The rugged peaks of Tortola and the green hills of the other lush islands of
the British Virgins dotted the horizon off the stern as we sailed toward
Anegada, the farthest-flung, least developed, and flattest island of this
laid-back, uncommercial Caribbean archipelago.
From our perch on the bow, we scoured the sea ahead looking for signs of
this low-lying coral island, unique among the other, hilly British Virgin
Islands, all volcanic in origin.
"There it is," the skipper said, pointing at what appeared to us
to be a couple of thin sticks standing on the water line. Then we began to make
out a thin sliver of white beach just below the sticks—one of the pristine
beaches that surround Anegada.
With its highest point just 27 feet above sea level, Anegada doesn't reveal
itself until you're almost on top of it. Nor does the turquoise water warn of
the beautiful but treacherous coral reefs. They've claimed more than 300 ships
over the centuries, and most yacht charter companies designate the area
"off limits" for their boats, unless an experienced skipper is
aboard. The captain of our 50' yacht knew the shoals, wrecks, and reefs like
the back of his hand.
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