Following the parish calendar from Easter to September on the island of Anguilla. Bishop Brooks travels to St Martin to visit his parishioners.
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4,000 miles South West of the British Isles
where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean sea,
lies the island of Anguilla.
Colonised by English settlers in the 19th century,
it was quickly abandoned because of its poor soil,
so the African descendants, many of them former slaves,
became landowners rather than plantation workers,
fostering an independent spirit and close connection to the land that
Today, just 3% of the population is white and it's now
one of the 14 British Overseas Territories with its own government
and the Queen as its head of state.
-It's very similar to growing up in Cornwall.
Everybody looks out for each other and it's just a really nice way of living.
I have been here 23 years and I still think I'm kind of British.
With an average temperature of 80 degrees,
British expats have been lured here by the beaches,
low taxes and relaxed way of life.
We have a tradition in Anguilla of going to take a sea bath.
This is the epitome of paradise.
I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
But this delicate island's future is precarious.
With few natural resources, Anguillans have always had to be
inventive to make ends meet, competing with larger nearby
islands like Antigua and Saint Kitts for the tourist dollar.
Here, the threat of hurricanes is ever-present and in the eye of these
storms is a rock, the Anglican Minister Bishop Erol Brooks
who provides over the island's largest parish.
As a people, we stand strong, when things get rough.
This paradise is extremely fragile.
Anguilla time, Anguilla style.
You must come to Anguilla. You must come to Anguilla.
You must. Here is another beautiful selection.
With a population of only 14,000,
Anguilla is home to 19 different churches and over 15 denominations.
But the main parish here is Anglican and it's overseen by the Bishop.
This is Saint Mary's parish church in the valley in Anguilla.
Yeah. So the doors and windows, they can be thrown open and the nice
breezes flow through.
But also, as we sing the praises, the song goes forth.
As the leader of the Anglican diocese
of the north eastern Caribbean and Aruba,
Bishop Brooks presides over not just Anguilla,
but also 11 neighbouring islands.
Consequently, he spends much of his time travelling around his vast
parish, attending to his flock.
The sea is very special for Anguillans.
Anguillans have been seafarers from way back.
Today, the Bishop is visiting his parishioners on the neighbouring
island of Saint Martin, eight miles away.
25 minutes by ferry from Anguilla.
It is home to several hundred Anguillans.
I do enjoy visiting parishioners.
We do not want to be so heavily minded that we are not earthly good.
It's important to keep your feet on the ground.
God our Father, we bring before you your servant.
We ask that you stretch forth your healing hands upon her and like as
you have helped her in times past,
you will help her now and in the future.
Good morning, sir.
-How are you, sir?
-Very good, sir.
He knows everyone and everyone knows him.
With or without a cross.
-A little token before you leave.
Thank you. Food galore.
This is my doggie bag.
If by chance, I get hungry on the ferry, lollipop chicken.
Jamaican salt fish.
Don't eat too much otherwise you keep expanding.
You know, you have to do everything in moderation, including eating.
Anguilla has few natural resources and the island's economy relies
heavily on high-end tourism.
With an average temperature of 80 degrees and crystal clear seas,
much of Anguilla's glorious coastline plays host to luxury hotels.
One of the most popular is on the west of the island.
These are our beachfront villas.
They are four to five bedrooms each and in season, in high season,
they can go for over 15 to 17,000 US dollars a night.
Anna Kennedy relocated to Anguilla from Cornwall over 25 years ago.
I actually moved to Anguilla in 1989 which kind of freaks people out when
you say you have been here for 27 years, but hey,
when you find paradise, you don't leave.
It's very similar to growing up in Cornwall.
Everybody's either in farming, fishing, or tourism,
which is exactly like Anguilla.
Everybody went to school with each other, everybody looks out for each
other, and it's just a really nice way of living.
Anna has worked her way up the horticultural ranks and is now
director of landscaping at the resort
managing 24 members of staff and working around the clock to keep the
lush manicured grounds in immaculate condition.
We have 35 acres, which is probably the largest...
..intrinsically landscaped property on the island.
Basically what you're looking at is anything that is green is mine,
and I have to look after it and maintain it.
Unfortunately we do tend to have a lot of challenges just keeping the
grass green and with successive droughts that we have had,
it's all a big challenge.
So I've now got this lovely square yellowed out bit of grass that I'm
going to have to paint, unfortunately.
I paint my grass when it goes really bad.
I've got special grass paint, so you can see that we have our
trusty little sprayer here and we go around and we just zap the nasty
looking ones and paint them up and they can look green.
We have to be careful, because it really stains everything.
Just got to make it look a little better.
Unfortunately, on really dead grass, it does not stick as well,
but where it's just been a little lightly cooked here, it does
do a lot better.
You will probably have to come back and get a second coat.
