Anguilla Local News: April 1996
News reports from on the island, as they were posted to the Net:
Pitch Apple Hole
More on Our Giant Fossil Rodent
An earlier report
described a Paleo World cable TV show on the
"Giant Rat" of Anguilla. I have done some more research
in the archives of the Anguilla National Trust and can report
the following interesting facts.
In 1868, Henry Waters & Brothers, manufacturers of
phosphatic fertilizers in the city of Philadelphia,
received a shipment of cave earth from Anguilla...
Henry Waters was sufficiently astute to notice the
presence of fossil bones in his shipment and
promptly brought them to the attention of Edward Drinker
Cope, one of the countries preeminent paleontologists..Edward
Cope could not have been more astounded.. the remains were
quite unmistakably those of a rodent, but a rodent of
phenomenal size...Cope named his animal Amblyrhiza inundata,
the generic name Amblyrhiza roughly translating to
"strange root" and reflecting Cope's difficultly in
conceiving of the origin of such an aberrant beast. The
specific name inundata alludes to Cope's contention
that the presence of so large an animal on so small and
remote an island evidenced the existence of a foundered
(or iundated) land-bridge between the Antilles and South
...before we could locate the rodent fossils, we would have
to locate caves suitable for trapping such beasts and
preserving their bones...the most productive approach to
finding caves in the tropical bush is often to seek the
advice of local farmers, and this proved almost immediately
successful. In the dry tropical forest of Anguilla,
certain moisture-loving trees tend to grow where they can
extend their roots into the damp interiors of deep caves.
The most distinctive of these trees are known locally
as pitch-apple trees, and to the experienced eye they can
be recognized at a distance by their large, dark green
leaves...Pitch Apple Hole, as we came to call the site,
proved to be an impressive gaping mouth in the forest floor.
Tree roots extended down from the surface to
the boulder floor some sixty feet below. Rappelling into
the chasm, we quickly established that the cave was not
very extensive. A few moments of digging yielded our quarry --
first an incisor tooth and then a large leg bone that clearly
did not belong to any animal now living on the island.
We had found Amblyrhiza.
References: Terra Vol 30 No 2, 1991, "The Search for
Anguilla's Giant Rodent" by Dr. Donald A. McFarlane.
The cave is located on the backroad from North Valley
to Shoal Bay. To find it, take the road to Shoal Bay,
turn left just before Uncle Ernies on the road to
The Fountain Beach Hotel.
Follow the road for a couple miles, past both turn offs to
the gravel pit, until you reach a spot
where the road curves gently to left. You will see a fenced goat
pen on the left with an abandoned refrigerator in it and
a cleared area along the road without a fence. About fifty
yards to the left of the pen you will find a path into the
trees that leads to Pitch Apple Hole in less than 50
feet (you can almost see it from the road).
Be very careful, as there is no guard rail and a fall
would be deadly. There is a large
pitch apple tree growing out of the cave, with roots extending
down 60 feet to the bottom. This tree has very distinctive
wide green leaves that last a long time. In the old days,
Anguillans used them for playing cards!
Vince Has a Home Page
Vince Cate of Offshore Information Services Ltd. here
in Anguilla now has his own
Vince has also made up a web page for our
Cable TV channels
here in Anguilla, with pointers to web pages for stations
where possible. About 2/3rds of our statons have web pages.
Mangos is Back and Expanding
Mangos Restaurant at the West End was rebuilt after the
hurricane and had a good season under new operators.
An acquitance who has been in the restaurant business
rated it Very Good and noted that they are expanding the
premises, so they can also offer lunch. 809-497-6479.
The Objective Observer
Anguilla's only local paper, The Light, publishes
a column of commentary by "The Objective Observer", who
gives his expatriate view of life in Anguilla. Now
the Objective Observer columns are available
on the Internet.
The Auctioner has a Home Page
Mr. Roy Peacock, our auctioneer, now has a
Take a look at see what property is being auctioned off in
Brad Krause of Kinkos Donates Computers
Brad Krause is a manager for Kinkos Copy Centers in the USA
and has been coming to Anguilla ever since he picked it
as the best place in the Caribbean. He now is an owner
at Cove Castles Resort. Brad saw the
page on the web and after a
sales pitch from Liz Subin at Anguilla National Trust,
agreed to donate some of Kinkos "obsolete" PCs to Anguilla. But
"obsolete" is in the eye of the beyholder. The first donation
consists of six IBM PS/2 systems with 386 CPU, 8MB of RAM, and bright
color monitors, in beautiful condition.
