An Abrupt End

After the decision to cancel our flights to the USA, cancel our 16-day cruise back to Spain, and bring forward our departure from Antigua we departed.🥵🥵🥵🥵

Our Virgin flight was fantastic, the service was exceptional and the cabin crew were friendly, a far cry from from our BA experience.  On both flights we paid to go Premium Economy but they were poles apart, eat your heart out BA and sort yourself out.

Arriving at some ghastly hour to a rainy Gatwick, we were totally

Very quiet Gatwick

Very quiet Gatwick

surprised how quiet it was.  We went straight through border control and didn’t have to wait too long for our cases to appear on the belt.  Through the green channel and onto the car hire people where our car was waiting.

Our drive to Jane’s was hopeless as the M23 was closed due to road works and what should have been a 45-minute journey took a couple of hours, still we arrived to a warm welcome.  

We had flights booked out on Monday evening, but with the Coronavirus virus accelerating we took the management decision to try and bring our return flight forward to Saturday.  Fortunately Christine managed to do this but it meant we got back to Spain in the early hours of the morning.  At this point we have to say a very big thank you to Jim Merrydew for agreeing to collect us from the airport.

Though our weekend was shortened, it was great to meet-up with

Mia coming third in the competition

Mia coming third in the competition

Jane, Dave and little Mia including a quick trip to a show where Mia rode in a cross-poles competition for hand-led ponies.  She did very well and got a rosette for third place!

Arriving back at an even emptier Gatwick after returning the car, we joined the queue for Vueling flights which was a little manic with numerous Spaniards trying to get back.  Apparently they had cancelled several flights but fortunately ours was OK, so after checking in headed straight to the lounge for our “dinner”!

We boarded on time but when they closed the doors, we were surprised how empty the ‘plane was so we managed to move forward into 3 seats in the more expensive selection with extra leg room; very good.   Obviously none of the Spaniards at the Vueling desk wanted to travel to Alicanté.

Touching down at 10-minutes early, we walked into a ghostly Alicanté airport, straight through passport control and watched as our cases were amongst the first few through.  Walking out we saw the friendly face of Jim waiting.   We eventually arrived back home at 0230hrs and joined the rest of the Spanish population in Lockdown.  Thank you again Jim for meeting us at Alicanté airport in these very difficult times.

Whilst updating our site, just a little reminder for us about this small

Slaves

Slaves

lovely, Caribbean island of 281sq Meters and 365 beaches in paradise, where the sun shines between 8 to 9.5 hours a day on average.  Here they have two seasons, the dry season mid January to June and the wet season, though there is also hurricane season from June to November but the dangerous months are mid August to mid October.

The first thing that hits you when you arrive is the very modern, large, empty airport, financed by the Chinese at a cost of $98-million and it’s a far cry from the one we arrived at all those years ago.     This

English Harbour

English Harbour

modernity disappears as you drive out of the airport complex.  One is straight onto original roads littered with potholes and ruts, passing many assorted wooden homes reminiscent of a modernist shanty town.  The island has a population a little over 80k, mostly in the St Johns area (capital) and counting the number of vehicles including the abandoned ones, probably the same number!!!!!!     

Antigua was a very important “cog” in the British Empire, and by the

Fort James’s

Fort James’s

end of the 18th century it was known as the “gateway to the Caribbean” and English Harbour, and the well guarded Nelsons Dockyard, started in 1725 in particular, as this was the headquarters of the Caribbean fleet looking after all the British interests in the Caribbean.  There are numerous forts, or remains of forts around the Island, guarding it as at that time the French were “the” enemy and “they” wanted it!

During 17th century and the early part of the 18th century, tobacco was the main crop grown but when they realised more money was to be

Fort Barrington

Fort Barrington

made growing sugarcane, well, there was an eruption in production and by the middle of the 18th century, when in full production, there were around 150 or so sugarcane processing windmills, which in turn saw the population of slaves from Africa increase fulfilling the needs of production.

