Onward north from Antigua...towards Barbuda.

Chelone's travels.....
John and Susie Blair.
Sat 23 Mar 2013 14:14
We wrenched ourselves away from English Harbour Antigua and made the
short sail around the coast and anchored near Bird Island with it's
coral reefs, beautiful beaches and coves of golden sand with overhanging
palm trees. Although only a few miles sailing we thought we'd set the
fishing line as we hadn't for a while and within an hour I was fighting with
a 30+lb Dorado (Mahi-Mahi)!

I filleted off enough meat to feed a small army and although we cooked and
ate a fair amount on the BBQ that night we had loads left over so space
was made in the fridge.

As we left the anchorage for Barbuda the following morning we were greeted
by a huge Humpback Whale and her calf as they were swimming around in the
bay in only 40 feet depth. We got a good look at them before they swam off
though these were not the first we'd seen in Caribbean waters...we'd seen
some off Dominica too.

After a very pleasant sail (with one Barracuda caught) we arrived in the
beautiful turquoise waters off Barbuda's west coast, a stunning eleven mile
long stretch of golden sand fringed with a pink tideline made up of tiny
shells where the only building is the small 'Lighthouse Hotel'.

There were a handful of other yachts anchored at intervals along the shore
and once we'd anchored I took some fish over to a French flagged neighbour
who turned out to have a party of nine onboard. They were very
appreciative and presented me with a large bottle of Martinique Rum as a
trade....lovely - Jubbly!

On this west coast, just meters behind the beach there's the huge expanse of
Codrington Lagoon the other side of which is the town of Codrington and the
Customs & Immigration offices where we need to visit in order to check out
(Antigua & Barbuda share sovereignty). Barbuda is a wild country where
horses, deer and donkeys run free and where the beaches are said to be more
beautiful than anywhere in the Caribbean, they're certainly longer.

Also in the lagoon there's a huge Frigate Bird colony said to easily
compare to any in the Galapagos and we fancied taking a look so we
dragged the dinghy over the sandbar and crossed the lagoon to Codrington
where we were invited to join a small group of Antiguan people for the short
boat trip.

Frigate birds have the biggest wing area in relation to their body weight of
bird, at just 3lbs with an 8 foot wingspan! They can only take off and land
from the mangrove on which they roost as they have very short legs, they
scoop their food from the surface of the sea and are masters of letting
other birds do the fishing then harassing them until they drop their catch.
Frigate birds always return to their nest sites and were used by the
Polynesians as homing pigeons!

Our guide blasted us across the lagoon then as we approached the nesting
birds shut the engine down and used a pole to punt us into the mangrove. As
far as the eye could see, clumpy mangrove bushes are full of little heads
sticking out.We were brought right up close to the nesting birds where many
males had inflated huge bright red pouches under their throats to
attract a mate, they also drum their beaks against it (hearing it reminded
of the sound woodpeckers make).

Our guide returned us to the quay and we were given a lift into town by the
other people in the boat, they dropped us off right outside the immigratioin
office though I had to go down the road a little further to see Customs
first which was just someone's house really. Clearance sorted, we had
a wander about the place and chatted with a few of the locals before paying
a visit to the newly opened Museum. Barbuda, like a lot of the Caribbean
Islands has a really interesting history, I suppose you've got to like that
sort of thing but Susie and myself certainly do and we spent a while talking
to the curator as he showed us ancient Arawak Indian artefacts found by
archaeologists in caves at the other side of the island as well as learning
of the islands more recent past, slavery, agriculture etc.We didn't see any
horses let alone wild deer but there were donkeys wandering around
So it's back in the dinghy for the trip across the lagoon then drag it over
the sandbar and back to Chelone....some light supper, a sundowner then a
DVD titled 'The Impossible'...about a Tsunami surviving family!

Barbuda...Done! next...St.Bartholemy (St.Barts) 60 miles to the North West.

See you there! JB & S