Barbuda is an island 30 miles north of Antigua. It belongs to Antigua & Barbuda and is often skipped by sailors because it is an upwind sail from Antigua. We don’t mind a little upwind sailing and were in the mood for a nice off-the-beaten-track destination, after spending too much time looking at cruise ships!
Barbuda consists of sand and palm trees and doesn’t have any hills so it’s hard to spot from the ocean. We did see a couple of whales but only saw land when we were almost hitting the reef. The anchorage we chose had two reef barriers (see pic above, we anchored on top of that ‘2’). Behind the first it was about 6 metres deep and behind the second one it was 1-2 metres. The visibility in the water was zero because of an uncommon swell which made the water look like milk. There were a few spots with 2,5 meter depth but I got a bit stressed by the thought of having only a hand width of water under the keel and navigating only on the charts, so we stayed out behind the first reef in what felt like the middle of the ocean.
The island is pretty much deserted, especially in the south where we were. All the inhabitants were evacuated last fall because of the hurricanes. Since the hurricanes destroyed just about all the houses on the island, many inhabitants didn’t or couldn’t return. Although this is heartbreaking for the inhabitants, there is a beautiful side of it: nature is taking over. There were thousands of butterflies, many wild horses and donkeys, loads of goats and a lot of plants. One resort on the south of the island – which was already abandoned a couple of years ago – is just left to decay.
There is a thick layer of sand in every bungalow, roofs, doors and windows are ripped out by the hurricanes and there is furniture laying around everywhere. There are even some pretty new looking mattresses on the beds! We always get a little bit exited by seeing past glory, the location, the luxury bungalows, a private airstrip, the ‘keep out’ signs.. We would have never seen this beautiful anchorage and landscape if the resort would have been in use!
There was a catamaran in the anchorage which we recognised from a youtube channel. If we see other young sailors we usually go up to their boat to say hi, but in this case we were too shy.. We guessed that they went to Barbuda to avoid the sailing masses so we decided not to bother them. It was a bit of a mistake. We met a couple from one of the other catamarans in the anchorage, they told us that they had a couple of great days with them, fishing and volunteering in town. So, I guess we missed out on that! But we did have a great few days relaxing on Barbuda before we had to get back to Antigua. By some miraculous coincidence, nothing broke down on the boat when we were out in that middle of nowhere!