I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Thursday, May 5, 2011


It's Wednesday and I spend most of it just hanging around Neptune's Treasure. I go out for breakfast at the hotel down the beach about half a mile - Anagada Reef Hotel. I sit at a table in the shade of a huge hot pink Bougainvillea vine and order an omelette with onions and mushrooms. But there's no mushrooms so I get it with onions and a bit of cheddar instead; it comes and it's really thin. With a glass of cranberry juice and a bottle of mineral water the bill is $19.00. Ouch.

View from under the Bougainvillea vine.

As I am eating, birds come by the table looking for scraps. I break up the crusts of my toast, as I can't eat it, and toss it to them. They love it. A fellow comes over to take some photos of the birds and starts talking to me. He ends up sitting down and we try to have a conversation but he is from Dominica and has a very thick accent that I struggle to understand. He tells me his name is Franklin and that he catches lobster for the restaurants and makes $1,000 a day (when I tell Nancy about him, she has no knowledge of a Franklin on the island. When I show her the photo I took of him she laughs and says "That's SHORTY!"). I ask if he uses traps and he says no, that he dives for them which extremely difficult, it takes a lot of strength and the ability to hold ones breath for a long time. I know because I am reading a book at the moment set in Anguilla and she talks about how difficult it is.

Walker and Nancy drop by Neptunes at about 3 and see if I am still taking them out for dinner. Of course I am. They say they will pick me up but I tell them I can walk to Potters - it's the next place past the Anegada Reef Hotel so not much of a walk... so they head back to do some stuff and I go to my room to have a nap before I get ready.

I end up getting there a bit early because I didn't want to be walking in the dark. I order a rum punch and nearly gag on how strong it is. Down here, rum is cheaper than Cola, than juice, than pretty much anything so more of that goes into the drink than the mixer.

There's a cute little kid running around and I say hi to him and the next thing I know, he is sitting in my lap. He speaks Spanish and is trying to say something to me but I have no idea what. It seems that a lot of people that live on this island and married the locals came from Dominica.

I notice that there is a huge Canadian flag beside a huge American flag pinned to a wall and people have signed each one, along with the wall, the posts, the beams, the bar and pretty much any available space in the entire place. I decide I want to sign the Canadian flag before I leave tonight.

Nancy and Walker soon show up and they order drinks and I have a Malibu and coke. A bunch of guys around my age have arrived and I notice that they are all dressed the same, down to their shorts, and they all have English accents. They are in a lively mood, obviously have been drinking before they arrived, and I grab one and ask him why they are all dressed the same. He tells me they are part of a Rugby club on a 'world tour'. I ask him about the club and I don't remember all he said but basically they were all serious players in their day. I ask him if he knows the name Keith Mumby. Keith is married to my cousin and is a very well known player from the past. He played for the Bradford Northeners and the Bradford Bulls over a 20 year span. He seems to think he knows the name but couldn't place it. I put that down to an alcoholic fog because any rugby player of his vintage knows Keith. Despite his foggy memory we have quite a good conversation about his career (a lawyer for the rugby union which he helped found) and life in England.

Nancy and Walker are finished greeting all the people at Potters they know so we sit down and our pre-ordered meals show up pretty quickly. I have ordered the Pasta Alfredo because it's the only thing on the menu I am able to eat. I ordered the chicken version but I should have had it without meat as I just can't eat the chicken and so leave most of it. We have a bottle of wine with dinner - I have just one glass and lots of water.

There's a table full of sailors (men and women) from Spain or somewhere, next to the rugby players out on the start of the dock which is wide enough for two long tables, and they break out into a song that sounds very much like an anthem. When they are done, the table of British rugby players, not to be outdone, stand and sing a rousing chorus or two of some song. When they finish and sit down, looking very pleased with themselves, the other table gets up and sings their anthem again. This goes on, back and forth, for a few rounds each and it is very funny and entertaining. Then all the people from the USA in the restaurant decide that they need to show some patriotism so they all stand up and walk down the dock singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat - which gets them a few laughs.

There's a group here from a boat out in the water that Walker and Nancy know well. After dinner they invite them onto the boat for a drink and Nancy asks me to come along but I decline. I don't want to be climbing in and out of a dinghy in the dark, I am not good at it with my bad knee and I am wearing a short skirt to boot. No - I will just hang about here for a bit. As the waiter comes to clear our plates and I pay the bill, he asks me if I was drinking a Malibu and coke earlier and I say that I was. He tells me to come up to the bar for another one, compliments of the house, which I sip as I soak in the atmosphere.

I remember that I wanted to sign the flag so grab a sharpie that is at the bar for this purpose, and go over to the flag and sign my name. I am not sure I did it very well so I do it again. I sign it ScriptySandy as that is how the people from the BVI web boards know me and, happy that my visit has been preserved until the ink fades away in a couple of years, head over to the rugby players table.

The fellas are done dinner and milling about. They ask me some questions about myself and what I do for a living, which they find rather entertaining. One thing that makes me laugh; the guy I first talked to is so drunk and one of his friends has taken it upon himself to interpret everything he says as he believes that, once the guy has had two drinks, no one understands a word he says if they're not British. Thing is, I understand every word he says so it's hilarious to hear everything repeated by this very earnest, short, sightly drunk friend of the lawyer.

I am feeling the rum and cokes and the wine myself. The rugby lawyer brings me another Malibu and Coke but I can't drink it. In fact, I am feeling rather ill and have to make a dash to the restroom, which I don't quite make. Fortunately for me the floor here is all sand, but I am mortified. Thank goodness the place has emptied and it's just the British guys on the table at the dock that are left, so there is no one to witness my complete embarrassment.

I am thinking of walking back home, but it's pitch dark with no lights along the way, and I am not sure I can make it. The guys are all concerned about me walking alone in the dark and want to get me home safely so one of them is talking about calling a cab and going with me. Just then Walker and Nancy arrive back from their time on the boat so, problem solved, I hop in their truck and they drive me back to my place - after hugs from a couple of the rugby players. They made the night super fun.

When I get into my room, I empty my purse to put stuff back into my beach bag and notice that my money belt is unwound and unzipped. Earlier in the evening, before leaving my room for the restaurant, I took out three $100 bills to pay for the dinner (it ended up being half that but I had no idea how much it would be) and put them in my small wallet. I noticed that I had three - $100 bills left along with several $20's and $1's in the money belt as I zipped it back up, folded it in half, and wound the elastic belt part tightly around it. (I have been doing that with it since arriving here as I can't wear it everywhere I go under the kind of clothes I wear here - it'd be visible.) I placed it at the bottom of my purse and put my camera, wallet, sunglasses case and a small notebook over it. Now when I look into the belt, the three $100 bills are gone. I hesitate a moment or two, trying to recall if I had left them there or if those were the three bills I had removed and put in my wallet for the evening. I am positive they were in the belt but I go and check the figures of what I have spent so far against what I have left and I am exactly $300 short. So someone stole the money from me. I can't think of when I left my purse long enough for someone to do that... only when I went to sign the flag, I think, and that couldn't have taken more than 5 or 6 minutes - tops.

I am upset about it but I am also dog tired so I fall into bed and a deep sleep. I wake up at about 2 in the morning and can't sleep for thinking about the money and if I am right, so I get up and go through all the numbers again, and yes - I am right. It's gone.

I hope whoever took it needs it more than I do.
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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