A couple of posts ago, I lamented the ruination of stunning beaches with ultra-tourism. Today, I have better news: one of the most stunning beaches ever to bless the earth.
So, start by covering up the snapshot on the left and picturing the most perfect beach you can imagine. OK, take your hand away: is this the beach?
Soft, fine white sand, stretching as far as the eye can see? Tick. Gently lapping turquoise water? Tick. Plenty of shade from palm trees? Tick. Friendly locals? Tick. A few beach shacks and perhaps tastefully-done hotels? Tick, Tick.
On Sunday I visited the gorgeous island of Anguilla, just a 25 minute ferry ride from St Martin. (Of course, I forgot to bring my passport and had to take a later ferry). Anguilla’s beaches are frequently listed on “Top 10 beaches” lists (go on: google it).
After, I was accosted by an Anguillan taxi driver who offered me a good deal to travel with two women from New York, we headed to Shoal Bay East, reportedly one of the most glorious beaches in the Caribbean, if not the world.
After an eventful ferry ride (one young guy had been drinking until what must have been well into the morning and spent the whole journey either lying on the seat or riding with his head out the window, much to the horror of all passengers unfortunate enough to have ended up on his side of the boat).
The journey across stunning cerulean waters (a colour I learned of by watching The Devil Wears Prada, although I absolutely promise this water was the same colour as Anne Hathaway’s sad jumper) landed us on Anguilla, and immigration and customs was a seamless affair. 20 minutes later, we were deposited in paradise. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
I couldn’t wait to jump for a swim, then couldn’t bear to get out; my fingers shrivelled and my tan darkened as I cut through the water. Schools of fish, both big and small, joyously hurled themselves out of the water (imagine the thrill, for them and for me!). With only a few people about, and a smattering of lounge chairs, this was something ripped straight out of a travel brochure and a million holiday fantasies.
There was only one thing wrong with the entire glorious picture: some Texas zillionnaire had bought up land and was constructing a home of what must be unprecedented magnitude and the most hideous design imaginable. Proof positive that money can’t buy you taste, I guess.
Whilst it wasn’t the soul-shifting experience of Tobago, it wasn’t difficult to fall head-over-heels with this spot. I splashed around and gazed at this for hours. At 4pm, we were due to head back, as I needed to catch the 4.30pm ferry. However, the New York chicks decided that 3.57pm was the right time to head back into the water for a swim. The taxi driver and I fumed, especially as I had warned them the driver would be here any minute now…
Not to worry, even inconsiderate women and poor-taste construction were nowhere near enough to ruin an afternoon spent in the lap of absolute perfection.