Barbuda – paradise for everyone

Off to Barbuda! We have been particularly looking forward to this island. It is located just next to Antigua and we traveled there with a fleet of SEVEN kids boats. Indulge me as I list them, because boat names make me happy. in our fleet there was Dana de Mer, Blue Zulu, Emerald Bay, Sandy Cheeks, Pier Ina, Sta Vast and Itchy Foot, plus Bonaire were meeting us there. You could feel the excitement radiating from the kids. The winds were light and most of us got spinnakers or other light wind sails up – these are usually the most colourful sails and we were looking very pretty as we travelled across.

The approach is also exciting because the area is surrounded by bommis – isolated bits of coral reef that need to be avoided. The trick is maximising visibility, which you do by having strong sunlight directly overhead or behind you. We have marriage protectors on board, also known as bluetooth headsets that motorcyclists use – they enable us to communicate between the cockpit and the bow without raising our voices. So, as it is impossible to raise your voice without sounding angry or at least hearing a raised voice without interpreting it as angry. Our headsets allow us to have a conversation in normal voices and that is a lot nicer in potentially stressful situations. We might have looked a little like Madonna on tour, but the hour approach did not turn into an hour of shouting at each other.

As soon as we got there, kids were on paddle boards, in kayaks, using boogie boards as bikes to convene on the different boats. At one point, Tom from Bonaire fed six or seven boys pasta on Bonaire and Dana de Mer had a selection of girls on board. Blue Zulu were doing kids movies with popcorn and there was a sense of community.  All the adults convened on Blue Zulu, some paddled, some arrived by dinghy and some swam and we were having so much fun, we might have overstayed our welcome. Pat popped down and magically made spicy pasta for everyone. We might have felt a little sorry for the boat that was anchored solo in the bay when we started to arrive.

The next few days were much of the same bliss, everyone visiting each other and spending time together. There was amazing snorkelling and exploring ashore and almost everyone had a go jumping off the roof of Dana de Mer. Bonaire prepared the sailing dinghy and taught the kids to sail it. And there was a joint birthday party for Stella and Phoebe on the beach complete with a cake Anna decorated with the girls snorkelling and lobsters on the very professional BBQ pit assembled by Lindsey of Sandy Cheeks. Phoebe was creating elaborate stories with characters from the party. Poppy ran up to me and gushed that she and Teo married and bought a boat of their own to travel the world with their 15 kids!

Time flew by very quickly and all of a sudden, time was short to drop people at airports and make other appointments. We were all invited Sat Vast for sundowners and snacks and movies down below for the kids on the last night. It was such a feeling of bliss chatting and giggling with a wonderful and generous group of friends.  There were lots of giggles and grins and more than that we trade ideas and support when we need it. The level of friendship is heart warming.

Sta Vast moved to an anchorage outside the lagoon at Codrington, the capital of Barbuda and where we had to check out. As we arrived we saw Pier Ina again. We spent a couple of days anchored off an breath taking beach, which is 11 kilometres long! Even after a long walk, Katrien and I didn’t feel we made a dent in it. We spent some lovely time on this beach, building an epic sand castle, having a lovely picnic and one morning Simon took Elise and Teo ashore in the dinghy on their own for a swim. The main town of Codrington was across a lagoon from where we were anchored. The conditions while we were there were windy and crossing the lagoon in our own dinghies was going to be wet and wild. Pier Ina were smart and organised a water taxi to get across the lagoon and they generously included us so we had an e-ticket ride to Codrington. Once we got there it felt like a Wild West version of the Caribbean. There were goats at the customs office, horses on the street and chickens every where. We had a fun explore and great walk around the place and a wonderful grilled chicken dinner before we zipped back across the lagoon.

Barbuda, we will be back!

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