In 1834 Slavery was abolished by Britain and all the slaves were emancipated and though this improved things, by then the sugar

St. John’s Harbouri

St. John’s Harbouri

industry had already began to fizzle out.    The economy never picked up until tourism started to flourish and today they encourage visitors with their numerous beautiful beaches, many holiday resorts and of course cruise liners, up to four a day, and we mustn’t forget the abundance of fresh fish available from its waters around the Island.  Antigua is also a magnet for

Falmouth Harbour

Falmouth Harbour

sailors and in Falmouth Harbour one can see many of the worlds grandest super yachts moored up alongside “normal” yachts.

In 1968 Antigua became an associated state of the Commonwealth and on the 1st November 1981 Antigua and Barbuda gained full independence and became a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth. 

We’ve visited this Island on many previous occasions, mainly when we had our boat, (Anam Cara) out here, but never hired a car and spent long enough to really get to know the Island, find those isolated areas away from the tourists, and meet so many of the very friendly local people, who on the face of it look intimidating, but aren’t.

As I said we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Antigua, will we return; who knows as there are many other places in the world we can go and

One of my favourite views

One of my favourite views

hibernate in.  Just keep an eye out on www.oldiesontour.com 

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Last few days

Friday and wow, we could wake up gradually and linger over breakfast, no early start, nowhere to be today, but I admit the house has lost its buzz with the departure of Lee and Sarah, we miss them already as they rejuvenated us into 20-yr olds!!!

Apart from the above, it was a normal Friday, domestic duties, supermarket and a swim on a beach followed by a quiet evening trying to up-load videos and crib.

Cloggys bar

Cloggys bar

We had rain again overnight but morning back to normal and later we headed to “Cloggys” to watch the England V Wales match from Twickenham.   As usual Cloggys was pretty busy but we managed to get there earlier enough to get a couple of stools at the bar opposite the tele.   It was a tough game with many poor decisions from the New Zealand Referee, still in spite of being down to 13 in the last 10 minutes England beat Wales 33-30;, and by doing so lifted the “triple crown” trophy.

Immediately after we headed straight to our usual beach for our picnic lunch and a quiet afternoon, but unfortunately being Saturday, it was

Pigeon Beach

Pigeon Beach

heaving.

Sunday and I was off back to Cloggys for the Scotland V France game, and what a match with the Scots winning 28 : 17, excellent result and blows the championship wide open.

Back home we debated the Coronavirus again and the implications for us having just heard from “Princess Cruises”, again.  The understandable restrictions they have imposed on embarkation are quite severe and for any minor issue we could find ourselves stranded in the US as we only booked the cruise: the travel arrangements are ours, so not covered by Princess.  Anyway the decision has been taken and we booked flights back to UK on the 13th March and returning to Spain

Deep Bay Beach

Fort Barrington

on the 16th.  A very sad end to our extended holiday, of well, onward and upwards, start thinking about what’s next!!!

Having made the decision we now have to set about consuming the food and booze stocks we have, rather more than we can manage I suspect, bringing our departure forward 13-days.  We also have to tick off the odd things we had planned to do, but not yet got round to them. 

Couldn’t quite make the top

Couldn’t quite make the top

One such activity is to climb to the top of Fort Barrington, the fort on the south side of the approach to St Johns harbour.   Having been to the deep bay beach before we knew the way up to the top was arduous and hazardous but perfect for mountain goats but we had to have a go.  I know this is a concept we don’t have to deal with generally, but we failed, we got about half way up but then realised we needed boots or trainers, not sandals to get further up.   How the military climbed up “and” hauled cannons up to the top

We did manage to climb quite high

We did manage to climb quite high

amazes me, they must have been made with sterner stuff than us.  After the failure, we drowned our disappointment on the beach on deep bay, and looked foreword to tomorrow when we’re heading to Galleon Bay, hoping to snorkel with some turtles that are “allegedly” there! 

Oh dear things aren’t going to plan this morning, rain overnight, dark clouds this morning and windy.  Under theses conditions we know the sea will be “stirred up” and visibility will be virtually nil so so didn’t actually venture out at all; there’s always

Deep bay beach

Deep bay beach

tomorrow.