To meet the demands of her five-star guests,
Anna spends much of her time replacing dead and dying plants.
Unfortunately, because Anguilla has such a challenge with growing really
interesting plants that our guests want to see,
we have to import a lot of the plants that we use here from places
like Hawaii or Miami, Florida.
Anna buys most of her wide array of plants from Gerry Brown,
owner of the Anguilla garden centre.
-Got good water pressure?
-Yeah, pressure good.
Water is like gold in Anguilla.
It's scarce. In England, it would just be to turn on the tap
or press the button, everything comes on.
A little bit more involved out here.
Anna's selection of plants for her resort is just a fraction of the
cargo that Gerry plans to have shipped via container from Miami.
We're a little nervous every time we ship a container in, because
we're talking about 22, £23,000 worth of product and that is
to get it door to door from Florida.
There's a lot to lose if things go wrong.
Sometimes we get surprises when the container is opened,
some plants have not travelled very well.
It's a little bit nerve-racking, based on previous experiences,
you never know exactly what you can get. We'll look forward to it.
Anguilla is famed for its 33 beautiful white sand beaches,
all of which are publicly owned.
And like many islanders,
Bishop Brooks tries to get in an early-morning swim,
whenever he's on the island.
The beaches are beautiful.
And people sort of take it for granted, the turquoise water and the
beautiful sand and they do make use of it but I don't think our people
make as much use of it as they ought to.
It is very therapeutic.
From time to time, you hear people say,
"The doctor has recommended that I have a sea bath,"
because it helps with the rheumatism or the arthritis
or what ever it is they're going through.
You have to take moments, for reflection and meditation.
Everything is so serene, you just enjoy nature,
far from all the cares.
It's just wonderful.
Protecting these beautiful waters and coastline,
is the responsibility of the National Trust,
which is charged with conserving Anguilla's spectacular reefs,
vibrant flora and fauna and exotic wildlife.
Based at their headquarters in the centre of the island,
Executive Director Farah Mukhida is one of five full-time staff.
Most of the UK's biodiversity actually is found in the overseas territories.
Some of the major areas we look at,
sea birds and sea turtles, everyone loves turtles.
I think there is something about them, I don't know.
Especially the little hatchlings, they're very charismatic.
And so, I think it's a species that you can kind of latch onto,
but at the same time, they're also so important for the environment.
So if you're able to protect the turtle itself,
it means that so much more is being protected,
because of the reefs that they use or the seagrass beds that they need
or the beaches that they need.
So if you can protect the sea turtle and the habitats that they need,
you're protecting everything else that uses those areas.
All three species of turtle living in the seas around Anguilla are endangered.
So monitoring their movement and numbers is vital to support
the legislative protection for these iconic creatures.
And today, for Jan Richardson, it means an early start,
before the seas get rough and the sun gets too hot.
I got up this morning and I was like, "Oh, my God, I want to sleep!"
The team are preparing to set off for Scrub Island,
one of Anguilla's five offshore quays.
Right here in the distance, you see the two islands.
You see the smaller little rock on the side? That is Little Scrub.
The bigger rock is Big Scrub, or Scrub Island.
That's where we're heading.
Scrub is usually at least on that backside, Deadman's Bay, it tends to
be rough on a good day, so... It gets rough.
Today, the Queen's representative on the island, the governor,
Christina Scott, is joining the National Trust team to observe
their conservation efforts first-hand.
This is my first time going out with the National Trust today
and I'm very much looking forward to it.
I've not seen turtle tagging happening and I'm looking forward to
learning a lot from the team about the important work they're doing to
conserve turtles and to protect them.
Also joining them is deputy director of the fisheries department,
Stuart Wynne, who first moved to Anguilla from Norfolk over ten years ago.
We are testing out new GPS data loggers and hopefully we can come
back the following week and pick up these data loggers that look at the
movements of the turtles. Fingers crossed.
Ten minutes later, they arrive.
But because of its narrow reef barrier,
the safest way to get ashore
is to leave the rib and swim the last 50 yards to the beach.
It was a little bit choppy coming through the path but we had our
local expert Stewart here who was able to point us in the right direction.
The waves brought us through the channel.
-And then they wet me.
Measuring just three square miles, Scrub Island is uninhabited and
boasts an array of unspoiled wildlife,
including the hatchlings of green turtles,
who spend their juvenile years in this shallow lagoon.
So they're putting out a net across the mouth of the lagoon and the
turtles come in, in the calm, and spend the night here and stuff
and so our idea is we put the net across that way and then we drag it
this way and catch all the turtles,
put tags on them and then put them back.
This is an area that they spend a lot of time in,
whether it's sleeping or foraging, even nesting, what ever it is,
then we can try to lobby for protection of this area.
The last time we were here, we caught maybe 15,
but I haven't seen any heads pop up yet.
We will be lucky if we get five...