Tropical Shipping donated the shipping from Miami to
Kinkos has PCs because it sells computer time to the
people who use its copiers. These machines must be always
up-to-date, so the older computers must be replaced.
This very generous gift went to the Chief Ministers office,
where it will replace 6 aged PCs that can then go into the
Mabel Gumbs and The Canadian Pig Tails
While driving our latest visitors
around to see the sites, we
stopped for lunch in The Valley at the parking lot between
Ronald Webster Park and the high school.
Across from the Valley Medical Clinic, Mabel Gumbs has a table
serving up chicken, sweet potato pie, and her delicious
corn soup. She told us the soup includes salt beef and
pig tails. Our Canadian guests were skeptical about the
pig tails, until Mabel pointed to an empty 5 gallon tin.
Right on the label it said, "Pig Tails in brine -- Product
of Canada." No wonder they had never heard of cooking with
pig tails - Canada exports them all to Anguilla.
On Monday, we discovered an odd coincidence.
The Winter/Spring issue of Anguilla Life
magazine features a profile on Mabel Gumbs and her soup on
page 53. This is the special Hurricane Luis Report and is
worth having for the before/after pictures. You can subscribe
for US$20, EC$54 or UK 14. Anguilla Life, PO Box 109, Anguilla,
BWI. Telephone: 264-497-3080.
Bargain Rate $50 Per Night
Arawak Beach Resort
in Island Harbour is
running a special rate to rebuild their
business after recovering from Hurricane Luis.
$50 per night. This is an incredible bargain.
At this price, they are almost paying you to come to Anguilla.
Jeremiah Gumbs in Latest Caribbean Travel & Life
The April issue of Caribbean Travel and Life magazine
has a picture of Jeremiah Gumbs on page 100.
Mr. Gumbs is the proprietor of the Rendevous
Bay Hotel and one of the leaders of
the Anguillian Revolution.
Rasta Pasta Is Back
Zara's Seafood Restaurant opened last Saturday on Shoal Bay,
with the Rasta Chef, "Shamash",
in residence. He used to be the chef at
La Fontana, and has brought his Rasta Pasta with him, plus the incredible
$5 Chicken Salad lunch - elegant, delicious, beautifully presented.
Zara's is run by
Sara Richardson and her children,
who also operate Whispers and Rumours in
East End Village and the restaurant on Prickley Pear Island, which
rebuilding after Luis.
The location is poolside on the grounds of
Allamanda Beach Club, in the gardens
next to the pool, a short stroll from the beach.
Very intimate and attractive. Open for breakfast,
lunch and dinner. Take the road to Shoal Bay, turn right at the
sign for Allamanda,
Milly's Inn, and Serenity.
264-497-3229. Highly recommended. Closed Thursday.
Madeariman Reef Bar and Restaurant
Most tourists going to Shoal Bay head for our
Uncle Ernie's, our famous beach joint, for a drink and
some ribs in a basket, rubbing elbows with fellow
visitors and locals at long tables. But just to the
left of Uncle Ernie's, is another choice:
Madeariman Reef Restaurant. For just a bit more
money, you can your own table, with a table cloth,
waitresses in matching tropical outfits, plates, silverware,
and a full menu of well prepared and presented dishes. I suggest
the Madeariman Salad (fried fish and cray fish over
greens with an exceptional sauce), the Lobster pizzas, the
Bacon and Cheese pizza, the Ribs, and the Cheese Burger.
Prices have gone up since Luis, but are still within reason.
As Albert, the chief wine steward at the Malliouhana says,
Uncle Ernies is for giving visitors the full Anguillian
beach experience, while Madeariman is for taking business
aquaintances for a
lunch, while still being right on the beach.
