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Barbuda is for the Birds!

So, our two day stay in Barbuda lingered into two weeks!  We can’t think of a better place to just get away from it all: a four mile-long beach of the most perfect, fine sand, complete solitude, and a friendly bartender with a killer rum punch at the end of the stroll.  We anchored along Princess Diana Beach, just west of Cocoa Point, so named because Princess Di stayed at an inn (since destroyed by hurricane Irma) several times with the boys when they were toddlers.

Our little get around boat, with custom dodger fit for a princess!

Inoch, whom you met last post, set us up with a tour of the world famous Frigate Bird sanctuary.  

Inoch making a fresh batch of his rum punch. Hang onto your swing!

George, our guide, is a marvel, wise and full of great tales of the history of the island.  He took us in his boat through the lagoon to see the sights.  One of which was a 40′ shipping container full of construction equipment that was lifted by Irma from the beach hotel and dropped in the middle of the mangrove swamp 2 miles away where it remains today!  Then on to the sanctuary.  And sanctuary it is.  The birds are currently nesting and George poled the boat right in among them.  We watched the females sit on the eggs while the males sat over them with their wings outspread to shade and protect.  The males are all proud with their red neck pouches blown up like balloons to show how desirable they are.  It was enchanting to sit quietly and watch the birds soar gracefully overhead, and not so gracefully try to take off.  They are unabashed thieves and will steal nesting material right from under each other’s butts if given half a chance.  We wandered in the skiff for an hour and were sad to leave.  (By the way, if you go there be sure to use George.  The other guide is young and in a hurry and thinks that George is a foolish old man who wastes time with all his knowledge of the area.)  We also got shat upon by a bird!  This is considered a great omen, particularly as we were both hit by the same movement.  That’s what we were told by multiple sources anyway, so it must be true.

(click this link for a short video) Up close and personal with the birds – sound on!

Afterwards we went over to the famous Pink Sand beach.  It is a lot of regular sand but lightly covered by trillions of tiny pink shells.  The shells are about 1/8′ in size and it is said that on occasion  the beach is totally covered with them.  On this occasion however there were merely streaks of pink.  

Miles and miles of pink sand
Delicate little pink shells turn this beach all shades of pink

Regardless, it is another 5 mile-long isolated beach on which to live out your Robinson Crusoe fantasy.  Or about any other fantasy you may  have.  There’s no one there to judge you.  George returned us to the landing where we were picked up by Inoch’s good friend Devon.  He ran us to the local market and then proceeded to give us a bit of the political aspect of island living.  It would take a book to outline the financial and resource misdealing which has occurred since Irma in 2017.  We’ll just say that Louisiana politicians are rank amateurs when it comes to pocketing storm relief funds.  You could identify the local MP’s homes merely by their condition in relation to their neighbors.

But this is a love story, so we’ll turn towards the friendliness and general wellbeing of the 1600 people who live on the island.  They all know each other and what their kids are doing and who is doing what with whom.  Oh wait, that sounds like small-town Iowa only without the snow and snarkiness. I must say we will come back again if we can.  But all good things come to an end and the weather was planning on shifting to make the anchorage uncomfortable.  We were also inundated with a case of tiny barnacles, so I donned the SCUBA gear and spent an hour or so scraping the bottom.  

Randy hard at work while Nancy followed the bubbles from above

(An interesting aside:  When I was packing tools to bring on the boat I threw in a 14″ spackle blade, the type used for spreading drywall mud, I thought it might come in handy for cleaning the bottom.  That was the most BRILLIANT thing I have ever done!  It cleared huge swaths of nasty barnacles in no time at all.)  So, with a clean bottom and fair winds we decamped for Falmouth Harbour to provision, pick up parts shipped from the States and meet up with some old and new friends.  Steve and Linda on Alora (friends from Oxford) are returning and Jamie and Fiona from Szel another Sundeer are in the same harbor.  As I write this the winds are honking, as Nancy predicted, but we’re snug and happy in Falmouth with lots of boats and people to keep us entertained.  The weather is great, wish you were here

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3 Comments

  1. Chris

    Reply

    I’m very glad to hear you have a clean bottom, Randy, but a drywall knife sounds a bit painful to me!

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