I haven't seen any heads pop up yet and the tide is quite low.
-We will just have to see.
With Easter just a couple of weeks away, a few miles up the road,
rehearsals have started for the Palm Sunday play at Saint Mary's Anglican Church.
Let's begin. So, disciples get ready for when your turn to enter.
In charge of proceedings is Canon Knight,
one of two ministers that support the bishop and the parish.
Rhoda, are you ready now?
-The scriptures say,
that King David himself rode into Jerusalem on a mule!
# Our God reigns
# Our God reigns
-# Our God reigns...
He is good. He is good.
He doesn't have much patience with nonsense and he pushes people on.
Sarah? You don't wait till they're finished. Start now.
I can't believe that Jesus is coming to our house today.
Especially this week. Everyone wants him. But he's coming to us.
This is a rehearsal, yeah. We're just getting ready, yeah.
The Easter play.
You know. That thing that's coming up in two weeks' time.
# Angel of the Lord all dressed in white
# Hallelujah, what a happy day
# Push and shove with all your might
# Hallelujah, what a happy day... #
-On a scale of one to five, what's our rate?
-What's your rate?
-Four and a half.
-Four and a half.
-Out of ten?
-One to five, that's the scale.
-He said four and a half.
-OK, four and a half. OK, one to five.
OK, OK, OK. Thought it was ten.
Back on Scrub Island, the National Trust and Fisheries Department,
joined today by the governor, are finally netting the green turtles
which they've come to monitor.
OK, right, let's put you in the shade.
Oh! You're knocking sand in your friend's eyes.
Don't do that. It's just a complete privilege to be this close
to such amazing wildlife.
You can see how they were so easily hunted to near extinction because
they're easy to catch and pretty easy to store.
Mr, you're not going to get away, I'm afraid. So keen.
So in 1995, the government of Anguilla implemented a sea turtle moratorium.
And it's basically banned the capturing and harvesting of sea turtles.
The moratorium is up in 2020 and we need to be able to present some sort
of data to our government to let them know that, hey,
either our populations are increasing or decreasing.
And so all of this work that we're doing here today will help to sort
of inform that.
Of the six green turtles the teams have managed to catch,
only one is large enough to carry the all-important data-logger.
When it comes to the surface the idea is that it transmits a signal,
works out where it is, and that information is stored on the tag.
So only one was tagged with the GPS logger.
So that's what we'll be looking for next week.
The challenge nest week will be to actually try to find and recapture it.
So, that'll be interesting.
Back on Anguilla, at the main quay,
the weekly cargo shipment from Florida has arrived.
Onboard one of today's 40-foot containers,
is a very special consignment.
£23,000 worth of plants, trees and flowers.
For the Anguilla garden centre owner, Gerry, it's a big day.
We don't know until the doors are open, really,
on the condition of the plants.
Past experience tells us we should be OK.
We may have one or two examples in there of poor shipment.
Plants that have suffered.
The soft tissue plants usually are the ones to succumb to the six or
seven days in a refrigerated environment.
It's an expensive shipment and we're hoping all is well.
We'll wait and see.
And someone else who's eagerly waiting to see the cargo
is Anna Kennedy.
Hey, Jerry, mornings.
As director of landscaping at a local resort,
she has ordered thousands of pounds worth of plants.
There's always a worry that when we open up a container that we're not
going to get what we need. The customs have to be here to open up
the doors, just to make sure there are plants inside and not anything else.
You know, some people do get a little advantageous and put other
things on board that aren't on the manifest.
On hand to check the cargo,
is Trenton Roach from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Hold back the door.
They look nice and green, Anna.
Yeah. They're looking good. This is positive. Sorry.
Those are Bromeliads.
And, obviously, Mr Roach here has to inspect them for any kind of
hitchhikers because, obviously, we do get them.
And just going to inspect them and make sure that he doesn't have
anything that we're importing.
A good home for them to hitchhike.
A good place because this water usually sits in the centre.
Well, we find snails, we find snakes, we find lizards.
Not here, so far, so that's good.
A pretty good shipment so far. So let's keep it that way.
I hope it stays that way.
-Saves Jerry some money.
-Saves Jerry some money.
-So, Jerry and I have known each other for 27 years.
He actually brought me over to the Caribbean.
We met in Bristol, for my job interview,
and I came over and I was his assistant in one of the hotels here.
We're both born in Bristol.
No, I was born in Oxford.
Oh, well, excuse me.
Oh. I was raised pretty much in Cornwall and went to school in
Devon, which is why I'm a South West mutt.
You still get the old "Rrr," out of me occasionally.
As long as Anna's happy, we're happy.
She's a good customer.
I'm a very good customer, Jerry Brown, don't you forget that.
Very good shipment, I think.
Pretty good plants.
My concerns early on have not been borne out.