Oh dear poor Christine, she’s got a tummy bug today, no Coronavirus symptoms I’m pleased to say, but needed to stay close to-you-know what.   We had a packet of frozen fish last night, perhaps it was that who knows, but obviously the turtle beach was off the agenda, again!!!!, so the big pack was started as we stopped in.

Thursday and it’s our last full day in Antigua, and hopefully it’s 3rd time lucky and we make the turtle beach; the good news is Christine is back to normal and the sun is shining.

Today we had our last Mexican Pizza in Falmouth Harbour before

Papa Zouk mural

Papa Zouk mural

Papa Zouk restaurant

Papa Zouk restaurant

heading to Galleon bay for a last swim and maybe see some turtles, but alas no.  The water was rather cloudy and there were far more yachts anchored off the beach than usual and neither of these two things is inducive to turtles parading about.   Oh well we’ll just have to live on our memories from the times we swam amongst them in Tobago Cays.   Fortunately we enjoyed

Lovely restaurant

Lovely restaurant

beautiful weather for our last beach trip.

Tonight we celebrated our last night by going to Papa Zouk, which is a restaurant that specialise in Fish and Rum.  We had a really good evening, eating lobsters and drinking wine and rum, a fantastic last night.

Two perfect lobsters

Two perfect lobsters

We fly out today but I did want to visit the Antigua and Barbuda museum so headed into St Johns only to find there was a children’s parade or demonstration, not too sure which in the town and to add even more confusion there was a “huge” cruise ship in.   The town was heaving and chaotic so parking was impossible and after a few attempts I gave up and returned to help clean up the cottage.

After saying our goodbyes to Clovis and Paul; the couple, who’s son owned the property and who “operated” the gate zapper each time we hooted, we headed to the airport.   With the Coronavirus uppermost in our minds we were glad to know the Virgin Atlantic ‘plane had arrived safely, and as it had to return to the U.K., we were assured of getting on board.  We think the ease in which we got our tickets was due to it being Friday 13th!!!!!!  

The flight took off on time as we settled into a seven and a half flight, an hour-or-so quicker than the outbound one.

Enjoying our time at the restaurant

Enjoying our time at the restaurant

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Stingray City

Thursday and would you believe it, it’s Lee and Sarah’s last day but yesterday, out of the blue Sarah asked if there was time to do “Stingray City”, and after a ‘phone call we were booked in but  had to be on the other side of the Island for 0830hrs. So much for relaxing; we set the alarms for 0630hrs as we had no idea what the early morning traffic would be.  What a good job we did, according to SatNav it takes 29-minutes, but the journey would take longer due to pot holes, unusually

Very tame

Very tame

heavy traffic, road works, an un-made road and traffic lights that flash red “every-which-way” causing a mad scramble to get across, not that I had trouble with that, I just went!!!!   We finally got away at 0730hrs and eventually arrived about 0820hrs, made our way to the office to pay etc., only to find out we didn’t  actually need to be there until 0855hrs, we could have had another 30-minutes in bed!!!!

There were about thirty of us in the boat as we headed on the 10-minute journey to the reef where all the Stingrays congregate; a large sandbar about 3-ft deep with a floating dock secured to the sea floor.  As soon as we entered the sea we were surrounded by Stingrays,

Lee and Sarah

Lee and Sarah

amazing creatures, so friendly and used to humans. One of the rangers told us he had one female stingray he called by name, we immediately checked to see if it was 1st April but no, he then proceeded to demonstrate it, and she went to him!   We were Snorkelling, filming, and even feeding them with baby squid though this did cause poor Christine a small problem.   We were shown how to hold the squid in our hand, how close to put it to their mouth, and then let the stingray suck it out.  If we were too close we would get bitten, too far away and it would just drop to the sea floor.   Christine dropped hers, oops and said that was it;  however Lee thought differently, and got her another squid and wouldn’t take no for an answer; I am pleased to say she succeeded. 

