Barbuda has been described as a large version of Anegada in the British Virgin Islands. At first glance this appears to be true. But I found the two islands very, very different.
First view of Barbuda
Anegada has a lot to offer visitors and certainly caters to tourists in the usual BVI way, which I very much enjoy.
Barbuda seems to have chosen to remain staunchly independent of visitors and prefers to retain its’ local flavor. My understanding is that the island is owned by the residents and if a company wants to build something, say a resort, the whole town votes to accept or decline the plan. So far it appears few, if any, outsiders have managed to develop Barbuda. The result is that Barbuda is unspoiled and beautiful, but it is also difficult to find services or restaurants.
When we walked through Codrington Village, few of the stores had signs so it was difficult to tell what was available. The grocery was pretty well stocked, but because there was no sign, I would have walked past it if a woman had not walked out with bags of food.
The children here have the freedom of roaming a hometown where everyone knows each other and they are safe to explore. I watched one boy upright a bike much too big for him and serpentine up the road; another child skipped into the grocery and asked for clothes pins for her mom; two young boys were gently scolded by a lady sitting on her porch as she reminded them their mothers expected them to go straight home from school. I felt like I was looking back to a time when computers and smart phones and stranger danger didn’t exist.
The water clarity and colors of Barbuda are beyond belief. Our first anchorage was Gravenor Bay. Navigating into this bay is tricky because there are a lot of reefs. It is very important to only enter when the sun is high and the visibility excellent, but once through the maze of reefs, the settled anchorage and amazingly clear water is worth the effort.
Watching a storm from Gravenor Bay
Another dramatic storm that passed beyond us
I tried to get a picture of how clear the water is by taking a picture while standing on the bow of LIB. You can see the coral and sand!
The water is about 15 feet deep in this photo
We decided to move to Low Bay to see the NW side of the island and get close to Codrington Village. We motored around Coco Point before raising the sails. To our delight, a few dolphins came to say hello! They didn’t stay very long, but we sure enjoyed seeing them.
Dolphins swim under the bow of Let It Be
The 11 mile expanse from Palmetto Point to Low Bay is a beautiful beach where the sand is so fine you sink as you walk. We certainly didn’t walk the whole length but we did enjoy hanging out appreciating its’ beauty.
Sand so fine you sink as you walk
Captain is always up for a roll in the sand
As you can see, Captain dives right in to the beach scene. The more sand she can dig in and roll in and generally grind into her fur, the happier she is!
Moving to Low Bay allowed us hire a guide to take us on a tour of the Frigate Bird Sanctuary. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of this tour but ended up thoroughly enjoying it. . Our tour guide, Clifford, took us to the sanctuary via his long boat, then he walked the boat through the area so we had an excellent view of the birds. Ornithologists estimate that there are 5,000 birds in this colony which makes it one of the largest in the world. The pictures offer more than I can describe.
The male Frigate enlarges his gular pouch to attract females.
In addition to inflating the gular pouch, the male Frigate rapidly taps the pouch to create a drumming sound which adds to his attraction.
Come on, lady readers, you think those pouches are pretty sexy, right?
Females do not have pouches but instead have a white chest.
Young Frigates are downy white
When born, the babies have downy, white feathers which are gradually replaced by the black plumage. In the picture above you can see two very young Frigates. Toward the back you can see a Frigate that is a few months old; it has begun to grow some of its’ black feathers but still has a good deal of baby down on the chest.
Wind forecasts were beginning to pick up so we lifted anchor and headed back to Green Island, Antigua to be in place for kiting should the predicted winds materialize.
Happily, the winds did blow and we arrived at Green Island with plenty of time to get in an afternoon kiteboarding set.
For the kiters out there, here are two pics…..
Frank chilling as he heads back toward the beach
Hunter boosts off the back of LIB to start his session
Next stop Guadeloupe.