One of my absolutely favourite places, and one which I don’t get to visit nearly enough, is Anegada. Fortunately this was briefly remedied last weekend when good friend’s decided to host a birthday celebration up there and the husband and I traveled up for the day to join in…
Anegada is the Northernmost island in the BVI, lying 15 miles North of Virgin Gorda (a mere 9 minute flight away) – it is one of the rare islands in the archipelago that isn’t volcanic and instead is formed of coral and limestone (along with Saba Rock and Sandy Spit). As such it isn’t mountainous, like the rest, but flat – earning it’s name derived from the Spanish word for ‘drowned’ ahogada. *Thanks Wikipedia*
Anyway, enough of the geographical/geological information and more on what makes Anegada such a little beauty.
Anegada is the most sparsely populated of the main islands with a little under 300 residents, add to this the fact that it is probably one of the most difficult islands to get to (ferries run every other day and most charter companies forbid the sailing of their boats to Anegada due to the risk of running aground on the reef) and, as a result, it is not unusual to find yourself entirely alone on one of the long, white stretches of sandy beach such as Cow Wreck (so named because a ship carrying cattle sank just off the shore) or Loblolly.
The (predominantly) sand roads are fun (if a little perilous) to navigate with scooters, available to rent, or if there is a larger group of you the safari buses (pick up trucks with seating in the back for around 8-10 of you, depending on how well you know each other…) are perfect. You are unlikely to see any other traffic, but keep an eye out for cattle and donkeys.
Anegada has the largest coral reef in the Caribbean (Horseshoe Reef), the fourth largest in the world, making it the premier snorkeling spot in the Virgin Islands – teaming with reef fish, Caribbean lobster, turtles and plenty of sharks. In addition to this the large expanse of salt ponds are a perfect spot for the flamingos meaning that there is plenty of local flora and fauna to look at. The flat-calm water and gusting trade winds also make it an incredibly popular location for experienced kite-boarders and other water sports enthusiasts. There are a number of potential hotels that you can stay at on Anegada, but my hands-down favourite is Anegada Beach Club. One of the newest (it was refurbished a couple of years ago) the recent addition of the luxury tents (yes really), with their four-poster beds and decks with hammocks overlooking the beach, has totally elevated the experience making it very hard to beat!
Our most recent visit to Anegada was probably the most special as, for the first time ever, we got to see the mating Nurse Sharks. None of our group (including the BVIslanders) had any idea that these sharks come into the same secluded spot every year and stay for June and July, meaning an almost guaranteed sighting during those quiet couple of months. Nurse Sharks are harmless and they come so far into the shallows that we got to stand right beside these groups of 5-6ft sharks, who barely seemed to notice that we were there.
As a side note, unusually the weather last weekend was very overcast – but this was actually a pleasant surprise. Anegada is absolutely stunning when the sun is shining, but there is also precious little shade which can get a bit overwhelming after a while. I’m already planning my next visit and vowing not to leave it so long this time, there are new restaurants to try (I’m talking about you Wonky Dog) and a tent with my name on it…
(I promise to try and get you some flamingo pics next time!)
For more information about the delightful accommodations at Anegada Beach Club click here.