Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The annual Barbuda Easter Camp. Part 2

Saturday we woke to a strong south easterly breeze which made it impossible to think about a fishing trip which is what we had been planning. Instead, after a huge family and friend breakfast we discussed packing all the gang into Xtreme and going up the coast a few miles to a beautiful section of beach. The beach we chose was fairly close to a place called Two Foot Bay which is the most popular windward beach on Barbuda. To get to this particular one, we had to navigate through some very treacherous reef. Just past Fishing Creek there is a very nasty section of reef at a place called Hog Hole and we had to be extremely careful getting out through the channel there. The waters were as shallow as about three feet with sharp reef and rocks on either side of the boat with very little room to play with. To add a little more danger to this is the fact that the channel leads into the Atlantic and is filled with terribly strong currents and sharp breaking waves. Not only do you have to avoid hitting the reef, but you also had to avoid getting into trouble with breakers. In my lifetime there have been several fishing boats lost there and one of them ended up with both of the fishermen drowning. Anyway, on this day the weather wasn’t too rough and we made it through with only a bit of adrenalin being expelled into my bloodstream. Once we had cleared the channel and re-entered the barrier reef protected, lagoon, the waters calmed down and the currents subsided. We anchored fairly close to a deserted shore that seemed to stretch for miles and miles. There is no doubt at all that Xtreme was the largest boat ever to anchor up in this small bay and just getting there was very rewarding.

The beautiful Mykl and I had brought along some kayaks and set off quickly upwind through the reef and waves towards a bit of interesting looking beach about a mile away. The others did some beachcombing with my bro Ali, doing some light tackle fishing. The colours were out of this world and it was a lovely walk and kayak. Everyone had a bit of flotsam and jetsam to be carried back to base camp. My step mom, Sarah, had loads of interesting driftwood to add to replenish her stocks. She uses it in very interesting artwork which can be seen at Woods Art Gallery. The pic below is of a lamp of hers. Cool stuff!!

When we got back on board we were all starving and decided that we couldn’t wait to get back to camp for lunch. Out came some crackers and a lovely bit of Brie and tapenade….washed back with some bottled water and some sodas all nine of us were stuffed and totally satisfied.
Anyone who knows about boating in reefy situations in the tropics knows that you always want to have to avoid navigating into glare or any sort of bad light. By the time we were ready to navigate back through Hog Hole it was too late to see the reef properly, so we decided to be safe and to go into the Atlantic and stay outside the barrier reef all the way to the North West side of Barbuda. We could then come up inside the reef with the light behind us. On our way out the reef we saw some frigate birds feeding which told us there were mahi mahi feeding too…Before the girls (who are not fishing fans) could muster up complaints we had the lines over the side as we trolled through the birds. Very quickly we were hooked into two mahi mahi. My dad had one and my brother had the other. We were using light tackle and the fish were large, so it took a while to get them to the boat.

By the time we did my sister Rachel was almost as green as the beautiful mahi mahi, and we had to speed off before she lost her brie and crackers over the side. The triumphant fishermen returned to base camp where filleting and seasoning started up in preparation for another great dinner. That night after a lovely dinner, the domino action was loud and full of intricate cheating techniques.
The kayaking and fishing had knocked Mykl and I out and we didn’t last long. Back on the boat the sky was bright with squillions of twinkling stars and we sat on deck exploring them in awe. When you have a clear night in a remote place that isn’t polluted with artificial light…the sky is fascinating and it’s almost like you had forgotten how beautiful it actually was.