Anguilla Local News

Because Anguilla is still somewhat of an undiscovered paradise, most places here do not have direction signs, tour guides, and interpretation centers. . . .

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 February 15, 1998 - Site Map - Click to enlarge pictures

The Katouche Valley Rainforest

You may not believe it, but Anguilla has a jungle. It is in the Katouche Valley. [Click to enlarge jungle path] [Click for larger view of pond] All the dead trees and stumps among the new growth are reminders of Hurricane Luis, which destroyed all the vegetation in this valley for about 100 yards from the sea.

The valley is full of lush greenery. Anguillian plants that you are 2' high are 6' to 20' high in this valley. There are also bamboo plants, land crabs, and airplants. Partway up the path, there is an interesting old well on the right.

Katouche Valley is private property belonging to Thomakaty Link Ltd, View Fort, PO Box 42, The Valley. Apply to them for permission to hike in it.

News Tidbits from Anguilla

The Overlook is a new restaurant on backroad overlooking Sandy Ground. But it isn't completely new, since it belongs to Cyril and Pru of Cyril's Fish House and still has Chef Dion as well. 264-497-4488.

Art Classes with Lynne Bernbaum start first week in March. 8 weeks. Children and adult classes. 264-497-5211.

Luciano Italian Restaurant opens on Long Bay Road. Open seven days for lunch and dinner. 264-497-6700.

The New World Gallery is located in The Valley, next to the Ice Cream Parlour. They are open daily from 10-6. Current exhibits include "Precious Ancient Jade from China and the Americas" as well as an exhibit of rare silk and gold thread textiles from India and "Spiritual Art of Africa". The Gallery manager, Laura Fleming, will be happy to give you a tour. Telephone 264-497-5950. E-mail: [email protected]

Sylvene Petty now Manager at Covecastles. She has worked at Covecastles for more than ten years as housekeeping supervisor, concierge and Assistant Manager. According to CoveCastles, "She is totally dedicated to guest satisfaction and maintaining the highest standards of hospitality."

New Record for December Tourists. Tourist arrivals for December 1997 were 4,697, just edging out the previous high of 4,663 set in December 1994. This number does not include people who just come for the day.

Frangipani's Dream Vacation Contest. Prize is a five night stay at Frangipani Beach Club on Meads Bay, including meals and a rental car. The contest is open to anyone 21 years old. To enter, you must answer 5 questions on the entry form and validate it with any purchase at Restaurant Frangipani. The contest closes on March 15, 1998.

Cap Juluca Hosting Haitian Art Show for charity. Through the end of March, the exhibit in Pimm's features 46 paintings by Haitian artists. The show will donate a portion of the proceeds toward the purchase of art supplies in Haiti.

Solar Eclipse

On February 26, 1998 the path of a total solar eclipse will pass very close to Anguilla. Our sunlight will be reduced to 95% of normal, while nearby Montserrat will have a total 100% blackout. In Anguilla, first contact will be at 1:05 PM and maximum eclipse will be at 2:30PM.

For more information and pictures:

Dr. Louis Bardfield of the Anguilla Vision Center reminds us that there is a very real danger to the eyesight during a total solar eclipse. Sunglasses are no protection. Looking directly at the eclipse can cause temporary or even permenent loss of sight and the person doesn't even feel any pain. There are special "Solar Safe" filters available which allow you to view the eclipse, but they must not be combined with binoculars or other optical devices.
Read about the actual eclipse event in Anguilla.

It is okay to take pictures of the eclipse, as long as you don't look directly at it yourself. Follow the link above for technical suggestions on getting a good photograph.

Visitor Tips: Internet Booth and Air Travel

[Click to enlarge Larry in the Net Booth] Recently we received a nice email from a visitor, pointing out that Cable and Wireless has an "Internet Booth" available to the public. Here is what she had to say:
I've just read your Internet info and wanted to add that we found another Internet terminal just outside the Customer Care Department to the right of the main entrance of Cable and Wireless. My 9 year old used it to access his favorite Web sites. My husband has read this message over my shoulder and laughed at me --he tells me this terminal is good only to look up Web sites, not to send mail (I read the Washington Post on it, so I was happy).

