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Easter Monday Boat Race...
A Favorite Anguilla Memory

by Cathy DeMeo
(Wallingford, Connecticut USA)

One moment the beach looked like this...

One moment the beach looked like this...

One moment the beach looked like this...
... and the next moment, like this!
A racing boat comes close to shore
Our new friends

It was a few days before Easter, 1995, when my husband and I arrived for our second vacation in Anguilla. We immediately sensed excitement in the air when, as we taxied from the airport, our driver asked, "Are you goin' to watch the race?" We knew that boat racing was Anguilla's national sport, but we had no idea what that implied.

On the Monday after Easter we decided to spend a leisurely morning at Shoal Bay West. We spread out our blanket and were amazed to have the entire beach to ourselves! As far as the eye could see, nothing but white sand guarded by the quiet domed sentinels of Cove Castles.

Suddenly out of nowhere, Anguillians began converging on the beach, dozens of them chattering excitedly and gesturing toward the sea. Within minutes, six brightly hued sailboats appeared, rounding the island in close pursuit of one another.

The Easter Monday race was in full swing! People shouted and cheered as the vessels and their crews passed by. One with a sail bearing the name "Cheddie's Carving Shop" tacked close to shore and we rooted it on. A group of children, curious to make our acquaintance, laughed as they shared our blanket and shade umbrella.

As the boats disappeared from sight, the more than fifty followers quickly dispersed, eager to make their way to the next public viewing point at Cove Bay. Once again we were alone on the beach, but with a newfound appreciation of Anguilla's favorite sport and a vacation memory that remains one of our most treasured.

Nori's Reply: What a beautiful memory, Cathy.

Boat racing is Anguilla's national pass time. The Easter Monday boat race certainly stirs much excitement as it is the first one of the boat racing season! Boats take off from Sandy Ground in the early afternoon. They go around the island's Western tip to Sandy Hill Bay, and then turn back to Sandy Ground.

Easter weekend in Anguilla must have felt quieter in 1995. Today, Easter weekend is celebrated with Festival Del Mar and the Easter Monday boat race.

I hope you have many more special Easter Monday memories in Anguilla!

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