Barbuda and back…..

Friday we headed off to the Jolly Harbour resort beach around lunchtime and had a really nice afternoon bobbing with beer and eating local food from the vendors. On the way back to Morphie we popped over to visit Glen on Blue Moon for sundowners….and then back on board for an early night.

Saturday morning bright and early we are up and waiting for our pre-arranged taxi for 8.00 am. We stand there like lemons and the time ticks over….and a guy in a minibus waves us from across the road to get on board. Richard asks “Are you David?” to which the answer was ‘yes’… So we get on board and then within 5 mins or so we pick up another passenger….oh well.. this often happens with taxis in the Caribbean….. and then another 5 minutes and we pick up a few more… Alarm bells start ringing…and Richard asks again “Are you David, and you are taking us to the Barbuda Express terminal?” He says no man, I’m the local bus…. I get really stressed as I watch the time slip away and worry that we are going to miss the 9 am ferry. Anyway, we get to St John’s market bus terminal and everyone gets off – we ask for directions and he says down here, turn left, four blocks etc etc etc…. We realise that we are not going to make the ferry to Barbuda…….so throw money at it! How about taking us there for EC $20???? (That’s about a fiver…) He says yes straight away and we make the ferry with minutes to spare….phew…..

The ferry is full of both people and cargo. Loads and loads of boxes…. Anyway….the trip is fun for us but not for most of the passengers. There are sick bags everywhere and most people are puking as we pound into the waves. Glad we didn’t put Morphie through this ordeal!!! Finally arrive after almost two hours of pounding into the seas with a lot of very green passengers. We meet the fellow tour people – six Americans travelling together – and they have all been ill. Eventually we get to our first destination – the caves in Barbuda where slaves lived to spot ships at sea in darkness, and would then climb goat-like up to the top of the cliffs to light fires to tempt these poor people into the reefs and disaster. It was a really interesting place with spectacular views across the Atlantic coast and its reef-strewn shoreline.

Moving on we then go through Codrington – which is named after the English guy who leased the land from the crown many moons ago. He set Barbuda up for growing fruit and veg – but the terrain was not good – so he settled for a hunting domain (and wild pigs, goats, horses, deer and cows still roam the island) and also bred slaves for sale to other Caribbean nations. Interestingly, when the slave labour was given their freedom on Barbuda many years ago, they were offered cash for their labours. They said no thanks – give us land to build homes and tend crops. This remains to this day – the land is owned collectively and all Barbuda natives are eligible to claim their plot. Which means, interestingly, that the land has no value and Barbuda nationals have to save up hard to buy materials to build their properties – there are no credit facilities available to them for this purpose.

Onto the largest frigate bird sanctuary in the world – what a spectacular treat! Loads and loads of males showing off their plumage and puffed up red chests hoping to attract a female – along with breeding couples and their newborn chicks standing up straight with their fluffy white heads poking out… This was an amazing place to visit and I would recommend to anyone…..

After visiting the lagoon to see the bird sanctuary we headed out to the famous pink sand beach for lunch and a relax – the sand actually is pretty and normal coloured, but miniscule remnants of red coral mixed up gives a pink hue as the waves move in and out. Pretty stunning surroundings and felt like an oasis away from normal life … reminded us of Anegada in many ways. Had a local lunch on the beach and back to the ferry for our return trip.

On board the conditions were better – fewer passengers and no boxes! Also we had a following sea so it was a much smoother ride – with many of the tourists very thankful. And, to cap it all, on the way back we saw a baby whale breach…but only once and no photos. Sorry….   So back into Antigua, cab back to Jolly Harbour, and an early night aboard.

Sunday morning we checked out of Antigua with customs and immigration so that we free to leave in the morning and we also visited Glen on Blue Pearl who helped us sort out our router problem – it is now working – hurrah!!!! So very very grateful.   

We then spent the afternoon in the swimming pool at the Crows Nest Bar and enjoyed a few hours chatting with some fellow Brits on holiday, Back out to Glen for dinner – he cooked us a great salmon pasta dish – and back on board to get ready for our next adventure tomorrow as we are sailing off to Guadeloupe.

Will be in touch from there…. Bye for now…