“It’s a unicorn.” Patrick shook his head. “Like Atlantis or El Dorado, it doesn’t exist.” My husband has a flare for the dramatic.
I was pretty sure Anegada was a real place, we’d just never been there. It wasn’t like we hadn’t tried. For the past 17 years of bouncing around the Caribbean on boats, the weather had turned us back each time we’d attempted to go. This time we weren’t taking any chances. This time we were flying.
Anegada is the northernmost of the British Virgin Islands so it was a quick flight from where we left the boat in St. Thomas. I knew our plane would be small, but I didn’t expect to be only one of three passengers that day.
Upon entering the tiny cabin, our flying mate took off his fedora, shook the much younger pilots hand and said, “Busy flight today, Frankie.” True, there was only one other seat available, and it held a pile of beat-up, dusty, scuffed bags that looked like they’d been dragged behind the plane, but I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea of three people meaning busy.
It wasn’t until I’d been on the island for a day that I realized busy was relative. is is an island with less than 300 people living on it. The fact that there are more flamingoes on the island than visitors should have been my first clue this was going to be a quiet weekend.
But sometimes quiet is a good thing. For once, we would spend time relaxing and listening to the waves crash on Horseshoe Reef instead of trying to surf them. “Come on.” I pulled Patrick’s arm causing the hammock on our patio where he was lying to swing. “Let’s walk down the beach.”
He set his book on the side table and pulled his sunglasses down his nose to look over their rim at me like he couldn’t quite comprehend what I was saying.
I knew before he even protested this would take some tempting. “There’s a beach bar.”
“Why didn’t you say so?” Like many Caribbean beaches, the sand was white and delicate, the sky overhead a baby blue color, and the sun shone bright and blinding. What wasn’t like any other beach was the fact we were the only people on this stretch of paradise. We followed one set of footprints that had faded with the lapping ocean. They led from a line of seaweed to a pile of shells, driftwood and debris. Broken sections of fishing nets, one lone flip-flop and a dirty once-white buoy had all washed ashore and lay half-buried in the sand.
“I’ve been combing beaches around the world for a Japanese glass ball for 30 years and never found one.” Patrick ran ahead. “Today could be the day.” All of the sudden he loved the idea of scouring the sand.
I was about to point out that sitting in beach bars and bobbing in surf breaks didn’t constitute combing the beach but bit my tongue as this was only one of a dozen times Patrick had agreed to walk on the sand with me without an extreme sport as the destination. I didn’t want to ruin it. But the leisurely stroll I was envisioning was a little more active as we raced from one pile of rubble to the next sinking in the sand and sifting through fragments of someone’s life at sea. We came up empty-handed.
“You ready for a lobster lunch now?” I dusted the sand from my hands as we set o over the dune to scope out the restaurant and bar.
Anegada is an island known for its lobster. The famous Caribbean crustacean was served grilled on menus like many islands, but there were also a number of interesting and exotic dishes. Lobster pizza, nachos, curry, bruschetta, and toast were just a few of the items on the menu that afternoon.
I chose one of my favorites; lobster tacos. Steam curled off the coral colored meat wrapped in a corn tortilla and dissipated in the hot humid air around me. I gingerly picked it up, folding the ends in tight as not to lose one bite of the chili-spiked lobster. in shreds of cabbage crunched while the tender texture of the meat melted in my mouth. Sweet soft mangoes mixed with the tang of lime juice as the burn of chilies had me reaching for my rum drink. I curled my toes in the sand under the picnic table and took another bite. It wasn’t long before there was nothing left.
“Time for a nap!” Patrick had inhaled his lobster BLT and was signaling for the check. He really was getting into the idea of a relaxed vacation. We dragged ourselves back to our hotel at a more leisurely pace, our bellies full. Patrick kicked at a piece of driftwood and peered underneath but didn’t investigate much further. There would be no elusive glass ball this trip.
Dinner that night was an expansion of the lobster theme with items such as lobster bisque, fettuccini and salad. It was blackened, in alfredo sauce, spiced Diavola-style, and fried as a fritter. There didn’t seem to be much these chefs couldn’t do with the crustacean.
Life on Anegada is laid-back and slow just like our weekend turned out to be. The days rolled along from one lobster meal to the next until it was time to board the same small aircraft back to St. Thomas. If we needed one more reminder of the glacial pace of life, we got it. As we waited alone in the one-room airport, a distant whining of an emergency vehicle grew closer. e alarm seemed out of place on such a quiet island, much more suited to the hustle of a city.
I placed the magazine I was flipping through on the bench and walked over to the window. Outside, a yellow fire and rescue truck revved its engine and sped along the short runway blaring its siren. On the far end, a scrawny brown cow that had been grazing on the grass beside the pavement strip meandered off into the field beyond barely taking notice of the truck barreling down toward it. Runway clearance island-style.
I laughed, wondering if this was an everyday drill. “ at might just be the most exciting thing to happen on this sleepy island.” I wrapped my arms around Patrick and kissed him. “We may not have found your elusive Japanese glass ball, but we did discover Anegada. It’s not so mythical after all.”
- 4 lobster tails
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 tablespoons Caesar dressing
- Hot sauce
Remove lobster meat from the shell and dice into bite-sized chunks. Bring a pot of water to a boil with sea salt and lime juice. Add the lobster meat and stir. Remove from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Drain and mix with Caesar dressing and hot sauce to your liking. Taste for seasoning.
- 1⁄2 cabbage, cored and shredded
- 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
Mix all the ingredients together.
- 1 ripe mango
- 2 tablespoons red onion
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1⁄4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Dice mango uniform half-inch size. Mince the red onion and jalapeno as small as possible to evenly distribute heat. Mix all the ingredients together and taste for seasoning.
Warm eight corn tortillas in a frying pan until they begin to turn golden in color. Top with lobster, coleslaw and mango salsa.