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Rum & Reel Charters...
The Scrub Island Adventure

By: Kirmani Honoré

When it comes to Anguilla adventuring, look no further than Rum & Reel Charters. One of our favorite groups to explore Anguilla with, their Scrub Island Adventure has long been calling our name.

Rum & Reel Charters
rum & reel at scrub island

Scrub Island is, undoubtedly, one of the most mysterious and mystical uninhabited offshore Anguilla cays.

Think: Some of the roughest waters in Anguilla, rolling desert landscapes straight out of a sci-fi film, a calm nursery for baby sharks and sea turtles, a plane wreck shrouded in mystery and one of the most breathtaking beaches in the whole Caribbean.

Rum & Reel offers an excursion that covers it all!

Who could pass on such an adventure? :-)

For a look at our day with Rum & Reel Charters, click "play" below.

 

Casting Off

Meeting time: 9:30am at the Sandy Ground wharf.

Captain Dilon and his first mates Dean and Taschim helped us on the boat and gave us a quick run down of the day's events. It was going to be a trek up to Scrub (30-45 minutes), but we were prepared and our excitement was through the roof!

With slow beachy tunes streaming through the three-floor boat, we were off... gently sailing out of Sandy Ground (Road Bay) and getting the first glimpse of the sleepy Anguillian coastline.

Captain Dilon was on the upper deck steering us safely through choppy, late winter waters.

Ahoy!
 striker upper deck

The sights are many as you cruise along Anguilla's north-eastern shore...

Little Bay's stark cliffs are especially gorgeous. They shine a perfect shade of ocean green mid-morning.

Next up? You can't miss Shoal Bay's 2-mile stretch of powdery white sand beach, towering resorts and the beloved eateries that pepper the shore.

Then, there's the colorful cliffsides and coastline of Island Harbour. It's my favorite view of Anguilla... the colorful homes and villas adorning the rocky, greyish-green cliffside with bright pops of reds, blues and yellows.

Island Harbour's Colorful Cliffside Coastline
island harbour cliffside

The colorfully painted houses of Island Harbour really make a statement, especially from the water.

With the last of Island Harbour's gorgeous, colorful coastline behind us, we were finally in full sight of Scrub Island. Beaming with excitement, we were practically ready to dive in and swim there ourselves.

Welcome to Scrub Island

There is no two ways about it. Scrub Island's main beach is the beach of dreams!

Scrub Island's Main Beach
scrub island beach

A long stretch of sugary-soft sand, it is lined by green grassy bushes on one side and aquamarine waters on the other.

These seas are nothing short of show-stopping...

Ahhh-mazing Waters
scrub island waters

We had worked up quite an appetite on the journey over! Before diving in and making our way to shore, the Rum & Reel crew suggested we re-fuel for our day of adventure ahead.

Tip: We highly recommend you book your charter with the option for a catered lunch. Rum & Reel's lunch eats are tasty!

Lunch is Served
lunch aboard rum and reel

Scrumptious chicken salad rolls, decadent lobster rolls, refreshing fruit kebabs, tangy hummus and chips, and chocolate chip cookies... we gobbled it all!

lunch aboard rum and reel

Happy and full, we hopped in the dingy and made our way to the beach, sparkling in the sun.

The Scrub Island Adventure Begins

It is here where the adventure truly begins!

Our plan? To follow the path across the whole stretch of island.

Scrub Island From The Sky
scrub island anguilla

First step on the island and a surreal feeling sinks in.

Just when you thought it wasn't possible, here on Scrub you are even further removed from civilization, from buildings, cars and build up. You are in complete solitude!

Welcome to Scrub!
scrub island sign

We were officially in the Anguilla "outback" and just like something out of a movie, we were in awe.

Scrub Island's West Beach Stretches For Miles
scrub island bay

The main beach, the beach you moor off of, is nicknamed "Scrub Island West Beach," though, it doesn't have an official name.

Dramatic Cliffs Hug The Beach from Each Side
Scrub island cliffs

On either side of this beautiful mile long stretch of powdery white sand are dramatic cliffs that hug it and mark its ends.

The Rolling Cliffs of Scrub Island
Scrub Island Cliff Sides

A word of warning: The swell is strong at Scrub! The harsh crashing of the waves is a stunning mix of brutish strength and sun dazzled beauty.

We collected ourselves on the beach, and got a lay of the route...

"The settlements, abandoned plane wreck, groves of the most poisonous plant in the Americas and a secret hidden beach," First Mate Dean explained.

As we walked, Dean explained further...

Scrub Island: An Early Settlement

Scrub Island wasn't always so uninhabited. In the late 80s and early 90s, folks tried to develop Scrub. There are remnants of those efforts still visible today.

Remains of a Time Long Forgotten
building remains Scrub Island

A touch ominous, I was all for it! The adventurer in me was ready for a full day :-)

We passed the only in-tact structure on the island, nicknaming it the bathroom.

The Only Standing Building on Scrub
Scrub Island building

It's intricate stone work had us all wondering... how'd it get here? How'd it last so long, and in such pristine condition?

This set of questions were the first of many. Next we came upon abandoned, dried up well-springs.

scrub island watering hole

These watering holes were built to support the livestock once living here.

Going even further back, centuries ago, people settled on Scrub, farming and looking over livestock. As years went on, these tribes left for the mainland and other islands, leaving a lot of history behind.

Even now, hundreds of years after they lost their use, the architecture remains, stark and bleached by years under the Scrub Island sun.

"The watering holes," Dean explained, "Were fed by manually dug-up wellsprings, just over their fencing."

The entire lot takes up quite a bit of space. It is hard to not be impressed by just how well-built these structures are. They stand the test of time.