The booth is open during business hours and is available to anyone, upon payment of a US$4 fee per 30 minutes of use. There is also public Internet access at the library and for only US$2.25 per half-hour, but the one at C&W is air conditioned! These "booths" will be suitable for browsing the Internet, but cannot easily be used to pick up email (you would need to configure an email client on the booth PC, which is a little tricky). However, if you have a free web-based email account, such as Hotmail or at Yahoo-Mail, you can use the browser to read and send email. You could get one before you leave home and forward your other email account to it.

Air Travel Tips: She continues her message:

Also, for your Airlines into, please tell people that Millie Hodge is the very efficient station manager at Wallblake. Due to a death in the family (here in the States) we had to depart Anguilla before our return flight home. Millie waived the $50 change fee ticket and got us on an earlier flight.

During the 2 hours before our scheduled departure (2:12 pm) from SJU to AXA, American made numerous requests for "denied boarding for compensation" volunteers, with payment beginning at $200 ticket vouchers per ticket. They got to $400 just before the flight was scheduled to leave. It is best to volunteer early -- you will receive their final cash offer, but your name will be first on the list of volunteers, and thus you'll be most likely to get the ticket voucher. They gave us $11/per passsenger lunch and dinner meal vouchers (good only at the terrible Caribbean Cafe in the Airport). We did not request a taxi voucher instead. We did take a taxi (Taxi Turistico in the lower level) to El Morro (free admission, owned by U.S. National Park Service, closes at 5 p.m.) the fort, for about $14 each way, and then wandered around Old San Juan to kill time until our 9 p.m. flight.

We once again had a marvelous visit, our 7th, even though we had to come home 10 days early, and will make our reservations for next Christmas next month -- American only lets you book 330 days from your last flight's date.

As I told you when I met you, I so enjoy your postings; you're performing a marvelous service.

Festival Starts off with Sidewalk Minifair

Anguilla's 1998 Cultural Festival got off to a strong start with a sidewalk minifair at the Post Office on Valentines Day. There were lots of interesting local food, drink and crafts for sale, including Passion Fruit juice in honour of the occasion, Goat Mugs, jellies, jams, candies. Also on display were many of the entries in the recent competition of the Anguilla International Art festival.

This is the first event in this year's cultural festival, which will be spread over several months. Upcoming events include a Jollification at the West End village, Saturday Mar 28, and an Old Time Variety Concert and Laughtercise on Friday, Apr 3.

Weather in Anguilla

Weather Summary Anguilla
Today: 80F 26C 60% Humidity, Sunny February 15
Low temp since last news report 73F 22C
High temp since last news report 86F 30C
Low humidity since last news report 43%
Tropical storm web site Link
Five-day weather forecast Link
Live station in Anguilla Link

Several people noticed that our link to the WeatherPost site for weather in Anguilla was pretty odd last month: "You have to check it out to believe it. It seems they are forecasting the weekly high to be 47F and a low of 24F. If this is the case we've definitely packed the wrong clothes. Anyway, we'll assume it's warm and sunny."

WeatherPost seems to have corrected itself, but we have had some very wierd weather anyway. Although it has been generally nice, we had strong westerly winds for 3 days. This is very unusual, since the wind "always" comes from the east. The results?

Planes had to take off the opposite direction from normal, which in Anguilla means you are taking off up hill slightly. American Eagle could not get off the ground with a full load of passengers and had to send in another plane to carry half the load to St. Maarten to catch another plane. And in St. Maarten three wide-body jumbos could not land due to the winds.

Along with the westerlies came high seas, shutting down the ferries and closing the harbour in Sandy Ground. The weekly barge from Miami, carrying the islands fresh groceries and Mary Ann's open-top container of palm trees for our building project, could not unload on Monday, so it went to St Martin, then St. Croix, then Antigua, finally unloading on Thursday. So for several days we had no fresh produce. And Mary Ann almost had a nervous breakdown. This is the second time in twelve years that cargo had to be diverted due to sea conditions.

Visitor Feedback

[Click to enlarge children at computers] Every day brings interesting email messages about Anguilla. Here are two memorable ones from February, 1998:

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998
From: Michael Albert

Do you remember back in December of 1995, just after Hurricane Luis, in desperation I asked you to see if you could locate Paul Neuss at Seafeathers, because the phones were not back up in operation? Thanks to you, we did get in touch. We stayed at a villa in Seafeathers in January of 1996 and are just back from our 5th stay in Anquilla, 3 wonderful weeks in another villa there. We truly love Anguilla; it is a very special place and every year we learn more and more about the local situation (including the political situation) and make new friends.

