Sunday, June 7, 2009

Beautiful Barbuda!

Beautiful Barbuda!
Somehow that seems like an understatement. You have to see this pristine, unspoiled island to believe it. I suggest you mix yourself a rum punch, put on some island music and sit back in a comfortable chair. We're taking you to Barbuda!
We first heard about Barbuda, oh about 25 years ago. We were watching "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous" and they were featuring a new resort called The K Club that had recently opened on Barbuda. The resort looked beautiful but it was the long stretches of undeveloped, pink sand beaches that we remembered some 25 years later. We were excited to finally get here!

I think that when most people dream about going cruising, they picture themselves anchored off of a pristine, unpopulated beach with nothing but waves lapping on the shore, the sounds of the sea birds, the beauty and the solitude. The reality is there aren't too many places left like that. We found all of that in Barbuda.

Pink Beach north of Coco Point on the west shore of Barbuda.
This picture is not color-enhanced. The sand is a soft pink color and feels like powdered sugar.

No, there wasn't anyone around to take this picture. Prop the camera up on something and set the timer.

The beach in front of the Coco Point Lodge which was already closed for the season.

The K Club which was featured on that show all those years ago is now closed, the once beautiful resort falling into disrepair.

The only other living things we saw all day. Oh yes, there were some wild horses that roamed down the beach around sunset.

After Pink Beach, we moved a few miles to the north to anchor near Low Bay. A few days later the sailing vessels "Metalia" and "Wildcat" pulled in. We met John & Marie and Chris & Pam in Grenada last year. The 6 of us decided to take a tour of the Frigate Bird Rookery, the town of Codrington and do a hike to some caves on the east coast.
First a little bit about Barbuda. Lying 30 miles north of her sister island of Antigua, Barbuda is 14 miles long by 8 miles wide. Unlike the more mountainous islands that surround her, Barbuda is flat. It is difficult to see from offshore until you are very close. The population of about 1,600 seem to fiercely protect their island from development.

Inside the Codrington Lagoon is the Nature Reserve of the Frigate Bird. According to our guide, Clifford Joseph, Frigate birds come from all over the Caribbean to nest here. The Magnificent Frigate Bird can have a wingspan of up to 8 feet. They can fly at speeds of up to 22 mph and at heights of 2,000 ft. But oddly enough they can neither walk or swim. Clifford told us that if a bird accidentally lands in the water, 2 others will swoop down and clip it's wings lifting it out of the water. They are aggressive birds that we often see stealing the catch from other sea birds. Clifford says he sometimes has to fight them off when they try to steal fish from him as he empties his traps. But they have earned their name as they are a magnificent sight to see gliding through the sky.

This is a type of jellyfish found in the lagoon, one that doesn't sting.

Because the males leave after mating, all these pictures are of females and their young.

Marie, Chris, Pam & John with Clifford and Wendy in the background.
The photographer, thoroughly enjoying himself. It was a beautiful place!

Next, we were off to see caves on the east coast of the island.

Jim, Wendy and Chris grabbed the seats with the view. Wheeeeeeeee!

Our guide, Calvin Gore telling us a little about the area. A naturalist, elected official on the Barbuda Council, tour guide and owner of thoroughbred racehorses, Calvin was a very interesting guy.

Back in the town of Codrington we stopped for a lunch of fresh Barbuda lobster and goat stew at Jackie's restaurant. Jackie lived in New York for awhile but home kept calling to her. Barbuda seems like it would be an expensive place to live but as Calvin told us, "What we make, stays in our pocket. We don't have all the temptations of things to spend our money on."

A waterspout forming out to sea.
Another beautiful beach. Are you tired of it yet?

This is the narrow strip of sand between the ocean and the lagoon. The fence was put in to help hold the sand, which washed away during a bad storm.

Clifford (our guide in the lagoon) applied to the government for this piece of ocean front property 30 years ago. Smart guy! No one but a Barbudian can own land here and it gets passed from one generation to the next.

If you are cruising the Caribbean, Barbuda shouldn't be missed!