Everything was lining up great for a mini-cruise with our friends on Delancey. After a month-long flogging by the Christmas winds, things finally went calm – giving us the perfect window for a short sail from St. Martin to Anguilla, and – we thought – a slightly longer one from Anguilla to St. Barts later in the week.

How foolish of us to expect one whole week of great sailing conditions.

As we listened to Chris Parker our first morning in Anguilla, he warned that the mother of all cold fronts (remember those from the Bahamas?) was heading south, bringing with it a horrific north swell. Meaning – even if we could sail from island to island, which we wouldn’t do in a cold front, we’d have uncomfortable days and sleepless nights  to look forward to. And so, we scrapped the St. Barts idea and made the most of a lovely long weekend with Delancey in Anguilla.

The island is flat and designed for maximum relaxation. Its beaches are spectacular. I read somewhere that Anguilla has “brown sugar sand” and that’s such an accurate description – every beach is drenched in off-white, fluffy, pure awesomeness, perfect for strolling. There are also good restaurants all over the place – from tacos at a shack to beachside tapas, we ate quite well in Anguilla.

Best of all is what’s not in Anguilla – no high-rise resorts, no cruise ships. Jet skis, the enemy of sailors, are prohibited. No big masses of people anywhere on the island – Just a bunch of tiny boutique hotels and villas with little clusters of colorful umbrellas. Reggae music in the air. Very chill.

We rented a car and drove from beach to beach one day – there were so many beautiful spots that we couldn’t pick a favorite. We also spent a fair amount of time chilling on our “home beach” in the harbor at Road Bay, where we anchored. We did a little swimming, some lounging and maybe too much eating. Brian and I took the dinghy to another bay, on the hunt for good coral and fish. We were surprised to discover that the visibility was not excellent, even though the water was otherwise very clear. I was engulfed by a bait ball while snorkeling, which was a first for me (see photo below).

With the cold front roaring our way and the swell already starting up, we parted ways with Delancey. Pete and Deb are Antigua-bound, as they continue their journey south. Brian and I have returned to Sint Maarten – this time on the Dutch side – to wait out the weather on land as we haul the boat out of the water for a sanding job and new bottom paint. We’ll look back fondly on our magical getaway to Anguilla, we we endure life in the yard.

Calm, easy sail from St. Martin to Anguilla

Another day, another new lure. This one attracted a tiny fish, too small to eat.

Kids’ sailing team race off Delancey’s bow in Road Harbor

Our “home beach” in Road Harbor

These cocktails from Dad’s beach bar contain vegetables. That makes them healthy, right?

The world famous Elvis’ Beach Bar, playing a reliable mix of Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, and songs related to Elvis, like “How I Got to Memphis”

Amazing tacos at Elvis. Fish for me, goat for Brian

I almost got this guy into our dinghy to come live with us before Brian stopped me.

They took one look at Pete and issued him an expired license to drive a car for 72 hours.

Cappuccino treat to start our road trip

The New York Times called Straw Hat restaurant a “delight for homesick New Yorkers”. It delighted these four New Yorkers for sure.

Frangipani at Mead Bay

We’re already missing these two

Inside a bait ball – surrounded by fish on all sides!