint Lucia Meteorological Offices issued a Severe Weather Advisory message on March 18, which stated that significant wave height was expected until the end of March 20. So far today, as you can see, there is no indication that Mother Nature is calming down.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

The Best Laid Plans....

I had such plans for today.

I have three interviews to write up after downloading and transcribing my dictaphone. I have some photographs to finish sorting out to send to an editor in America and I need to make contact with some elusive people I have been asked to interview.

I had it all planned out. I would email some contacts to see if they could put me in touch with the DJ, the musicians and the teacher I am trying to reach. Then I would spend some time with my dictaphone and after that I would write the articles. Easy eh?

Well, of course, the day was not going to go to plan, was it? First the internet connection went down. Then the electricity died. I worked as long as I could before the laptop battery died and then I was left, bereft.

I tried calling to find out what the problem was but Digicel was down too. The landline was still working but the telephone/fax machine is electrically powered.... Luckily, we have a little handset in our bedroom and that was working, so I called the power company to be told that the power would be out until 2pm. Heavens, an age!

In the meantime, the temperature was spiralling without air conditioning or fans. We do not get a lot of through breeze on Sea Rocks, despite being at the top of a cliff, so a fan at least is a must.

My salvation came in the shape of a lovely lady who makes quilts and who owns an 'Artists Retreat.' We had already met earlier this week but it had not been convenient to visit the retreat on that occasion. I called her and so ended up being shown a charming residence, which personally I would not mind living in and writing the book I have been putting off for ages. Quiet and peaceful, quaint and with a view out over the island, I can well understand why so many people come to visit and end up staying for several months at a time.

By the time I got home the power was restored. Hurrah!

Now I have to catch up with all the things I should already have completed!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

A Charming Day Out!

Saturday I was privileged to sail on a grand old lady. The Charm III is a lovely, creaky, sleek Dame. Her owners, Richard and Maryse West, clearly love her and the crew, 12 and 13 year old lads from the Anguilla Youth Sailing Club, think she is wonderful.

Built in 1928 in Sweden, she was rebuilt here on Anguilla when her timbers rotted and her frames rusted. Richard, no trained carpenter, faced and met the challenge of completely fitting out the interior by modeling all in cardboard first, to see if what he wanted to put in would fit. The result, in polished teak and mahogany, is beautiful in its gleaming perfection.

The masts, the coach windows and the keel are all original. The hull is now made of Iroco wood from Africa, which marine boring worms find toxic.

The refit took sixteen years to complete. The dedication of this couple, he English, she French, is extraordinary. How many people would spend such a period of time on the project? It truly was a labour of love.