I wrote this a few years ago. It’s about the day I first set foot on Anguilla. I was on a Windjammer Cruise with my friend Sheelagh and we had sailed overnight from St Kitts to Anguilla…
Surely the beach we had moored on was perfect? Silky smooth water that switched from clear, light green to pale blue/grey. Soft demerara coloured sand with a sprinkling of white pebbles and shells. A perfect crescent shape with sheltering cliffs and shady palms, a small beach bar surrounded by foliage and flowers ready to welcome me. But, perfect as it was I couldn’t stay because Denis the taxi man was waiting under the tamarind tree, to take us on an island tour. What followed was a taxi trip like no other. He was the man with the biggest grin I ever saw. He talked nonstop, about the island, his famous brothers, the music and the beaches, the beaches, the beaches. Everyone we passed he hailed, beeped, high fived or pointed out during the short ride. But it was hot on that little bus and much as I enjoyed his Anguilla commentary I wanted to go to back to the beach.
Not too soon we arrived at the ‘world famous’ Anguilla beach, Shoal Bay East. I thought “maybe this will disappoint?” I was pretty sure I’d seen perfection on arrival. Anyway, I’d been to the Maldives and to the Greek Islands, I’d done a Turkish ‘Blue Cruise’.I’d seen world famous beaches.
It was midday, I walked down the little hill towards a blaze of turquoise and white; squinting, curious, and uncomfortably hot. It drew me like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I passed between two brightly coloured buildings, slipped off my sweaty Birkenstocks, and put my toes into caster sugar. Right there – at the public entrance – I stood in sand of the most extraordinary texture I had ever experienced. I heard my friend call “Hurry Trudy!” I moved fast as could. It was so hot I was melting. I went to the left but was still looking down – transfixed by what felt like hot snow or sugar crumbling and crunching softly between my toes. I reached Sheelagh and gratefully dropped my bag on a lounger and stripped to my bikini. Enough of the white – I turned towards the blue. Flat calm, sparkling – tempting me. I moved swiftly now – impatient to get in it. With a moan of pleasure I sunk into turquoise, submerged my head and cooled my brain and my racing blood.
Pure, blue beauty surrounded me. Clear, pristine colour was everywhere. It was cooler than I thought it would be but so refreshing. It was bluer than David Hockney’s sun drenched pools and softer than the fur of Persian pussycat. A thousand shades of blue created by the reflected white from the sandy bottom, the midday sun and a cloudless Caribbean sky. That water lifted me up and held me safely in its loving embrace. I experienced buoyancy, a beauty, a feeling like no other.