Beyond any doubt! my most favourite Caribbean spot so far!!
So, Matt was convinced to come here. There was no way he could miss this place. He duly arrived with a spare crew member! (So now do I have to worry about being replaced??)
This island is wild, woolly, wonderful! Undeveloped and still suffering the trauma of Hurricane Irma that devastated it in September 2017. Hurricane Irma is the strongest storm on record to exist in the open Atlantic region and the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands on record. There is plenty of evidence of the disaster but the people are a stalwart bunch. It was incredible to walk around one resort that was fully wiped out and just see the empty shells of what had clearly been a quite wonderful resort near the pink beach.
I was falling in love with this place more every minute. With a beautiful anchorage on the white sands of Princess Diana Beach - named after the Princes that used to visit with her sons; just one (mainly gravel) road from top to bottom of the island; roaming goats and donkeys; plenty to explore; and genuinely friendly and helpful people.
We explored coastline and a path through a limestone cave to climb up to the Tablelands! The highest point on the Tablelands (and the island) is a mere 343m, but we loved the rock lined pathways walking up there with beautiful wild bush, birds flitting around us, and great views.
The absolute highlight for me though was a trip with George on Codrington Lagoon to the frigate colony! Codrington Lagoon is said to be the second-largest nesting area for frigates outside the Galapagos and was almost wiped out after Irma as it destroyed their nesting mangroves. (Scroll on down for pics!) Luckily they have returned - to a different spot but who cares as they are back. En route we saw a full loaded container that used to sit beside the small, and totally devastated, Palm House Hotel over the other side of the lagoon. When wind can pick up a full sized, fully laden storage container, and throw it over 1km you know it was something else! The birds themselves were magnificent! It was the wrong time of year for the spectacular mating display of the males, but we had plenty of chicks to see instead. It was wonderful getting up so close and really being able to see them eye to eye! The added bonus was the upside down jellyfish - who literally swim upside down to allow the symbiotic zooxanthellae (algae) that live within them to get more sunlight for photosynthesis! You’ve gotta love that!
As for the best place to stay? There is a resort, but in my mind its the wild and private Frangipani Glamping wins the prize (and is affordable for most budgets). Run by local sisters, you get a piece of the northeast coast with its own wild beach, and sheltered safe rock pool (good for 100m laps), plus use of a kayak, lobster pots to catch your dinner, and a wooden sun shack on the beach complete with all the chairs etc you could want. Your accommodation is a cabana with a very funky and cool outdoor kitchen and bathroom. Its so good that later I had to take people I met at anchor there just to see it!
Okay - the resort looks pretty good too - but is very unwelcoming to yachties - the only negative I have to say about the island!
Given Barbuda is out of the way, often a bit of a rough passage, and considered difficult to navigate, most yachties don’t bother coming here, skipping from Antigua to St Martin and the like, or vice versa. Hence, there were only four other yachts in the anchorage - in absolute peak season, and we met some of the best people on them with sunset drinks and the like.
In my mind - its the one place you don’t miss. I simply love it!