The British Virgin Islands is quickly becoming the place to be for the average tourist. Since the passage of Hurricane Irma, the average BVIslander is also taking the time to visit the islands and enjoy what they have to offer. Nonetheless, there are several things that are understated on these islands. Whilst Anegada is known for its serenity and quiet solitude if you have a mind to, there is a wide variety of activities for the outdoor adventurer.
You might have visited the island for the annual Lobster Fest, but if you are an avid naturist, a trek around Anegada would be a treat. Make sure to take plenty of water – you won’t be climbing much, but the flat sandy roads can be challenging! Load up on sunscreen and wear your adventure hat and favorite walking shoes when going ashore as the sun can be harsh and one needs to stay hydrated. Bring your binoculars and camera as well for the beauty you are about to behold.
Basically, there are two ferries that offer regular ferry service between Road Town, Tortola, and Setting Point, Anegada on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tortola Fast Ferry (aka Smith’s Ferry) leaves Road Town at 7:00 a.m. while Road Town Fast Ferry (aka Bobby Boat) leaves at 6:45 am. Each boat is scheduled to return to Tortola at 5:00 p.m. daily. Boat fare is $50.00 round trip. Your outdoor adventure is give or take five miles from Setting Point to the Settlement. Remember there is nowhere to stop along the way for bathroom breaks until you get to the Settlement so prepare your bladder as well for the trek.
As you exit the Setting Point area, you travel east for 10mins until you arrive at the Flamingo Viewing Point. The telescope mounted on the observation deck offers a great spot to have a look from a distance at these beautiful shy birds. Interestingly, Flamingo Pond is the largest of the four salt ponds occupying approximately one quarter of Anegada’s total land mass. Don’t take the brackish water for granted, imagine that the life’s blood of the conch and lobsters you enjoy rest on the health of this body of water and the other three ponds. Besides the flamingoes, there are an array of other exotic birds, including Sandpipers, Ospreys, Terns, Kaloo Birds, Blue Herons, and Frigate Birds. See how many species you can recognize. From here you can also clearly see the islands of Virgin Gorda and Tortola in the distance.
If you decide to continue, you will meet Nutmeg Point. Here, you may also see a growing flock of Roseate Pink Flamingos gathering. Continuing your walk going east, you should get to the S. Vanessa Faulkner Botanical Gardens, where the newly erected Anegada sign is. Get your camera out and pose. Be sure and get your pics, these are must haves for your Instagram and Facebook page.
Two options when you get to the gardens, You may either stay to the left which will take you up towards the airport and Loblolly Bay Beach; but your trail continues on the main road. Going straight past the garden, you are going to pass another lookout on the right-hand side which is the conch shell mound look out. Pause for a moment, go upstairs, and view the mound through the telescope mounted there. History has it that these conch shell “graveyards” attest to the presence of aboriginal people and their philosophy when sustaining the coveted food source. This practice lives on and conchs remain plentiful in Anegada. The “artificial” conch reefs also act as a nursery for stingrays, nurse sharks, and other sea life.
Descend the lookout and keep walking till you reach the Settlement, (the main village of Anegada). You will pass the power station. On the right-hand side of the road is a white building (the Theodore Faulkner Museum). The late Theodore Faulkner could be regarded as the ‘Father of Modern Politics’ in the V.I. In historical perspective, the Demonstration on 1949 and the Election which followed in 1950 was crucial to the history and the development of the Virgin Islands1. Many of the artifacts there were donated by his extended family. The museum is open in the mornings at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 2:00 pm daily. Stop by and browse if so inclined.
On the other side of the road is the Anegada Rock Iguana Restoration Facility. It was established in 1997 and comprises 0.38 acres. The NPT, with help from several partners, completed the construction of the Facility which is a series of 6 enclosures, in which there are currently 15 juvenile Iguanas. The island of Anegada supports the last remaining population of the critically endangered Anegada Rock Iguana, whose numbers have been reduced to approximately less than 200 individuals in the wild. Here juvenile iguanas are nurtured to give them a ‘head start’ before being released back in the wild when they are of a size where they are no longer vulnerable to feral cats. Therefore, it is important that they are handled as little as possible by humans. Outside the gate there is information posted about the Iguanas; so you can read up on the program. Alternatively, Call Kelly Bradley or Lionel Smith and let them know when you are coming to Anegada so that they can answer any questions you may have and give you a tour.
Continue to the Fisherman’s Wharf (also in the Settlement). This is where the fishermen come in, off-load, and clean their catch for the day. This is as real as island life gets, a chance to converse with the locals and learn about the nitty gritty of the island. There is also a little kiosk constructed by the BVI Tourist Board that contains pictures and information and is decorated with local conch shells. Peruse these at your leisure. Take your time and enjoy the fresh sea breeze.
Remember to organize transportation to take you to one of the exquisite restaurants to refuel and one of our lovely beaches to recuperate after your long walk and then of course a taxi to take you back to the dock at the end of your day.
A nice start to getting to know the Anegada that the Anegadians know and love.