There are about 220 stingray species in our oceans, mostly in sub and

DCIM100GOPROG0024826.

tropical waters, they are also related to the shark family. Around Antigua there are eight species including Eagle Rays, Whiptail stingrays, and Butterfly stingrays but the rays located here in Stingray City, are “Southern Stingrays”.   The reason they congregate on this particular sandbar is all down to being fed by the rangers and visitors, even during the “closed” season, the rangers still come at 0900hrs, 1100hrs and 1300hrs to feed them, this way the stingrays know through habit when food is always available and just

DCIM100GOPROG0034831.

turn up!!!  

After about an hour watching, handling and talking about them we headed back to the Island for a  complementary “rum punch” and to view the “professional” photos taken whilst out in the water.

OK, the morning was still relatively young so headed to “longbay beach” for a swim and also booked into “Mama Pasta”, an Italian restaurant on the beach for an early lunch, but unfortunately though the setting was great, the food wasn’t quite as expected, never mind it was an interesting place to be for lunch!!!

Lee and Sarah

Lee and Sarah

The drive back was more sedentary and Lee and Sarah had oodles of time to prepare for the journey back to UK.

We left the house in plenty of time to get to the airport but Antigua, well the roads in particular hadn’t quite finished with us.  “Friars Hill Road” the main road we have to use has had major roadworks, apparently for the best part of two years, though I have to say since we’ve been here we have seen quite a bit of progress.  Anyway today there was major “indigestion”, total confusion in the one way system, probably not helped due, as usual to some drivers totally ignoring the red lights and meeting oncoming traffic; normal practice here but please, not today as we have two people trying to catch a flight.  Out of desperation Lee got onto his SatNav and low and behold found there was a “sort” of track we could use to by-pass these roadworks.  The track forked and we went one way only to find a darn great pool of muddy water blocking our way, oh for the off-roading buggies we had on Wednesday!!!  A quick 3 point turn and we came back to the junction and went the other way.  This was certainly the “dry” way but bumps and holes needed to be circumnavigated and well done “Pepe 2” for taking them all in her stride!!!!  Back on route we watched their Virgin flight arrive but we did make the airport with time to spare, phew!!!!!

When Lee and Sarah arrived we had booked the off-roaders and the

Not sure I enjoyed this

Not sure I enjoyed this

sailing, both activities started at reasonable times and apart from those two activities they wanted a few relaxing days on a beach, a little snorkelling and generally unwind. From the first night, they arrived on Saturday to the time we took them back to the airport today, Thursday, there has been precious little chance of relaxing; yes they fitted in 6-beaches and snorkelling off the boat, but they added in other unplanned activities that most nights we were all knackered.  Still

DCIM100GOPROGOPR4915.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR4915.

what a fantastic few days we all had; thoroughly enjoyable, so we must do it again somewhere, sometime.

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Off roading

Off we go!

Off we go!

This morning we headed to Fort James Beach but en-route stopped by the old fort for Sarah and Lee to admire the view from the top, high above the harbour.   The sea today, though still nice and warm was quite rough for the Caribbean, presumably there was some bad weather about in a “far-off” place, anyway it was a challenge entering and leaving the sea.  We didn’t stay long as we had an appointment at 1330hrs at the “Salty Dog” office as we had booked an “off-road” excursion so headed home for a quick snack before arriving at the “Salty Dog” offices to “pay-up” and have the debrief, the usual health and safety warnings etc., followed by signing away any rights we “may” have with the disclaimer!!!

Bumpity bump

Bumpity bump

We mounted our off-road “chariots”, Japanese built, 500cc 4 wheel drive CFMoto Z force vehicles, and we were off. We headed out of the port area of St Johns, through the back streets, many of which we hadn’t been through before, before hitting the open road heading for the big mountain in the rain forest. Our party consisted of the Salty Dog lead driver “Donald”, Lee and Sarah in the first car, with Christine and I following. Behind us was the salty Dog “rear gunner”, there to ensure no one got left behind; fat chance of that with Lee and I driving!!!! Speeding along the open road, achieving 62-KPH at one stage, we soon reached the point of no return, i.e. onto the dirt tracks. Fortunately we were all secured with full harness belts, crash hats and a “big” grab handle for the passenger and naturally roll bars built in!!! I don’t know how Sarah felt sitting alongside Lee, but I know Christine was

Donald telling Geoff he is very naughty

Donald telling Geoff he is very naughty

apprehensive; it’s her bones you know!!!   It didn’t help that en-route we had to stop to get Christine’s full harness straps tightened; the last person must have been rather large!!!!