I'd say we're very happy.
It's been a week since the National Trust
and Fisheries Department joined forces to monitor turtles on Scrub Island.
For Jan and Stuart, it's the day of reckoning for their joint conservation effort.
Yeah, we're heading back over to Scrub.
And we're hoping to catch the turtle back that had the GPS logger put on
-Do you know, the unpredictable factors are...
Nothing is guaranteed, so...
We're hoping that it'll still be there, but we'll see when we get there.
They've got something here.
They've got something?
-What is that?
-Small one. It's a sea turtle, they got it, they got it.
A small one. I don't think it's the one with the log on it, though,
otherwise they would have screamed.
They would have shouted, "Yeah!"
-We've got the one with the GPS logger.
-Can I hug you?
-That's so good.
The guy in the orange shorts over there,
is bringing the one with the logger on it, so that's quite exciting.
Hopefully it hasn't leaked and there will be some interesting data.
Yay! Our star.
-It looks good in there, as well.
-This is the star of the show.
-There's the GPS logger.
It's not waterlogged or anything like that.
So we're looking forward to some good data.
It said 504.
You see the times? That's the start time,
and then we've got the end time of 10:43. Oh, no!
We set the net last week at nine.
So that would kind of work-out is about that time, 10:43.
Sadly for the team, the logger has malfunctioned and hasn't recorded
the data of the green turtle's movements.
I'm disappointed. I wanted to see a lovely map of all these data points,
where the turtle had been for the last two days.
You can't control them,
you can't tell them where to go or where not to go.
We're disappointed. We were hoping for a little bit more.
I guess more tangible type data.
But it's still data.
Well, we recaptured every single one that we caught last week.
So that really suggests that it's a very closed population.
But if it does turn out to be a closed population,
in an ideal world, some protection would be afforded to the area.
We just attached another logger to this one.
We figure as the resin's still good on the back of this turtle,
-we may as well give it another go.
Oh, my God!
It liked me, clearly.
Back on the mainland, and with his precious cargo unloaded,
Jerry's first customer for his new shipment is Trudy Nixon from Wiltshire.
-How are you?
-I'm good, Jerry. How are you doing?
Trudy has ordered a sea grape tree to fill an unsightly gap in her garden.
We brought some good soil.
Oh, you brought me some good soil?
Thank you. I was wondering about that.
That's basically Anguilla soil, right there.
Back in England, when you squeeze soil like that,
it will stay together.
This just falls apart.
How much do you think it weighs?
Lovely job. I'm very, very pleased with my tree.
Even though it looked huge on the lorry, it's not really that big.
But it's definitely the perfect shape and size for my gap.
So, I'm very happy with my tree.
Another successful tree planted.
In the centre of the island, at St Mary's Church in the valley,
it's the night of the Palm Sunday play and the cast are making
last-minute preparations for the big performance.
It's not for me to feel nervous, it's for them.
I have just one line, so I'm fine.
You give it all your heart, you know what I'm saying?
You know you can do it. Just throw your nerves to the wind,
-you know what I'm saying?
-I won't look at you.
Father, don't forget your maracas at the end.
I will try to remember.
No, you will remember.
On my honour, I promise.
God will overlook the flaws, the imperfections.
And so will you!
All right, we're going to start now.
MUSIC AND SINGING
It's not a Broadway production.
It's just something that we're doing to get into the spirit
of Passion Week and Easter.
The scriptures say that the devil himself rode in to Jerusalem on a mule.
# Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest... #
Thank you to all who have made this play,
The Jerusalem Encounter, a reality.
Our sincere thanks and appreciation to our director,
the Reverend Canon Samuel Knight.
Thank you, thank you.
I thought it was great. I enjoyed it.
Like I said, it wasn't Hollywood or Bollywood, it was Anguillawood.
And they're pleased with themselves, and I'm pleased with them.
I think it went very well.
Everybody was alert.
I'm going to sleep well tonight.
In the days to come...
..it's Easter in Anguilla.
This Easter weekend, you know, so you have a long weekend, people,
a long weekend of fun.
The National Trust travel to Prickly Pear Island to give three iguanas a new home.
I think he's saying, "Thank you for releasing me."
And for Bishop Brooks, it's a race against time to get the
church ready for his most important service of the year.
The parishioners will probably say to me,
"If the windows and doors aren't in place, we told you so,
"that it would be too much work to be done within two three days."
We're going to prove them wrong.
The first episode visits Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory in the Eastern Caribbean.
Bishop Brooks travels to St Martin to visit his parishioners, while his congregation at St Mary's and minister Canon Knight are gearing up for their biggest performance of the year - the Palm Sunday play.
Ex-pats Jerry and Anna await a rather important plant delivery from Miami, but will it all arrive in one piece?
The National Trust head out to Scrub Island on a mission to monitor turtles.