Bankie Banx was late.
The round-faced woman behind the bar, built from old boat parts and various flotsam, didn’t know if he’d show at all. She smiled and poured rum punch from a plastic jug, hoping fans of “the Anguillan Bob Dylan” would wait a bit longer.
He could just be running behind. Maybe he had taken one too many tokes and ended up in handcuffs, enduring a night that might inspire another one of his popular Reggae tunes like “Busted in Barbados.” Here at The Dune Preserve, which Banx owns on Anguilla, the only certainties were that the vibe would remain mellow and the music would live on.
The place, like the island itself, is far less hectic than what charter guests find on the usual Caribbean circuit. Consider the numbers: Sint Maarten, to the south, welcomes about 467,000 tourists a year to Anguilla’s 100,000 or so. The privacy is enticing. Celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt have been known to hide out in Anguilla’s rental homes, where they have a decent chance of avoiding the paparazzi. Charter guests come for the pink-sand beaches and sparkling, less-crowded harbors.
Anyone who takes a tender to The Dune Preserve might run into Banx (he plays on Wednesdays and some Fridays) or any number of musicians. The crooner’s Moonsplash festival each March has drawn everyone from John Mayer to the Bacon Brothers, Rita Marley, the Wailers and Alana Davis.
On this day, though, Banx was the celebrity of note, and he made his way inside with a cool stroll that divulged no details about whatever the holdup might have been. The barflies, on their third round now (at least), had already started swaying on their stools. They exchanged knowing glances and then closed their eyes, eager for the notes to wash over them.
Everybody was relaxed and ready to feel the unique beat of Anguilla.