Saturday: woke up at 4am. Flight left RDU at 7am. Delayed leaving for de-icing but still landed early in PHL (55 minutes max flight). We had 30 minutes until our plane started boarding. Landed at B2, walked to A2. Went to the bathroom, bought some food to take on the plane and still had 10 minutes until priority boarding started.
Flight was not totally full and was pleasant and non eventful except for one quick bit of turbulence that seemed to come from nowhere. Landed 15 minutes early. Walked right up to the customs agent (no one in line), walked straight out to taxi (11 minutes and $20 + tip to Marigot ferry.) We just missed (it was literally pulling out of the dock) the 3pm ferry so we paid our $5 departure tax, changed into shorts and had a Presidente while we waited for the 3:45. The ride over was the smoothest it's ever been for us. Took 20 minutes. Everyone on our ferry seemed to be local so by the time we finished filling out the paperwork no one was in line. Our customs agent was very friendly , welcomed us back and laughed with us. Quick process then out to our rental car from Ronnie Bryan waiting just where he said. Started out for SBE and were immediately greeted by the goat herds. Ah, there is no other place. Made a stop at Albert Lakes, headed on to Shoal Bay Villas. We unloaded our stuff with the intent of a quick walk on the beach to catch the last bit of sunset then go to Falcon Nest for dinner. The sunset really was non existent due to clouds but still beautiful. The landscape of Shoal Bay East has definitely changed a bit due to beautiful Manoah and rebuilding Madeariman's (fingers crossed for the reopening while we are here.) The biggest surprise (as I already posted) was the expansion of Hanks and the new dinner opening. There is now a very large, beautiful deck with table, umbrellas and even a bar height ledge with stools facing the ocean. We were very happy to see Hank and even happier to be able to stay on SBE for dinner after a long travel day. We met a lovely couple from Canada while there who shared their visit to Grand Case with us. It sounded lovely and we might actually have to add in a couple of nights (never take away from Anguilla) to check it out. As tradition goes, we ended the night on our oceanfront balcony with wine. The peace I woke up too this morning is one of the main reasons we keep coming back. No other places envelopes us so quickly and completely. Today will be a dedicated Shoal Bay East day including our Sunday tradition of Gwen's. (Although swimming may be out as right now the water is churning a bit---- maybe still just too early for calm?) Tomorrow we will venture out to places on the island we have never been and maybe a few we have. It's good to be in back in paradise.