17 33 N 61 46 W
Although we went to Antigua first Barbuda as far as customs and clearance is concerned its easier to check in in Antigua which allows stays in Barbuda. So we left Jolly Harbour back North and had a great sail around 37 miles to Cocoa point which had been recommended in the right conditions. Cocoa point is on the west coast so in the lee for protection from the Atlantic.
The sand on the beach has a pink hue and is probably the finest and softest we have ever seen, when its dry a little way from the water it just blows off your feet a little like talcum powder. The bay is about 7 miles long and the whole island is surrounded by reefs which has claimed to have over 300 wrecks. There were just a few fellow cruising yachts so it was great. There are no bars or anything on the beach except for a private resort which had security men and gardeners I don't remember seeing any guests but there were "toys" on the beach.
We spoke to a couple from one of the yachts who told us if we call on VHF and ask for John taxi we could organise a trip inland and to see the Frigate birds, we have seen lots in a few places but never close up. The taxi collected us at the closest road to the beach and took us to the ferry dock which had more "trippers" from Antigua, we then went to Codrington the main settlement, its a very small place, the driver pointing out things along the way but didn't stop so I couldn't take photographs. Barbuda exports sand to the rest of the Caribbean we saw the sand piled up like pyramids which had been filtered through mesh. All over the island deer and donkeys run wild, a few decided to cross or stop in front of the taxi when ever they felt like it. Most of the houses have fences to keep out the donkeys and horses that roam around, he told us the horses were all owned but they do roam around. Horse racing is a sunday pastime and we passed the race course but the driver didn't stop.
|The express ferry|
The taxi took us to the North coastline and we met up with another taxi, "John taxi " gave us a talk about Barbuda and the place he took us to close to caves and huge rocks which had tumbled down.
He described how the Codrington family that owned the island imported slaves and from the place we were taken to they lit fires to show slave ships to guide them in, "the way in" was into the reef so they sank, the slaves that survived were then used by the Codringtons.
|The reef surrounds Barbuda and so many ships fell foul here|
Barbuda was used for growing livestock and hunting by the family.
Emancipation came and the islanders survived, the island is owned through a cooperative way. Only Barbudans can own and build a house, outsiders can only rent here. The only way another non islander can own here is to marry a local.
We reached the dock where the boats left to reach the bird sanctuary, it seemed to take forever to cross 4 miles even in the fast skiff, its not allowed to get the boats really close to the nests which are surrounded by mangroves. The male Frigate bird has a bright red pouch which it proudly displays to attract the females so they can mate, once the chicks are born and they no longer mate the red pouch is no longer shown until the next season.
We only managed to see a few in the distance. The water is very shallow and the boat guy stood holding the boats steady, there are strange upside down jellyfish I asked him to show us one, they don't sting.
We were then taken to another "pink sand beach" where we had lunch, Don had lobster, I was too slow in asking for one, next time ok.
So it was back in the taxi then back to the boat, we enjoyed the tour.
As the weather was changing, the forecast not looking promising and the water was rolling us about so the decision was made to leave back to Antigua, Jolly Harbour.
Don and Glenys
Don and Glenys