Low Bay

13th to 16th May 2019

Easy enough approach – the depths on the chart are well out of date (on the path we sailed, it was deeper than marked in nearly all cases) but 9’ bank still seems to be around 9’ deep. No coral or anything else problematic for navigation was sighted inshore, but with an intermittent swell from the West(!) there were noticeable breakers well offshore, presumably where the coral heads are.

This was one of the most scenic anchorages we have had the pleasure of being in. Simply beautiful – with patches of the pink sand for which the area is famed. At the time we stayed there were between 0 and 3 other boats in the anchorage. We thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet, as this part of the bay is not close to any of the locals either, so we were generally on our own. I believe I wore shorts at one point, not sure why, and a T-shirt when I felt the Sun heating my back while I was doing the washing.

Hurricane Irma hit Barbuda particularly badly in 2017 – the island was basically evacuated afterwards and is still far from recovered. One of the effects of the hurricane was a breach through the sandbar into the lagoon. It’s easily passable in a dinghy, and we could have taken our boat through as well comfortably enough, I think. Take a moment to sight it, though, as different swell directions show different shallow patches up (and some of the shallow patches build waves that break pretty violently).

The damage from Irma to the island itself was clear – there is a house near the breach through the lagoon, half of which is at 30 degrees to the rest. Arthur and I floated in the dinghy near it for a bit and he was very quiet afterwards. We picked up a dozen or so bits of rubbish while we were wandering, and added them to a pile the owner of the budding coconut plantation just behind the beach had made. We didn’t venture across the lagoon to Codrington.

Landing on the outside of Low Bay is tricky, as the swell was very variable for us (and by all reports, is variable normally). We got wet on one occasion when a wave broke over the stern of the dinghy as we landed – badly timed, in that case. But in general, the breakers are smaller than they look on approach – a considerable portion of the swell “bounces” off where the depth shelves, so while some of the breakers onshore make dinghy landing interesting there were plenty of decent gaps. And you get the cool sight of seeing swell moving directly away from a beach, which we had never seen so clearly before.

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