Barbuda is an island in the country of Antigua. It is such a contrast to all the volcanic islands we have previously been to; it’s low with the highest point just 125 ft above sea level. It is also very undeveloped and boasts a population of only 2,000. It is surrounded by shoals and reefs with beautiful long beaches, two of which we visited were 11 miles and 16 miles! We travelled with Gwen & Guillaume from Slow Waltz and had a beautiful few days.
The island is about 30 nm from Antigua and we had a lovely sail, averaging 6.5 kts with ENE winds up to 15 kts. We had a reef in as the forecast was for greater winds but we didn’t need it. Gwen took photos of Kool Kat and I took photos of Slow Waltz 🙂
On arrival we anchored in Low Bay and soon met the locals.
The next day we hired bikes and rode to Two Foot Bay on the north-east coast of the island.
Following our yummy hamburgers for lunch we then went with our guide, Clifford, or Guinness to his mates, to the frigate bird sanctuary. They are currently nesting so there were thousands either sitting on nests, attracting a partner or building a nest. The male can have a wingspan up to 7.5ft and even though they are a sea-bird, they can’t swim so they can’t land in the water. Clifford mentioned that they co-feed with the brown booby bird who plunges deep into the sea, herding a school of fish to the surface where the frigate bird swoops down and picks up dinner. Sounds like a good arrangement for the frigate bird!
To attract a female the male inflates his red-coloured throat pouch and makes a drumming sound with his beak. If that’s all he does she’s not particularly interested. She also requires him to gather twigs for the nest. She only lays one egg per season, both will sit on the nest and gestation lasts 44-51 days. At birth the chicks are naked but they develop a soft white down soon thereafter. It was a great experience to see these magnificent birds breeding.
The next day we navigated our way around the reefs to the south of the island, Cocoa Point. You definitely need your polarised lenses when coming into these areas. We spent a few days here anchored off the 16-mile beach snorkelling, collecting shells, reading and enjoying sundowners on the beach with other cruisers.
During the sail back to Jolly Harbour on Antigua, Mal caught a barracuda, which we threw back, and a wahoo, which we didn’t! This is our first major catch on Kool Kat and he attributes his success to a new system of arranging the lures which Josh from s/v Cavu explained to him (the gorgeous young guy in the green/orange shorts above). Thanks Josh, we owe you!
Whilst in Jolly we caught up with friends we hadn’t seen for a few months, met some new ones and replenished our larder before heading around to investigate the eastern (windward) side of Antigua. But, that’s in the next post!
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as we had living it 🙂 Sue & Mal xx