Your web pages have been a real treat. When we visited the library on January 26th, we saw a bunch of children surfing the net, right across from the main desk. When we got home, we hit your web pages and there was a picture of kids surfing the web in that very spot. It gave us a great feeling. I really think the computer club is great for the kids.....maybe I could help out in some way when we come again next year, God willing.

My wife and I are working on putting together a box of books and supplies to send to the library. Wish we had a computer to send....

For now I just want to rave about Zara's - chef Shamash is super. We only ate out about 5 or 6 times during our stay, but Zara's was our choice three times! The lobster and mango salad appetizer is outstanding.

All the very best.
Mike Albert

Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998
From: Patrick Delaney
Subject: thanks

My wife and I just returned from our first trip to Anguilla and the country is certainly a special place. We spent months reading your news pages trying to plan and then imagine our visit. The pages helped a great deal. We spent a couple of days in Grande Case, St.Martin, slowing down before we took the ferry to Anguilla.

On your pages, we found the perfect place to stay (for us!) on the island - the Rendezvous Bay Resort. It is a little rough around the edges but the sound of the surf each night went straight to the soul.

Thanks to your pages, we knew our way around so well that the four day stay seemed like much longer. We even knew that we wanted to visit Shoal Bay, Sandy Hill Bay, Sandy Ground, Cove Bay, Uncle Ernie's, Smitty's, the Palm Court, Straw Hat, Koal Keel and of course Pressure King and we visited them all.

Our most lasting memory of Anguilla is the kind people. Thanks again for helping to make a far away place seem reachable for without the Anguilla News pages I doubt that we would ever have decided to visit this wonderful country.

Patrick and Rosemary Delaney
Boston, Massachusets USA

Arts Awards

The first annual Arts Awards Banquet was held on February 7, 1998 at the Anguilla Great House. Three awards were given that night, for Community Service, Artist of the Year, and Theatre Arts.

Audrey Brooks Audrey Brooks was winner of the Community Service Award. Those who have met Audrey know that she is full of life and enthusiasm.

This sense of youthfullness, coupled with good health and commitment to serving her community, has made Audrey Brooks into one of the most effective community service volunteers in Anguilla. Her involvement in the work of non-governmental organizations has been considerable over the years. She is President of 'Friends of the Hospital', Treasurer of the National Council of Women, member of the Soroptomist Club and the Women's Craft Group, and has been an active member of the Family Planning Association.

Since retiring from the Public Service in 1991 as a Librarian, she has been a stalwart of voluntary service and support to the Pharmacy at the Hospital and the Special Education Department of the high school where you will find her two days a week helping students enhance their reading skills and overcome learning difficulties.

Michael Martin Michael "Dumpa" Martin is winner of the Artist of the Year Award for his Caribbean folk-ballad entitled "I Must Come Back to Anguilla". Dumpa is a very well known musician on the steel pan and can heard somewhere in Anguilla almost every day of the week. Read our earlier news story.

Since the early 1980's when Michael Martin (aka Dumpa) came to Anguilla from his native Antigua, the people of the island came out and followed him like the Pied Piper. Natives and visitors alike flocked to Johnno's and danced to the sounds of Dumpa's steel pan...Dumpa is now pursuing a life-long passion in teaching children the magic of the steel pan in Anguilla's schools. This easy-going husband and father of two is more than a "magic-pan man", he is also a composer, arranger and songwriter, an artist of pre-eminence who works tirelessly at his craft.

Farrah Banks Farrah Banks is winner of the Theatre Arts Award, for her work in numerous productions of the Sunshine Theatre Company. This Company began in Anguilla nine years ago, with Felix Fleming as the driving force, and has produced 26 major plays since then.

Farrah Banks association with Sunshine Theatre began in 1990, but her first onstage appearance did not come until 1992 when she appeared as Marilyn in The Master of Carnival... Her patience and her ability to grasp and follow directions without the benefit of previous theatrical training was remarkable. Although she was thought to be too young for the part, she auditioned and was chosen to play the role of a Catholic Nun in A Dance in the Dark and what make-up and costume couldn't do, she made up for with her talents. The character of Mother St.Justin have as a glimpse of what Farrah had to offer the theatre.

