Antigua and Barbuda

JJMoon Diary
Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Sat 10 Mar 2007 20:49

Whatever the cause of our electrical mishap the upshot is that we have damage to the isolation transformer and the charger/inverter as well as a burnt out AC adapter to Mags’ computer.  The isolation transformer is off the boat and being repaired, probably at moderate cost.  The charger is fourteen years old and relatively inefficient so rather than send it back to Holland for repair we have decided to buy a new one of a different brand which has already arrived from the States.  All very painful but we had been talking about a change anyway.


Unlike many cruising boats we do not carry solar panels or a wind generator and rely on a big alternator on the main engine and the diesel generator to recharge the batteries.  We found when crossing the ocean that we were running these longer than we wished – the usage/charging balance is one of the major issues for long distance cruisers.  One way to tackle the problem is to install a bigger and more efficient charger.  So some good may emerge from this sorry experience.


We only came on to the quay to make it more convenient for our 5:45am taxi appointment for Barbuda.


Mags writes:


Barbuda is a low lying island to the north of Antigua.  The main attraction other than long empty sandy beaches is the bird colony on the lagoon where the magnificent frigate birds breed.


We arranged a tour through an agency which saw us getting up at 5:30am for a flight leaving the airport outside St Johns at 8:00am.  The ancient twin engine Otter with 19 seats was piloted by a grizzled veteran in jeans and sweatshirt with “HM Submarines” printed on his “baseball”cap.  Barry pointed out you probably needed to be of a certain age to know how to fly one of these planes.  (He was proved wrong on our return though)  The flight was just 20 minutes.


Our Otter.


Charlie our driver and guide picked us up at the airport and drove us to the water’s edge on the lagoon where we embarked on Conrad's boat and were taken to the frigate bird colony.  This was all we had expected; just us, Conrad, the birds, the mangroves, and the water.  We could have stayed all day.  Although it was a bit late in the mating season there were still a few males with red throats bulging trying to attract a female.  There are several thousand pairs in residence and the Barbudans claim that their colony is now the largest in the world, surpassing that on the Galapagos.


Magnificent frigate birdsWe could have stayed all day


Back on shore, after a tour of the island and lunch, lobster at a small local restaurant, the program was swimming, snorkelling or diving.  We were taken to "your private beach".  No-one else was there.  We were left with two chairs under a tree and an ice box with drinks.  It was just 1:00pm and Charlie promised to be back at 4:00pm.  Now Barry doesn't really like beaches!  We snoozed and bathed.  I walked and snorkelled.  Come 4:00pm no Charlie but a heavy rain squall arrived sending us scurrying to the only real shelter, the security guard's hut at the gates of a hotel.  Almost reminiscent of English beach holidays!  But warmer.  Charlie eventually did rescue us and delivered us back to the airstrip for our return flight.


Our beach!Barry hates beaches! 


We hope to be heading south by the middle of next week.