Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Barbuda (again!)

I've got one more Barbuda post here if you can bear it. While we really love the beaches and crystal clear blue waters around Barbuda (I guess you know that by now), we'd been keen to go back to the frigate bird sanctuary. We'd been there once before, but only after the fuzzy chicks had hatched and we wanted to see it during the mating season when the males are in full display.

 Silhouette of frigate bird in flight
Before sailing back though, we rounded Antigua, making stops in Green Island, Falmouth, Jolly Harbor and Jumby Bay, where we caught up with our friends Bennett and Susan on Pratique; we headed north to Barbuda together. 

Around Antigua, from top L: Ackee fruit, classic schooner, helicopter wrapped up on deck, baby goats grazing

Bulldozer dwarfed by the big cliff coming out of Falmouth Harbor
The forecast was for high winds for the days we'd be in Barbuda and when we arrived there was also a swell running that made Coco Point untenable so we headed for Gravenor Bay on the south side. 

Pratique anchored in Gravenor Bay
We'd made arrangements to see the frigate bird sanctuary one day with Barbudan guide George Jeffrey, but had a day before that to walk the trails and the windward beaches. We marveled once again at the power of the surf crashing over the reefs there. Loads of junk washes up along this shoreline.... most of it plastic.

Skip and Bennett on the windward beach
From top L: donkeys, landscape of rock and scrub, Bennett and Skip, close up of rock surface
Bits and pieces mixed in with the seaweed
Not that we ever need a reason to make another trip to Barbuda, but making a special trip to the see the frigate birds during the mating season was well worth it. I have far too many photos from the trip, but here are a few of my favorites.

Our gentle natured guide George Jeffrey
Hopefully the video works and you can hear the tapping and drumming sounds the males make with the inflated red neck pouches to attract the females.I think you can also hear the voices of the two Russian couples that shared the tour with us

It's a busy time for touring the lagoon here and George needed to get the boat back to pick up another group, so we whizzed back into Coddrington and walked around. Skip and I had gotten permission from customs in Antigua to clear out of Barbuda, and the customs office was appropriately small for this sleepy little town.

Our one chore completed, we wandered around town and had lunch near the lagoon before catching our ride back south to where we stashed the dinghy along the shore by Spanish Point.

From top L: Barbuda day care center, B & S on the way to the frigates, building facade, palm grove

We have the Food Pyramid... Barbuda has the Food Pineapple for guidance on good health. The local beer we had with lunch is not in the Food Pineapple.
These two school girls came for ice cream on their school lunch break and were very curious about us.
They were shy at first, but warmed up pretty quickly - trying on Susan's and my hats and posing for the camera.
They decided Susan's hair needed some work and they got in as many braids as they could before the school bell rang and they ran back off to class.

Not bad!
It's unanimous that Barbuda has just about the prettiest sand around. It's their biggest export and we passed the sand mining operation along the road out of town. There are environmental concerns about the impact of the mining and it's an ongoing topic of debate in Antigua and Barbuda.

The weather was in our favor and it was time to move on, so we said our goodbyes to Pratique and left for Nevis. We'd promised ourselves we'd revisit Nevis after our brief and unexpected stay back in August and the conditions looked good to keep our promise. 

It's easy to spot the reef on the way out Gravenor Bay
We've been in Nevis since Friday, so the next blog will be all about Nevis... and maybe there will be something about a fish we caught on the way too.


Bob & Janice said...

Looks like you definitely timed it right to see the frigate birds - was a display that must have been - thanks for giving us a glimpse of what it must have been like. Hopefully we can time it to be there at the right time when we return to that neck of the woods! Have a great time in Nevis - we never made it there so look forward to hearing your take on it. Best wishes for good winds while sailing and calm anchorages!

Lili said...

How could we ever get tired of Barbuda! Good to see George is still doing the tours. Hope you have a great time in Nevis and can't wait to read your post about it and see the lovely photos. Are you planning to visit the botanical garden?
All the best, Lili

Skylark's Voyage said...

Awesome photo of the Mahi and The Man! We caught one recently en route between Roatan and Guanaja, Honduras but he was puny compared to this big guy. Love the photos of Barbuda and all the nature shots, especially the frigates. Miss you both. E, E and L