Barbuda Butter

This year I have been lucky enough to pass the cold winter months in sunny Antigua. Just 30 miles to the north lies Antigua’s sister island, Barbuda. With a population of just over 1500, Barbuda is one of the few Caribbean islands that remains mostly undisturbed by humans and their often unfortunate effects on natural environments. It is a flat, desolate place that is under constant siege by the sea, wind and sun.
Last week, I had the opportunity to explore a little bit of what Barbuda has to offer. I was informed by my friend Stevie that a camping trip to Barbuda with a bunch of the local kite crew was in the works. When the crew around here organizes, the results are usually pretty inspiring (as seen in Kitescoop’s recent production “Island Time”) and this plan turned out to be nothing short of epic. Normally, when one wants to voyage to Barbuda from Antigua, they hop on a boat and cruise over. Our trip however, was a little different. It did involve a boat – and a jetski for that matter – but what really set this crossing apart was the fact that half of the crew decided to venture across the 30 miles of open ocean on kite power alone. When I heard that that was the plan, I knew I had to do it on principle. After all, there was the promise of all-time flatwater waiting for me at the finish line.

The crossing itself was one LONG, slightly upwind starboard tack that took about 2 hours in the end. I rode my 9m Liquid ForceEnvy and 5’10” strapless kitesurf board. It was pretty cool to look back every once in a while and see Antigua slipping away below the horizon. The majority of the ride was pretty uneventful but I did have an ice-cold, half-way-across beer which was delicious and helped to keep my morale up. As we got closer to Barbuda and we spotted the first mast of a sail boat off the coast, things got a little more exciting. Out of nowhere i picked up something shinny streaking through the water in my peripherals. As it crossed in front of me, I could make out the unmistakable shape and colors of a Mahi Mahi! That was the first time I’ve seen one of those fish in the wild not attached to some guys fishing pole. From then on I just kept seeing more and more wild life. Next, I was inspected by a pod of dolphins, and passed by two of the biggest green sea turtles I’ve ever seen.

Finally, we made landfall near Coco Point, at the southern end of the island. We set up for a picnic lunch on the boat and it wasn’t long before the amazing flatwater and scenery tempted us all back onto the water. We had a nice session and then packed everything back onto the boat and headed around to the west side of the island to set up camp and have dinner. In the morning, the wind was already up, so we had breakfast and got right onto the water. It was absolutely nuking – the most wind I’ve ever seen anywhere in the Caribbean. I was so lit on my 7m that I couldn’t stay out for more than about 45 minutes at a time because it felt like my back was going to explode! The sessioning continued for most of the day before packing up camp and heading back to Antigua through some seriously rough seas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a little video from the trip that I made quickly while traveling back to the states.

Enjoy!