Anegada is unlike any other island in the Caribbean chain. It’s a flat coral atoll, its highest peak only 28-feet above sea level, with white sand, salt ponds and scrub vegetation. The turquoise seas flowing over the surrounding coral reefs are brilliant and the long, barely inhabited beaches have a wild, natural beauty. If this description doesn’t entice you to visit, then the prospect of a smattering of rum-stocked bars, delicious-tasting lobster and seafood, and chance to do nothing but swim, snorkel and snooze all day surely should.
The trick to sail to Anegada is to navigate through the submerged coral heads that surround this 10-mile long by 2-½ mile-wide island. There have been over 300 wrecks through the ages. You can see some of the artifacts from these marine disasters – musket balls, ship’s timbers and coins – in a museum at Pomato Point. Avoid adding to this mix by starting your trip on a clear day with sunny skies and calm seas. It’s 12-miles from Virgin Gorda to Anegada, and due to the flatness of the island you won’t see it on the horizon until you’re about 6 miles offshore.
Many boaters spend the night at North Sound, Virgin Gorda, and then cast off at daybreak. Sailboaters will find it takes the best part of a day. If you’re bareboating to Anegada for the first time, most charter companies will require you to have an experienced captain on board.
The channel entrance, which leads to the main anchorage, is less than a mile off the beach between Setting Point and Pomato Point on the island’s northwest shore. Red and green buoys mark the channel. The draft here is only 7 to 8 feet. There are mooring balls offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can anchor here, too. Moorings are also available at Neptune’s Treasure, located north between Setting Point and Pomato Point.
Touring Anegada is easy. You can take a cab or rent a small jeep. From the Setting Point anchorage, walk up the small dock to the Anegada Reef Hotel. Here, you can get ice, dispose of garbage and do some limited provisioning.
From this point, drive east to the roundabout and head south. The concrete road hugs the shore. When you get to the edge of the salt pond, look for Roseate Flamingos. Flamingos use to be plentiful here over fifty years ago. In 1992, a project by the British Virgin Islands National Parks Trust introduced flamingos back to their native nesting grounds and the flock has thrived.
You’ll know you’re in “The Settlement”, the main town, more so by the welcome sign than any bustle. The government’s rock iguana breeding program is here, and so are a few gift shops, government buildings, private residences and the small airstrip.
Past here, the road turns into sand. The reward for a bumpy ride east is magnificent Loblolly Beach. The snorkeling is great within the protected reef and shelling is spectacular. Lunch at the Big Bamboo is a must.
Head back to Setting Point by following the sand road to the East and see Bones Bight, Cow Wreck Bay and finally round the northern tip of the island to Pomato Point. Although there are less than 200 people who live on Anegada, there’s more than a half dozen places to dine. Try Neptune’s Treasure, run by the Soares Family, the Cow Wreck Beach Bar and Pomato Point Restaurant.
If you’re looking for nothing to do in a place that offers this and more, head to Anegada.