Barbuda - Codrington
Chores this morning as Adam was sent in his scuba gear under the boat to clean off some of the multiplying sea life from the anti foul that is not supposed to let them grow. He was greeted by about 20 eager fish (they have enjoyed the bits of dinner that have gone over the side last night and this morning so maybe thought Adam was bringing them more - but they also enjoyed barnacles that had been pinged off the keel).
We are anchored off a beach (as I mentioned yesterday - it is very long), but over the other side of that beach is a huge saltwater lagoon - the beach is really a relatively thin strip separating the two. We hadn't seen the lagoon until we landed on the beach and walked the 10 yards or so to the top of it. It is very beautiful here - you can stand on the top of the beach and see bright turquoise water to the seaward side, white and pink sand in the middle ( pink because of the large amount of pink shells pieces in it) then on the other side is the lagoon, where the water is clear but appears green. We thought landing the tender in the small amount of surf on the beach would be the challenge in our trip - but there was a squall going over when we got there so it was quite windy - the sea was still calm and the beach was ok - but the lagoon looked much more exciting, we hadn't expected waves in a lagoon but it had waves that are fairly big for a small tender so after some cursing and swearing from dragging the tender over the 30 metres or so at the narrowest part of the beach . . . we managed to get completely soaked launching it into the waves and wind on the other side. Then a bumpy one and a half mile ride over to the quay in Codrington. Codrington is the only town/village on Barbuda and isn't very big (1500 people in total live on the island).
We had a sort of 'Codrington treasure hunt' to find all the places we had to visit to clear customs and immigration back into Barbuda and we covered most of the town during this. We were sent to the post office by a helpful taxi driver to see if Miss Simpson was there, she wasn't so the post office lady sent us to the tourist office where we found Miss Simpson to whom we paid £5 for the permit to cruise Barbuda (Miss Simpson was 'Port Control'), we were then provided with a tourist map and directed to customs. The Customs office turned out to be in someone's front room, with map in hand we were wandering down the road looking for it, another lady asked if we were looking for customs and said she would take us - we went to a house with a wooden, hand painted 'custom's' sign, she told us to wait at the front door while she went round and opened up from the back - it turns out that she was Customs. So, customs forms filled in and we were sent to find the little immigration office on the other side of town where passports were stamped.
Codrington is a very sleepy little town with some houses, a few shops dotted around, a small airstrip and a few very small cafe/bar/restaurants, a school and a couple of churches, we had a nice few hours walking around seeing the town and getting some lunch. There are about 4 exclusive type hotels dotted around Barbuda - one about 2 miles up the beach from where we are anchored, but I think that they only cater to small numbers of people as we only saw a couple of other tourists out and about today and the only people we have seen on the beach are people from another yacht, it's a very quiet and a wild/remote feeling place, a total contrast to the harbours in Antigua. There are lots of friendly people though - everyone we passed said hello or asked us if we needed help finding anything
When we parked our tender at the fishing quay I tried to find someone to ask if it was OK to leave it there - I found a lady called Janet in an office after a search through a number of empty offices and I ended up chatting to her for about 15 minutes - she was really friendly and funny, she laughed when I said we were anchored on the beach over the other side of the lagoon as she said she had lived in Codrington all her life and had never got around to going to see the beach over there (I suppose we never go and visit things on our own doorstep!). . . . . she was impressed that we had navigated ourselves from England all the way out here, but she advised against going in the Bermuda triangle on the way home!
Quick story I read about Barbuda . . . . the people are very protective and proud of their island (as they should be) and although they are grouped with Antigua they see themselves as separate (I think Britain probably lumped them together for admin purposes). The Antiguan government is into big hotels and money from Tourism and had been keen to develop Barbuda and it's amazing beaches. They were planning on building a big hotel complex - and got as far as putting up the temporary offices for the construction site. The people of Barbuda weren't having that and in the night they all came down en-masse to the site and pushed the temporary offices into the sea, so that was the end of that. They obviously like their island as it is which is definitely a good thing.