OK, so we are finding out that most people have never even heard of Barbuda. Barbados or Bermuda yes…but Barbuda…where is that island??
Well….Just around 27 miles North of Antigua lies the beautiful island of Barbuda, at 17.5º N by 61.35º W, the island is about 14 miles long by 8 miles wide and is rocky and very flat. It reminded us a lot of the Bahamas or even parts of Florida. The highest point is only about 125 feet and with a population of around 1800. Our tour guide told us that they just started counting the children in the census so the population count rose from what it used to be, around 1500. He said that there is not much to do on the island except to make babies so he expects that the count will keep on going up 🙂
Lighthouse Bay Resort…most guests arrive by helicopter for an afternoon lunch or sunset dinner. We heard that the beers start at $20.00 US so be sure to bring your wallet and credit card!
Barbuda is the sister island of Antigua. It is part of the same country along with one other much smaller island called Redonda. (Redonda is one huge rock with a few grassy patches here and there. It is only one and a half miles long by half a mile wide. It is an isolated, forbidding island circled by sheer cliffs and is not inhabited and rarely visited by anyone. As you can guess we don’t plan on visiting there!)
Barbuda, low and flat in the distance.
OK, back to Barbuda, it has been known to be called the “Last frontier of the Caribbean.” Picture 17 miles of pink-and-white sandy beaches, often without a beach bum in sight. Well, that is if you don’t count us of course. Barbuda is one of those very few islands in the Caribbean that remains and probably will remain for some time so undeveloped that it seems positively deserted at times. There is only one town on the island and it’s called Codrington and the only way to get to it is to travel there by land or through the large inter-lagoon if you have a boat. This is different than other islands because most main towns that we visit are found along the coastline.
Beautiful pink sand beaches!!
Barbuda became separated from Antigua by about 28 miles, when the sea-levels of the world rose considerably at about 10,000 BC. Today parts of Barbuda are geologically flooded to form interesting lagoons. Here is the one of the worlds largest breeding and nesting colony of the magnificent frigate birds in the world. It was amazing to see them flying in their sanctuary, round and round they flew like a tornado made of birds…the pictures that we took just don’t do justice to what we saw.
Hundreds of frigate birds flying in the distance.
Barbuda has the deep blue Atlantic on one side with wild beaches full of driftwood and shells, and the Caribbean Sea on the other. We could not even begin to count the amount of sea turtles and fish that we saw swimming around this island it was full of life. It just goes to show that if there are less human impacts in an area that the wildlife seems to flourish!
Every house has a cistern to collect rain water.
Barbuda has all kinds of wildlife not seen on other Caribbean islands, including deer and wild boar, land turtles and guinea fowl. There are cattle, horses, donkeys, sheep and goats wandering about in the town. Here all of the houses have gates of some sort built around them to keep the wondering animals out.
When we first arrived to where we planned on anchoring the ocean’s swell was much larger than it had been forecast to be making the anchorage quite uncomfortable. We spent the night riding up and down and bouncing all over the place. Thankfully for a guide book that we had and our shallow draft we were able to navigate through the spotted reef and corals heads to a very calm and protected anchorage on the north side of the island the next morning. Even though the wind was still howling we were nice and protected in the islands lee. There was only one other boat there and it was just about flat calm. Gotta say love having shallow draft boat!! Without it we would have been miserable in the other rolly anchorage and most likely had been forced to leave Barbuda! Now we were ready to explore.
Other than enjoy the wildlife there is not a whole lot to do on Barbuda. I know that the tour guide had a suggestion but we did not want to make any more babies! So we instead set off to explore some caves that we had read about in one of the tourist guide books.
We hired a tour guide called “Loose”. Nice guy and he did a great job telling us about the island and his history on how he ended up there…he was not a “belonger” he had just moved there a few years ago. He came for a visit and fell in love with the place and decided to make it his home. Not any easy task from what he said since he was not born there especially starting up a tour business.
He took us to the Indian Caves and the cliff caves of Two Foot Bay where Barbudans have hunted and camped for centuries. Hunting is a big deal here and it was evident that lots of people have camped in and around these caves with remains of campfire pits all around. It also looked like a big party spot for the locals on the weekends and such. We thought it would have been awesome to camp out there for the night!
The caves were amazing! We climbed up and around scrambling to try to see every nook and cranny. If you ever find yourself in Barbuda you should definitely check them out. I also read that there were a couple of caves on the other side of the island however there was a rain storm approaching and we had a long dinghy ride back through the lagoon to get back to Moon so we decided to save that adventure for another time.
White Tailed Tropic bird
On the way back from our cave tour we had a dark storm chase us through the mangrove lagoon and all the way back to the boat.
Mangroves…felt just like we were in Florida!
We loved this place but Moon had developed a little leak in her starboard ama that we had been keeping an eye on. It was not bad but it was on our minds. Brian made a repair to the inside of the ama but we still had some water seeping in. So we took advantage as soon as the winds and seas were in our favor to head back to Antigua and closer to St. Kitts in case we had to make a quick sail back to the boatyard to be hauled out.
Here we sit once again in Jolly Harbor, Antigua. Brian dove down under ama and was able to get a closer look from below to see why it was leaking. He found a hairline crack and made a underwater repair which we are happy to say has been holding up very well. We are going to keep an eye on it. We plan on heading back to Nevis this weekend and we will be much closer to the boatyard in case we need to haul out early. Sadly, our time is starting to come to an end anyways. We plan on heading back to the states in early March.
We plan to have lots of fun through out the next month though so no fear we will have more to share! There is always something that we haven’t seen, some rocky, steep slope that we have to climb or some reef that we have to snorkel that calls to us…
Take care all –
Jennifer and Brian