Our guests left a couple of days ago and we spent some time tidying the boat a fixing the floor which had dropped making it feel like you were going to fall into the main bathroom when walking into the front cabin!
Barbuda is a sister island to Antigua and only 25 miles away so we heaved the anchor up again and had a fast sail over there on a close haul.
It was such a nice sail, Kathryn even had a little nap in the reefed main.
We arrived to beautiful sandy beaches and a calm anchorage on the southwestern tip of the island.
The next day we spent on land walking from the southwestern tip to the most southeastern tip totaling a 15km walk, mainly barefoot along the sandy and rocky southern coast.
It seems Antigua and Barbuda harvest a lot of conch at the beaches were what you could describe as a conch shell graveyard all of which had a distinct trait of an elongated hole presumably for prying out the snail inside.
We also saw another interesting sea creature which we have not come across before, a West Indian fuzzy Chiton. It’s armor and shape making it look like a prehistoric relic of a bygone era.
And on looking up this creature we found it’s present form hasn’t changed since the Mesozoic period, meaning their morphology hasn’t changed in at least 65 million years and potentially up to 245 million years!
We eventually made it to the other side of the island where the Atlantic swell was smashing the rugged coastline.
We ate lunch in the baking sun as there was no shade and then carried on to look out over the ocean.
The rock formations here were fascinating with some places eroded so much that the rock was sharp and spiny, most of it was very porous and as the waves crashed over, the water quickly dissipated down holes creating little whirlpools as it went.
The walk back felt long and even hotter as we took the inland more direct route, but by the time we reached the dinghy again I was desperate to get in the sea!
After a little drink at the beach bar we walked the dinghy into the sea but didn’t get in, instead we swam back whilst the dinghy floated along next to us.
The sunset was a beauty.
Next, we sailed up to the southern end of a beach that was previously called 17-mile beach. This incredibly long beach used to fully enclose a very large saltwater lagoon but after a 2017 hurricane called Irma the beach has been broken in the middle allowing access to the lagoon for shallow draft vessels (not us!)
The beach was still lovely, lightly strewn with driftwood it made for some cracking photos!
Due to the hurricane, the infrastructure on the island is poor so although we wanted to do to the Darby sinkhole and coastal caves on the northeastern side we decided it wasn’t worth the hassle or expense of trying to get there, instead, I’m writing this as we sail along on a speedy beam reach back to Antigua to check out, grab some fresh veg and fruit before shortly carrying on to Monserrat.
Before leaving, we had one of our most fun-to-date fish interactions while at anchor. We had some crisps that had gone bad and were slowly leaving them to float out into the sea to get eaten. Little did we know there were some shark suckers right underneath the boat that apparently really liked the crisps.
They would swim around coming to the surface, gobbling up a crisp before swimming around some more. They were there for so long that we managed to get this great little underwater video.