Bankie Banx's Dune Preserve plays an important part in several of the local philanthropic projects begun and supported by this celebrated reggae singer known as the “Anguillan Bob Dylan.” In 2005, he founded Project Stingray, an arts and music program for young islanders, helping to provide the musical instruments that many young islanders cannot afford. His numerous concerts and festivals held at his Anguilla Dune Preserve are some of the most popular events on the island. Proceeds from events held here support Project Stingray and many other local charities.
Bankie Banx's Dune Preserve is itself a charitable project, even though it is also one of the most popular bars and dining spots on the island. The two acres of beautiful white sand on Rendezvous Bay protect and are helping to rebuild the once magnificent dunes in Anguilla that were almost completely destroyed by a 1999 hurricane, new construction along the beaches, and shifting tides. Prior to that, the Anguilla Dune Preserve set behind a beautiful dune that reached 50 feet in height and which continues to grow today.
The beaches and dunes in Anguilla comprise one of the three fragile ecosystems that make this island (that does not have rainforest covered mountains or many historic sites as do many other Caribbean islands) so popular. The other two are an abundance of coral reefs providing superb scuba diving and snorkeling and shallow salt ponds that shelter a plethora of birdlife. Many of the salt ponds and their delicate balance of life depend upon the dunes, and the Preserve is working with the Anguilla National Trust to restore and safeguard these natural resources.
Most of the remaining dunes in Anguilla are on the beaches of the southern shores at the western tip of the island, and the Anguilla Dune Preserve is located here on beautiful Rendezvous Bay. It sits between the Temenos Golf Course, which is operated by the Cap Juluca Hotel on neighboring Maundays Bay, and the CuisinArt, one of the finest beach resorts on the island.
In addition to superb seafood and local cuisine, Bankie Banx's Dune Preserve is an eco-friendly, laid back establishment with whimsical architecture comprised of naturally weathered driftwood sculptures. It is a work of art providing the backdrop for the Moonsplash Music Festival held over several days in late March and drawing international musical talent such as Jimmy Buffett, Marcia Griffiths, and Gregory Isaacs. Whether you’re enjoying sailing cruises offshore or walking along the beach, this popular spot is hardly visible since it blends so naturally into the landscapes. Using not only driftwood, but also small boats and other recycled flotsam that has washed up on the beaches, the Dune Preserve is a rambling, ramshackle, and oddly endearing establishment. Music is a constant, and there are even hammocks to help visitors get into the laid back spirit. The sand is soft and white, the views beautiful, and the ambiance is funky. This is one of the most popular beaches on the island; many of the most diverse things to do in Grenada are located here and there are a number of resorts and vacation rentals available.
Image: Anguilla Board of Tourism