Posted by: bearcruzer | December 21, 2010

Beautiful Barbuda

]Nov 16 – 19th

We left the comfort of English Harbor, and headed up the windward side of Antigua and over to Barbuda.    S/v Diana joined us and as usual the fishing competition continued.   We caught a Spanish Mackerel and a good size barracuda.    Once again we found that perhaps we are not bringing our catch in quick enough as the Mackerel had a large bite out of the middle of the fish this time.    We also took turns taking sailing photos of each other to give to the other boat.    We arrived in the afternoon found it easy to read the turquoise waters and thread our way through the widely spaced coral heads in Gravenor Bay on the South Sound of Barbuda to a wonderful sandy bottom anchorage in about 10 ft. of water.      We found Lobster to be plentiful throughout the coral reefs and good size even in shallow water.    We are not allowed to spear fish here so we rigged up a tickle stick from a coat hanger and Mike was able to coax a couple of them out of their holes where we could grab them by hand and invite them for dinner.    We also came across numerous unmarked fish traps throughout the reef.   One of which had a 4 foot nurse shark in it along with a couple of lobster and a few fish.     The coral here appears to be fairly healthy in many areas with some dead areas where currents and boat traffic are more frequent.      We spent one morning hiking across to the windward beach avd found ourselves face to face with some long eared locals.  We walked along beachcombing and found an enormous cut section, about 40ft long and 5ft in diameter, of a hardwood tree that must have come across the ocean from Africa in a storm as it was washed high up above the waterline.  Not something you would want to hit at sea. We also found a small soft buoy to use as a dingy bumper and a working dingy pump.   I’m still looking for a message or better yet a treasure map in an old bottle but most everything on the beach these days is plastic garbage.    I’m not giving up, It’s gotta be out there.    We are enjoying our last days of our vacation before heading back to work on St. John for a few months.     The clear waters at this latitude are feeling quite a bit cooler now and we can feel the change in the air as well.   After a couple of days in the South Sound we moved the boat around to the beach off Cocoa Point in hopes of picking up some WiFi.  No Luck.     Because it is so isolated and surrounded by reef, Barbuda is still virgin territory and only a couple of high dollar exclusive resorts are located here.   The population does not seek to encourage a growth of tourism as they value their relaxed and simple way of life.   The people who come here really do want to get away from it all!  We spent part of a day making the trek into town to clear out of the country.    This turned out to be somewhat like a scavenger hunt.   We first took the dingy the 4 miles up to an old jetty and boat dock near the sand pit.  This is the main dock for the Island.  We tied Mighty Mouse off to a partially sunken boat that was washed  up on the beach.   We then hitch hiked the 3 miles into town catching a ride in the back of a pickup with 5 other locals.   Different Islands have different hand signals when you need a ride.   In the states you stick out your thumb.   In the USVI you point to the direction you want to go, using your thumb is considered rude.   We did not know the proper signal and opted for the USVI version only to find out that here on Barbuda that is a form of a wave signaling that a ride is not needed.   Finally the pickup driver slowed and asked if we needed a ride.   We learned that here on Barbuda you signal you need a ride by dropping your flattened hand toward the ground much like we would use in the states to signal a car to slow down.    Live and learn.   The driver took us into the center of town, which we would not have known was the center if he hadn’t told us.   We saw an official looking flag flying above what turned out to be the local police headquarters.  We asked about customs and Immigration.   We were directed back the way we had come and found ourselves in front of a little hovel with a small sign that said immigration.   We were told by the officer there we would have to go to clear out with the Port Authority and Customs first before returning to clear out with Immigration.   We were directed to go up the street.   As we wandered up the street, school was letting out and children in tan and blue uniforms with and without shoes were leaving the grounds.    A number of them greeted us on the street and engaged us in conversation.   They were very beautiful and their English was impeccable.   We found a building with a sign stating it was the local Office of Tourism.   We went in inquiring about the Port Authority and were told this was it.    No sign, you just have to ask.   After clearing out with them we were then given a town map and told to walk a couple of blocks to the Customs office.   We missed the street on the first pass and doubled back to find ourselves standing in front of what appeared to be a little house with a hand painted sign out front that said Customs.   Inside we were met by a young man sitting at a desk with a Stacks and stacks of Old forms in Binders piled behind him.   Next to him he had an elaborate keyboard that he played to pass the time when he wasn’t working.    We paid him 5 EC and cleared Customs easily.    We then walked down to grab some lunch at one of the 3 restaurants in town.   Restaurants is a loose term around here.   Basically it is someone who has set up a covered veranda in front of their home where they sell jerk chicken and BBQ along with sides of baked Mac n Cheese and Rice and Pigeon Peas or Salad.   We took our meal and sat on a rickety bench on the corner enjoying the local flavor of the food and the town.  We then had to head back to immigration which was our original starting point as we could not clear out with them until we had visited the other 2 offices.   We found the office closed for lunch and so passed the time chatting with the Capitain and 1st Mate of the Mega Yacht HUSH and the Boulding Family who were taking a break from Alaska on their sailboat Tan-a-na ll.   When the officers didn’t return after lunch, the driver for the Mega Yacht crew went looking for them and came back and told us they would be there shortly.    After checking out we hitched a ride back to Mighty Mouse and got DD ready to leave early in the morning for St. Maarten.

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Responses

  1. Michael & Crystal’s Sojourn,

    My name is David Joseph, Managing Editor for the Beautiful Barbuda Magazine in Antigua and Barbuda. Could you please get in contact with me as i would like to discuss an editorial proposal with you guys. I am inlove with your piece of blog/ Journal provided above on your Barbuda visit. I can imagine how you guys enjoyed Barbuda!

    I email is david@beautifulbarbuda.com
    tel: 1.268.720.4753

    Best

    David


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