Continuing my series of Anguillian menus,
here is a sampling from theirs:
Lobster Salad 15.00 Madeariman Salad 14.50
Chef Salad 11 11.00 Chicken Salad 10.00
Lobster Sandwich 13.75 Fish Sandwich 10.50
Lobster Pasta 16.50 Madeariman Pasta 15.00
Vegetable Pizza 10.00 Lobster Pizza 14.50
Chicken Pizza 11.00 Bacon and Cheese Pizza 13.00
Cheese Burgers 10.00 BBQ Ribs 9.50
Catch of the Day 17.50 Lobster or Cray Fish 25.00
Summer Special at Allamanda Beach Club
Allamanda Beach apartments on Shoal Bay are
running a special for the summer season: one night free
after six. The rates are $77 to $147 including the 8% tax and the 10%
gratuity (usually added to the rate). 264-497-5217.
Hidden Anguilla: Get a Wall Map
Anguilla has many wonderful
surprises for those who are willing to venture beyond
the tourist path. For example, did you know that you can
buy a big survey map of Anguilla from the Lands and Surveys
office for a nominal amount. This is the best map of Anguilla
and makes a handsome addition to any wall. You will find the
Lands office south of the Post Office in The Valley,
in the Government compound.
Look in the direction of the airport,
Milly's Inn on Shoal Bay
has a Web page.
Milly's is a locally-owned 4-plex that is
close to the beach on a small hill with a great view.
The Soufriere Volcano on Montserrat is still intermittently
exploding and rumbling, threatening part of the island.
For current news, check the Montserrat government
For general information on the Caribbean, visit
the Caribbean Connection.
Levetta Fleming and Charlotte Berglund have a firm, Sea Breeze
Associates, which is a full-service property management
company. They can arrange rental villas for holidays and/or
long stays. And many of their properties are available
at substantial discounts in the off-season (now!).
264-497-3878. And they
have a web page:
Mitchell's Chambers has added a photo to their
showing Don Mitchell, Maggie Mitchell, and the rest of the
Anguillian Language Lesson #1
This starts a new series
on learning to
speak Anguillian. Keep in mind that we live at the
East end of the island, so the language may be a little
different at the West End.
In Anguilla you quickly learn
what above and below mean. If you don't,
you will be totally confused.
When you ask for someone and the
answer in a one-story building is "She in the room above",
look to the East, not Up.
And below means toward the West End.
Another way to remember this is that above is upwind
- Above. To the East.
- Below. To the West.
It is much harder to find out the words for North
and South. Since Anguilla is long and skinny, East and
West are the more important directions. When asked what they
say for "south", an Anguillian replied across,
as in "across to St. Martin." When asked what they
say for "north", the same person replied across. Getting
directions can be difficult when you did not grow up in a place.
For a jump start on your studies, buy a copy of
the Dictionary of the Anguillian Language at
the National Book Store in the Social Security Complex.
For example, Tief - Thief. E.g. 'You too tief'--You are
a thief/You like to steal.
Improved Medical Treatment
Anguilla now has a full-time pediatrician, Dr. Rozalina
Mladenova, from Bulgaria. She has previously served in
Angola, where our mail sometimes goes. Having a specialist for
children is important in a country with so many children.
And Dr. Lowell Hughes
has added a new medical test labortory to his clinic in
Water Swamp. This will supplement the tests that can be performed
at the hospital, adding more complex chemistry such as thyroid
tests. Previously, you had to go off-island for these tests.
[And we have a new anathesiologist from Burma.]
Island Harbour School Acquires Computer
The library center at
Island Harbour Primary School has a new
Pentium computer today, a Dell Dimension XPS/75
with 8MB, 540MB hard
drive, CD-ROM, and Sound Blaster with Speakers. The new computer was purchased earlier this
year with funds donated by Joan Richards, Colonel Howard's
daughter. The computer will be used by teachers and students
to carry out research and to keep track of library books.
My assistant Griffin Webster and I were able to assist in
getting the computer ordered and installed and added some equipment
to it. Teacher
training will be carried out by Griffin. On the day the
Teacher Patsy Adams put out a newsletter
for the school!
Now we just need someone to
donate a PC to each of the other
primary schools on Anguilla.
Real Souvlaki In Anguilla?
Anguilla has great Caribbean and Continental cuisine, but
where would you go for a true Greek souvlaki of spicy
grilled meat, sliced onion and tomatos, with yogurt sauce
and parsley, all on fresh pita bread? The answer is Spiros
deli and sandwich restaurant at South Hill Plaza. A deal at
$7 when I was there.
. . . continue virtual vacation