07 March, 2009

Shoal Bay West

Shoal Bay West is one of the easiest beaches in Anguilla to access. But, you have to know how to. There appear to be only two remaining ways for the public to get on to the beach. One of them is labeled and the other is not. Shoal Bay West is also most beautiful of the West End beaches in Anguilla. It is the location of Cove Castles Hotel, Blue Waters Hotel, and Altamer Hotel.

Squeezed between the house previously owned by Dianne Norris and Cove Castles Hotel is the one access that is labeled. Someone has filled in a corner of the West End Pond to make a comfortable area for public parking.

Shoal Bay West car park opposite the public access to the beach

The public access from the car park to the beach is narrow and partially concealed.

Public access to the beach

But, the notice, damaged though it was by Hurricane Omar, shows the way clearly enough.

Walking up the access to the beach

A recent visit to the beach showed that the car park and the access were in use.

Visitors with their cooler enjoying the beach

There were cars in the car park and visitors, carrying their picnic lunch and drinks with them, relaxing on the beach.

It is time, I would have thought, that whoever is responsible replaced or repaired the sign.

Altamer Hotel has recently, since the passage of the Hurricane in October of last year, provided a scraped access to the beach. It is not one of the most beautiful, manicured, or smooth of roads.

Public access to the beach adjacent to the restaurant building at Altamer

But, at least they have scraped away the boulders, trees and bushes that previously blocked this access. Did they do it voluntarily, or under pressure, one wonders.

The way to the beach alongside Altamer's restaurant building

If you are prepared to step gingerly and carefully over the stones and pot holes, you can get to the beach, where you will find yourself looking westwards along the entire stretch of the beach to Cove Castles in the distance.

Shoal Bay West beach looking west from the Altamer Restaurant building

Cove Castles Hotel and Blue Waters Hotel appear not to permit members of the public onto or across their properties to access the beach.

I have no idea how the fishermen, who used to keep their boats drawn up at the western end of this beach, are able now to access it. Perhaps, like some rare and sensitive Amazon frog, they have become extinct due to the human invasion of their native habitat.

If the relevant authorities do not step up to the plate without delay and ensure that there are properly marked accesses to all of these beaches, we might as well consider public access to them going in the same direction as that frog.

I feel bad for the children. They will never be able to enjoy what we once had.


  1. Seems to me you missed the target with this particular blog, Don. Beach access is clearly a very important issue that needs to be addressed on Anguilla. The Government does not appear to have been effective in protecting access to many of Anguilla's beaches and bays. As you and others have pointed out, numerous beaches have become virtually inaccessible as developers have built resorts and villas. However, it seems that public access is much less an issue with Shoal Bay West than many other places on Anguilla like Long Bay and Maundays Bay.

    At Shoal Bay West there is public access, marked no less, right near the entrance to Cove Castle, with a parking area clearly available directly on the other side of the road. I recently went to Shoal Bay West with no idea where the beach could be accessed before arriving, and had no trouble spotting this access walkway. The sign indicating public access was clearly visible, at least to me.

    As you pointed out, there is also public access to Shoal Bay West beside Altamer. Regardless of how it came about - it's there.

    So, at least with respect to Shoal Bay West, access by the public is clearly available today and Anguillians and visitors can still enjoy this beautiful beach. Maybe not quite with the virtually "unlimited" access you enjoyed years ago when little beach front development, but all things change and evolve with time.

    Older generations everywhere always lament the things they did and had that their children and grandchildren will never get to enjoy - Don, maybe your age is showing a little.

  2. If the loss of beach access is not trumpeted again and again, it will appear to the politicos that no one cares. Then, they will be free to make whatever bargains they want to with the big monied developments that want to bar all locals from contact with their "people". Keep bringing up the problems with beach access. It is important.


    Let the Revolution Begin…..This Anguilla Day Weekend.

    An Education Revolution….Making Tertiary Education the Pinnacle of our System of Learning.

    An Empowerment Revolution…Through Training, Efficiency and Quality Management and Entrepreneurship Development.

    The Health Revolution….The Fusion of Technology and Quality Health Care, Coupled with the pursuit of the Diversification of our Tourism product with Health Tourism.

    Anguilla and Caricom countries must be careful not to mistake our economies with that of America….I hear our leaders using the word stimilus very loosely.

    As countries highly dependent on global economic recovery, our first order of business should be fiscal disipline.

    The money invested in the US, Canadian and European economies through advertising, should be spent in the Caricom Basin in tandem with negotiations with our regional airlines for better inter-regional travel rates.

    We should target the South American and Asian countries to encourage dual or tri destination travel packages.

    Furthermore, as the economic squeeze tightens, we encourage all stake holders with morgages to visit your bankers and re-negotiate terms. This facility of management is readily available.

    I call on the Banking Institutions and the Government to engage, to make a statement of confidence and active support to Anguillians caught up in this un-fortunate situation.

    As it concerns negotiations for the benefit of our present and future generations of Anguillians, golden parachutes for investors as being floated about concerning the Flags project is ill-advised.

    I make this statement with the understanding that economic hard-times from the global financial melt-down, is also buying season for investors with liquidity. We must wait or actively seek and engage the best investor(s) for Anguilla and not just the first.

    Look out for my article in the e-newsletter…The Nation In Focus….Tourism Going Forward.

    As it was articulated by the candidate from the Road North Constituency…Get involved to get things resolved…as you put Service Above self and country above all else.

    God bless you and God Bless Anguilla.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.