Reefs, blue blue sea, white sand, a handful of yachts and a few wild donkeys. The wind on the reef is causing a huge roar, and the boats anchored close to it must be deafened. We are anchored back a bit amongst the coral atolls, and the last few days have been totally idyllic. We have snorkelled, the nearby atolls are amazingly rich in sea life, we saw a big ray fluttering on the bottom. Standing on the boat you can see the sand quite clearly in the translucent blue water. Barbuda is basically a desert island, it is inhabitated by about 1500 people but they all live on the other end of the island in a village called Codrington. Barbuda was originally owned by the Codrington family and was a slave farm, we cannot imagine the atrocities that ocurred here. There is very little development on the island, a couple of hotels, an airfield, and this end of the island seems remote and untouched. Ashore the landscape is rocky, scrubby, everywhere empty conk shells greying in the sun. On the windward shore line the rocks are volcanic, hard to walk on, spiky, they are razor sharp if you
slip it would hurt. Loads of tiny birds scurry along the shore line, amongst the rocks. Then heading back to the anchorage an amazing white sand beach.
We went for a dive nearer the main reef, the visibility was clear and the colours vivid in the shallows. The fish swam round like butterflies and we found a big lobster under a rock. But it was berried so we left her and her babies for another time. She must have had a shock though, the lobsters here fight like small dogs. Returning to the boat it seems to sit in blue glass, nothing near, in the middle of the ocean.
In the early evening we took our barbeque ashore on the long empty beach, it was not quite sunset. We had scouted out somewhere to put our gas bbq earlier, by a little point, disused kind of rough stone jetty. When we approached it there was a fisherman on the beach. We pulled the dinghy up the sand next to him, and started to chat. He worked at the exclusive hotel and was very friendly. His face was spotted with conk, he was opening them and chucking the shells
in the bushes. The prettiest shells he had arranged in a row on the white sand with their rosy insides facing the sea. He told us that he dived for the conch after he had finished work at the hotel. He had been out there earlier while we were diving. He told us about the fish, and how it was living there for the winter, in the summer he goes home to his girlfriend and baby in Antigua. Then he works on a cargo boat going up and down the island. He seemed a very happy chap and was to be the only person we talked to for four days! He had a beer with us and then off he went in his boat. We stayed sitting watching the setting sun, just as we were cooking our steaks a great gaggle of chickens came in the bushes behind us, i expect they associate people with food. The stray donkeys were calling hee haw up the beach. Funny old place. It was a fantastic sunset and the wind seemed to drop as we ate our steak, which was v good. After a while and a bottle of wine we got back
in the dinghy and went back to the boat. That night we watched Australia, what a rubbish film.
The following days were snorkelling, walking over to the other point, swimming. We went back and snorkelled round the stone jetty, we found a forklift truck wreck int he water, covered in fish with tiny lobsters underneath it. We also saw bone fish so decided to come back and fish for an hour around sunset. We brought some beer and cider and settled on the rocks with the water whooshing in and out. Then i saw it...to me it looked like a snake, creeping out from under a rock but I think it was an eel. We stayed for a while and only I caught a puffer fish but alan brought it in and let it go.
Our time was spent walking over the beaches and the island, the snorkelling even close tot he boat on the coral attols was so clear and loads of fish. We read loads of books and I managed to get some writing done. Idyllic place. Fantastically relaxing and delightful, i would say that knocks spots off tobago cays and best of all nobody hardly there.
Now we are sailing in a very gentle breeze back to Antigua, the sea is calm and sun shines down. We are heading for nonsuch bay, another quiet anchorage. We have just caught a barracuda with a mouth ful of teeth , but chucked him back.
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