Brian, Domino and I have been anchored in Great Bird Island, Antigua for a month. We moved here as the island was going into lockdown, quarantine et al due to Coronavirus.
A month is a long time for us! In fact, this is the longest we have stayed in one anchorage since we moved on board Sava. Since this is Sava’s new home, here’s a rundown of the anchorage, with lots of photos.
Where is Great Bird Island?
Located in the northeast of Antigua, Great Bird Island is a tiny uninhabited islet with other even smaller islets surrounding it. While uninhabited, during tourist season it can be busy in the daytime when power boats bring locals and tour groups to the beaches and for snorkeling.
What’s on Great Bird Island
Yes, I said beaches. Great Bird Island has two beaches connected by a path. Antigua’s beaches are closed at the moment, but we had been here before the lockdown so I have photos.
Besides beaches, there are a couple of walking trails on the island. One leads up a hill to some blowholes and then you can walk north or south to beautiful views of the Atlantic and the bays and anchorage.
The island is lush and green, with huge aloe plants and cacti growing throughout. It’s beautiful and we are glad that Antigua relaxed quarantine last week, allowing us to hike, albeit only 2 people at a time with masks at hand. When we go hiking, we try to give back by cleaning up any trash we find, like an impromptu beach clean-up.
Who Lives on the Island
I said the island is uninhabited but I only meant no people live there. Birds definitely rule the island: we see frigates and sea gulls and pelicans and tropic birds. The island had to get its name for a reason!
Besides birds, we’ve encountered lots of lizards of various sizes and even the endangered snake, the Antiguan racer, native only to this island.
Oh and some hermit crabs.
The marine life
As you can see, the waters around the islet are gorgeous. We are anchored in 15 feet and can usually see the bottom. Turtles and rays swim around the anchorage regularly. We have all seen a ray leap out of the water in front of our eyes at least once.
The snorkeling here is pretty good. There are a lot of coral heads and very shallow reefs scattered around with lots of tiny fish. Like many other Caribbean islands, Antigua is overfished.
Our favorite snorkeling spot in this area is to the south of the anchorage. The location has handy mooring balls for us to tie off our dinghy and I like visiting a friendly spotted eagle ray who lives there.
Proximity to Civilization
I haven’t been to land besides the uninhabited island in more than a month, but civilization isn’t far.
The nearest town to us is called Parham, which is a couple of miles away. Our boat buddies in the anchorage with more powerful dinghy engines have become the defacto couriers for the group. There are also some marinas nearby with garbage drop offs, gas/diesel and small stores. These are where we get vegetable and other pick ups for the group. Brian has visited the marinas a few times, always wearing his bandana as a mask.
We like Great Bird Island. The water is nice, and we have good friends here – and have met new ones even with social distancing, thanks to WhatsApp and the VHF and waving from dinghies. Brian’s concerts have helped too – he’s done two so far.
Being anchored in Great Bird Island is ideal for us during the pandemic. It’s close enough to land and civilization if needed but far enough away that we aren’t in anyone’s way. Plus, it’s beautiful and peaceful here.
Where are you staying to flatten the curve? Share in the comments and stay safe!