Sailing is a sport I have much appreciation for, stemming mainly from the fact that I have absolutely no idea how to do it myself. I’m not completely inexperienced – I did have a go at it while spending 10 days sailing the Greek islands in 2011. I could tie the bumper thingies (technical term) as we pulled into port, and attempted steering at one point way out in open waters. They quickly shooed me off the helm for fear of my increasing the chances for sea sickness with my driving, ahem, style.
But I do love the idea of it. And even more, I love when someone else has the skills I utterly lack and has a boat which they are happy to share with eager landlubbers.
I was beyond excited then when I learned that as part of our #CaptureAnguilla retreat last month Tradition Sailing would be taking our group out on a luxury champagne and tapas sunset cruise to Little Bay. Umm… sunset and champagne and sailing on a classic wooden 50’ gaff rigged West Indian sloop? Yes please! And I’d say the group mirrored my enthusiasm.
The sun was still shining bright when the crew raised the sails to take off. The crew, led by Captain Laurie Gumbs and First Mate Deborah Vos, handled everything as we sipped our mimosas and snapped photos. Tradition was built in 1978 on the Caribbean island of Carriacou, and is a true classic in that she has neither winches nor windlasses. To translate, this means that everything on the sailboat has to be done by hand, making managing the sails themselves that much more of a feat. So it’s a good thing that guests aren’t expected to lend a helping hand.
The sail itself was exhilarating, and the sun was just beginning to fade in the sky as we pulled into Little Bay. We had plenty of time for a swim before dinner would be ready, and in spite of the air temperature cooling, the water proved to be too inviting. Besides, you’re only ever in Anguilla on a sunset sail to one of the most beautiful and secluded beaches on the island once in life, right? Better go ahead and jump in.
The sun was hitting the horizon as we climbed back onboard, just in time to enjoy a delicious spread set out by the crew. Deb herself prepares the dishes on land earlier in the day, and they are fantastic. We all ate to our hearts’ content, pairing it will more champagne and shots of a special Caribbean liquor that undoubtedly puts as much hair on your chest as southern moonshine.
It was well past dark when we finished our last bites of food (or shots, depending on which group member we’re referring to here). The crew had strung lights on the boat, which provided ambiance and some light, but not enough that we couldn’t see the sparkles in the water. As it turns out, bioluminescence can be found here. As if the evening could get any more magical, now we have a personal light show from Mother Nature herself.
The sail back to Sandy Ground seemed much shorter, which may or may not have been influenced by the number of champagne cocktails we enjoyed. This was also a large contributing factor, in my opinion, to the entertainment we had as we glided back – nowhere else does renditions of every classic karaoke song you can think of sound so good, sung at top volume, of course. The docks could probably hear us coming miles out.
We ended the evening by sweating it out in the most energetic fashion at The Pumphouse, a fantastically authentic local bar on The Road Salt Pond, where actual salt is harvested, just down the road. It was yet another highlight in a trip that would prove to be full of moments worth remembering.