For the past three years Farrah has been working as a radio announcer at Radio Anguilla and is pursuing a career in communications. During this time she took a course in Radio Production Techniques at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, while still finding time to partially satisfy her passions for the stage and watching the West Indies cricket team play in the region.

These awards were sponsored by the Sunshine Theatre Company and are intended to become an annual event. The company is in the process of raising funds for a permanent theatre building in Anguilla.

Upcoming Events in Anguilla

The Anguilla Local News has an Calendar for the year showing events, holidays, and activities.

St. Gerards West Indian Garden Party is Saturday night, Feb 21 on the grounds of Wallblake House (across from the Ice Cream Parlour). The best of West Indian dishes. Drinks on sale. Music by Sprocka. Dancing. 6:30 until 9pm. US$25 at the door. Read about last year's party.

Cryptography. Once again Anguilla ia host for the Financial Cryptopgrahy Conference, Feb 23-27. Over 100 experts and entrepeneurs from around the world are expected. In case you don't know, this subject is the study of how to secretly encode financial transactions so that that can be transmitted over public networks. Following the conference, There is a workshop Mar 2-6 to bring computer professionals and senior managers up to speed on "strong" cryptography as applied to financial networks ("strong" is the kind that is hard, perhaps impossible, for even the US government to break). During the confeence a boat excursion is planned to see the full eclipse, near Montserrat.

Arts and Craft Fair is Saturday, Feb 28, 12-4PM, on the grounds of the Governer's House in Old Ta (turn north at the George Hill traffic light by Cable TV). Locally produced crafts, foods, and art will be on display and for sale. There will even be a display of art by children. Read about last year's fair.

Where Are The Public Restrooms

I was flagged down by a tourist the other day who I thought wanted to chat. But he actually only needed directions to a public restroom. Public facilities are somewhat scarce in Anguilla, so I decided to start a list of them:

Know any others? Send them along via email.

Web Sites About Anguilla

Sydans Apartments and Villas in Sandy Ground now has a web site, with lots of pictures of their units and the Sandy Ground beach., Mary Ann's tropical construction page has more building news, including teak doors from Trinidad, a private garden for the guest villa, and the start of a new building.

Picking Up a Basketball Game

My wife and I just spent 25 days visiting friends in Anquilla. We had a wonderful time. The people are very warm and friendly. Good dance music is easy to find and the Bar-b-que is fantastic.

Some people (myself included) cannot travel without a fix of basketball, or 'b-ball' as they call it. Every village and/or elementary school in Anguilla has a basketball court or hoop. Several of these courts have outdoor lighting. The best and busiest court I found was next to Ashley and Sons Grocery in The Valley. I brought my own ball (as I do everywhere I travel) which attracted kids whenever I go to the court. The men never arrived before 5 P.M. and most not until 6.

The ball in Anquilla can best be described as "street ball" (similar to New York "school yard" ball) and the offensive quality is quite good. It is always 3 on 3 even if there are 20 guys waiting to play. It is very offensive minded with much macho jive being passed between players. Defensive as well as offensive rebounds go directly back up to the hoop without having to go back outside as we do in North America. This of course makes a big difference in the style of play. (Outside shooting is not very prevalent).

The players were somewhat impressed with my blocking out and defensive skills but all were much more interested in attempting to beat the other guy one on one. Fouls were never called and I was ridiculed when I apologized for grossly fouling my opponent. When one player complained about my agressive blocking out he was told "this ain't no Sunday School".

Although fouls are not called, I didn't see any deliberately dirty play. These guys are very macho, but I didn't see anyone lose their temper in 20 nights of rough play. I was completely unsuccessful in urging 5 on 5 full court but all in all I had a very enjoyable time and knocked off a few pounds through heavy sweat.

If anyone out there is interested in my bball experiences in Anquilla or on other islands or tropical places I can be reached at [email protected]

Guest article by George Farrell

Top stories from the previous issue.
A visitor trip report Budget travel: Sydans
Memorial to Princess Diana Agrifair was fun
Artistic collaboration Mala's Cottage

Anguilla Local News






mary ann

© 1998