11th May 2022
Lee Bay, Antigua – Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten via Coca Point & Low Bay Barbuda.
In a classic episode of ‘Harry Enfield and Chums’ Wayne and Waynetta Slob with their kids Frogmella and Spud-u-Lika, get to the final of a gameshow. To win their dream prize, probably something pizza based, they just need to name anything beginning with the letter ‘B’. As you’d expect they blew the chance by coming up with the world ‘Ba-tato’. In that game show we’d have no problem as we’ve been to beautiful Barbuda, where the big blue breaks blissfully onto boundless beaches which are baked below a blazing sun.
Continuing the theme of the letter ‘B’, we braved the breaking waves of Antigua’s reef and threaded our way out into the big blue. Ruffian could now blast her way north and chase down “Thetis” whose track we’d been thankfully following. Bit by bit we caught up “Thetis” and bit by bit we neared the reefs that encase the southern shore of Barbuda.
With the anchor down the beaches of this beautiful island were beckoning. As we dived into the blue water and looked around a big Barracuda had already taken up residence under Ruffian. As he gently wafted his tail he took no heed of us as he was solely focussed on his next meal and the shoals of fish that were in his vision.
Swimming into shallow water the blue slowly disappeared and was replaced with swimming pool reflections on the prefect white sand. Standing up, the bottoms of our feet sunk into the velvet soft sand and our senses were overloaded. Palm trees bent in the breeze and waves bashed into the beach, but sadly building work was breaking the beauty.
Where once Barbuda was low rise, the new buildings rose out of their basements to overlook the beach. This new development should bring jobs and opportunities, but this change seemed to be creating barriers to the local community rather than building bridges.
Further along Princes Diana’s beach the power of hurricane Irma was obvious. Where previously nature had been slowly eating away at the K Club, the hurricane had simply blown it away. The bones of the buildings were left behind with the basements looking like outlines in a murder scene and swimming pools brimming with stagnant rainwater.
Sailing around Barbuda to Low Bay the brilliance of the water beamed and we were experiencing the impact of hurricane Irma. Barbuda was famous for its inland bay but the hurricane breached this and blew all the sand into the sea. Nosing our way in, we watched the depth like hawks weaving around sand banks and into areas where google earth, Navionics, C-Map, and NV couldn’t agree.
Once again Barbuda bemused us. The beach stretched off into the distance and we were blinded by the brilliance of the bay. Once again barrelling into the water we swum and Fiona went sub aqua. Practicing her new found skills she pushed her head under the water, pulled with her arms and kicked with her new powerful fins. Within moments she was deep, nearly touching the bottom and exploring a world that had, until now been denied to her.
Our time in Barbuda was coming to a close and we had the small task of checking out to complete. With Brocks engine booming we bounced across the previously blocked lagoon and found our way to customs. In true Barbuda style the customs house was literally a house with a welcome sign and comfy chairs out front and in true Barbuda style it was barred.
No sooner had we knocked on the door that we discovered news of our impending departure had spread far and wide. A dude, driving his pimped-up pickup pulled up, turned down his thumping gangsta rap and told us he was sad that we were leaving. Like old pals we chatted in his customs house parlour as paper was printed, and identities proved. This was the most perfect parting present that Barbuda could have presented to us. *
Bidding a big bawling bye-bye to Barbuda we pointed Ruffian’s bow to the setting sun and made for Sint Maarten. In Sint Maarten we have a chore list to button-down, bargain-basement retail to broach and a broken Brock to tend too. The next days will not be fun and they will break the bank balance, but they’ll also allow more beautiful Barbudan style beaches to brighten our souls.
* I seem to have somewhat deviated from the theme of ‘b’s and moved onto ‘p’s. Sorry dear reader.
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