Exploring the Old Watering Holes
scrub watering hole

Whimsical Landscapes

We edged on, soaking in every bit of this whimsical landscape straight out of a Ridley Scott film.

Towering, Whimsical Agave Trees
scrub island agave plants

If you've ever seen Prometheus, or Raised By Wolves, then you'd understand my complete awe and appreciation of this scenery.

The landscapes of Scrub are rich and varied, from areas of dense greenery, to desert-like expanses marked with agave trees, cacti and succulents.

The Far Reaching Scrub Island Outback
scrub island outback

And then there are the flat, harsh open fields that feel almost barren but are teeming with life. From the thorny brambles, to the interesting towering canopies made from softwood trees, they beckon you to stay and explore them.

Almost like a mirage, salt water ponds appear on the horizon. Shallow and wide, they are the most striking shades of red and orange.

These Red Ponds Can be Found All Over The Island
scrub island pond

As we walked, we met the island's sole mammal inhabitants, the goats. You will spot herds of wild goats throughout the island.

Scrub Island's Only Inhabitants
 scrub island goats.

The goats have a certain charm about them. Apart from being friendly and cute, their freedom to roam this secret haven is inspiring.

Dean and His New Friend
first mate dean with Goat.

Our next stop was the manchineel grove.

Manchineel trees are endemic to Anguilla and most of its surrounding cays, including Scrub.

They're one of the world's most poisonous plants. Their poison was even used by the Amerindians to fight off invasions centuries ago. They're so poisonous, the rainwater that falls from them can blind you if you're standing under one.

The Very Toxic Manchineel Grows All Over the Island
manchineel tree

They're usually very well managed, and kept out of the way, but on Scrub they are everywhere.

The Rum & Reel team point them out and make sure you give them a wide berth! Even brushing against the leaves can leave you with blistering pain for days.

Luckily on this visit, the trees had all lost their leaves because of changes in seasons and we made it to the other side quickly and safely.

Better yet?...

We were now just feet away from the plane wreck!

The Plane Wreck

A bucket list item finally checked off!

Growing up we'd hear stories about Scrub Island and the lore surrounding this close-by but out-of-the-way cay. The plane always played a big part in those stories.

The Plane, The Island, The Mystery
abandoned plane wreck

This plane was allegedly part of an FBI drug chase gone awry. The chase ended in an emergency crash landing. Ultimately, the plane was abandoned and the rest is history!

Nori, Louise, First Mate Dean & Our New Discovery
scrub island plane wreck

We were amazed at how well the plane has preserved itself despite being in the open, Scrub Island sun for decades.

Even more amazing? The plane missed the island's landing strip by just a couple hundred meters!...

The Scrub Island Airstrip
scrub island airstrip

I couldn't imagine anyone landing a plane there, but we chalked it up to the secretive, magical lore that surrounds the tiny island.

At this point, we were almost to the most north-western part of the island. The ultimate destination of our hike...

The Pond at Deadman's Bay

Finally we had made it to the pond at Deadman's Bay!

The Pond Emerges!
scrub island deadman bay entrance

"Wow" is the only word that comes to mind the moment you see this pond.

It is simply gorgeous!

With its curving stretch of coarse, corally, sand and waters of aquamarine... it is like nothing else you've seen in Anguilla.

Complete Calm...
The Perfect Reward
scrub island deadmans bay pond panorama

The water sparkles a captivating, crystal clear shade of ocean green. It beckons you in.

Glistening Waters
scrub island deadman bay taschim relaxing

The sun was directly above us, creating the most intricate glassy reflections.

Such a calm heavenly spot, this salt pond is home to many of Anguilla's baby sea creatures. Sharks, sting rays and turtles come here to have their babies and nurse their young.

I became curious and started climbing around the rocky outcroppings to find the water source.

Answer, found!...

The Reef Separates The Bay From The Atlantic
deadman tidal reef

The barrier protecting the bay is constantly being washed by the Atlantic sea. Watching the wave action is delightful.

The whole stretch of coast is rich with tidal pools, full of exotic life.

Baby Sea Anemones in The Shallow Tidal Pools
deadman bay tidal pool

Giant scavenging sea urchins, shy sea anemones and rock grabs, eels and sometimes even baby sharks can be spotted in these pools.

The nature nerd in me was having the time of his life. "How can I stay "lost" here on Scrub?" I thought.

But alas, after a nice soak in the cool, refreshing bay, we started our way back.

Tip: Bring lots of water and a wide brimmed hat. Walking back in the hot afternoon sun is no easy task!

Good-Bye Scrub Island

Rum & Reel bobbing on those shiny Scrub Island seas was a sight for sore eyes...

Hello, Rum & Reel!
scrub island beach

First Mate Dean lifted anchor and we began dozing off, lulled to sleep by the boat's gentle rocking as it made its way back to Sandy Ground.

As we went, the Scrub Island crew handed us a rum punch for good measure...

The Perfect Way to Start and End A Day of Exploring
rum and reel rum punch

Is there a better way to spend a day?

We can't think of one :-)

Truly one of Anguilla's great adventures, a trip to Scrub Island with Rum & Reel is a must do. From the hike, to the two spectacular beaches, to the folklore, mystery, good eats, drinks and warm company of the Rum & Reel family, it's one of Anguilla's best excursions.

Sea You Next Time, Scrub!
scrub island beach

Contact Rum & Reel Charters

To book your trip with Rum & Reel Charters, see the information below. Rum & Reel Charters is an Anguilla Card Partner. Save 10% on your trip when you book with your Anguilla Card!


  • Tel: 1 264-235-4511
  • Email: info@anguillacharters.com
  • Website: Click here.