Nor of turtles, wind, miles and miles of deserted beach, and frigate birds.
The only downside is the underwater visibility, rendering snorkeling less than amazing even where surrounded by protective reefs.
Barbuda stands in marked contrast to Antigua. Only 40m above sea level at its highest point, it’s all coral, sand, mangrove and water, with very little development and unobtrusive tourism making it feel more like an undiscovered Pacific paradise than an over-exploited US dollar-grabbing feeding frenzy.
The sand is so fine and white (or coral pink, depending on the beach) that it coats our feet like flour, and the reflected sunlight is eye-achingly bright.
In Cocoa Bay, our first anchorage, we had at least a dozen visits a day from the local turtle population – large in stature, gregarious in nature, quickly coming to feel like friendly neighbours.
The frigate bird sanctuary justifies the hype. We HAD to go with George, the face of the Doyle guide (his photo adorns the front cover of the pilot book / guide we depend on throughout the Leeward Islands), and he took us on an adrenalin-fuelled boat ride (BF5+ across the lagoon at speed – “better than Pirates of the Caribbean!” (the Disneyland ride, not the film) said one child, the others concurred – up to within a metre or two of these monarchs of the skies, so effortless in soaring across the oceans, so tolerant and accepting of us gawkers within a metre of their nests and young.
The lack of amenities and windward location puts off some yachts and especially motor boats, and charter vessels are not allowed here because of the prevalence of ill-charted reefs, resulting in wonderfully spacious anchorages with few other boats in sight. And lots of room for beach cricket, body- and skin-boarding.
No hassle at all. Just friendly, welcoming locals happy and justifiably proud to share their island with us.
St. Barts and then St. Maarten and the Heineken Cup regatta are beckoning so we’ll leave for ‘civilisation’ again tomorrow.
Body-boarding on the beach in front of the boat.
Out and about in Codrington.
Footprints in the sand.
OUR awesome beach.