Friday, April 25, 2008

50 Not Out - Day 7. Loblolly Bay, ARH and the ghost of Ken Bates.

Today we headed off to Loblolly Bay. We had another slight taxi holdup, because the old truck wouldn't start and the dreadlocked driver couldn't get the hood open to try and fix it. After much pulling, pushing, thumping and hammering with the help of Potter from the restaurant, Mitch, who's truck it is, arrived and applied the correct magic to open it up. A quick squirt of petrol into the (diesel) engine and we had lift off.

Loblolly's slightly futher away than Cow Wreck beach, but we had proper roads for further too, since they're black-top to the airport before reverting to packed sand. We saw some of the island donkeys on the way.

Loblolly is another wonderful spot. It's a slightly larger beach than Cow Wreck with a more people, but it's still utterly beautiful and the snorkelling is definitely better. We didn't do much, but snorkel, sit in the sun, eat lunch at the Blue Bamboo restaurant and repeat after lunch, but what a wonderful spot to do that.

We couldn't work out what these little critters were up to as they followed us everywhere. It was only when one of us touched the bottom that we realised they were waiting for us to stir up the sand so that they could sift it for food. Who said that fish were stupid?

These girls were part of a group of about twenty who we met a few places around the islands. It turns out that they're an all-girl acapella singing group on a vacation sharing two very nice catamarans with a lady chaperone and with two young guys organising the trip (including the "medic") who looked like they couldn't believe their luck!

Dinner for my birthday was at the Anegada Reef Hotel. Again a wonderful meal in a wonderful setting - and the one evening we didn't take a single picture! Ah well.

After the meal, we got talking to the lady who runs the ARH. She's been there since the late 1960's, when she went over to Anegada to work for Ken Bates who was trying to set up a mega-resort on the island, having purchased a 199 year lease on 90% of the island, something that would have been a disaster for the island and the islanders. Fortunately, the BVI government managed to make life difficult enough for him that he abandoned the project leaving Anegada to be the un-developed paradise that it remains today. We were horrified that it came so close to being ruined by such an unpleasant character as Bates, but delighted that the BVI government had been able to get rid of him. It was weird to hear his name crop up in such an unlikely place, though.

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