We had been told to follow Donald’s wheel tracks on the basis he knew the best way through the dips, bumps, mud baths, rocks and oh yes, the “supposed” track, and this we did at breath-neck speed, staying as close as possible in line astern.   All was well until we met a “car” coming the other way; how a car managed to be there we’ll never

Reservoir

Reservoir

know, but he was and we had to make room. Fortunately there was “spare” track off to the side, so we squeezed into that to let him by.   Due to this car “attacking us” we finished in a different order, I was in front of Lee and being a little “off-the-wall” stuck right up Donald’s backside and pushed him as hard as I could.   I expected, at the next stop to be told to calm down but no, he responded and the two of us were

Lots of mud and plenty of water

Lots of mud and plenty of water

off, and on occasions left the other two behind, Poor Christine, though she was well strapped in the jolts must have been very painful as there was no quarter given, I wasn’t going to let Donald have the satisfaction of getting away.

We had four pre-arranged stops. The first was where the original reservoir “Body Pond” was built many years ago, but today the dam is broken and there is minimal water and trees etc., growing out of it however there is still an outlet pipe for water to be used at our next stop. Here Donald pointed to a community of “Rastafarians”, apparently there are around 100 of them in total, living a self-contained and self-sufficient life in an enclosure that also has its own school etc., and in addition, they

Looking over St.Johns

Looking over St.Johns

cultivate all the land around the enclosure for their food. The Antiguan Government has given them a one hundred year lease on the land, and if they still occupy it at the end, they have the right to buy it.

Our next stop, more of a comfort break and we were given some pineapple chunks to eat. We then set off on our last off-roading section prior to heading back to St Johns and now we really gave it some “welly,” no holds barred knowing it was all coming to the end.

Our last stop was high above St Johns, the “official” picture spot looking down onto the 3-Cruise ships moored in the harbour with the surrounding buildings.

We tootled down some really “hairy” hills, in very low gear as our last “hurrah” before returning the buggies to the Salty Dog pound. After all

Fantastic view of St.Johns

Fantastic view of St.Johns

the good byes and the discretionary tip, we headed to C & C for a bottle of wine, well two to be precise, with all four of us sporting grins from ear-to-ear, we had all had a fabulous time though it did go very quickly, we think they cater for slow drivers, and we weren’t, we went too fast!!!!!!

Leaving C & C for a much needed shower before heading out again, this time to a recommended restaurant that “advertises” and as its name suggests, they only do “Fish & Rum”, though we think they can do chicken if needed.   After a difficult drive to find this place in the back streets of St Johns, including a 20-point turn, we arrived, only to find it heaving with no spare tables. It hadn’t occurred to us to book a table for opening time, we hadn’t been told just how popular this place was!!   Oh well, after a short discussion we headed back to the old faithful place, yes C & C.   Christine and I will try again another time and report back to Lee and Sarah,

Back at the ranch we headed straight to bed though Lee did download the videos he took some are embedded here.

 

This video is very big but at least you can get some idea what my bones suffered. Christine

Geoff’s face says it all!

Geoff’s face says it all!

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Sailing

The complete package

The complete package

Tuesday and the day I’ve been waiting for has arrived at last.  Today the four of us have chartered a private yacht with skipper and we can’t wait.

Breakfast was taken swiftly and on the hoof as we had to be in Jolly

Lee and Nick at the controls

Lee and Nick at the controls

Harbour for 1000am and goodness knows what the morning traffic will be like so we took the precaution of leaving early.  Anyway, the run over to Jolly was clear so as we were early, this allowed our guests to have a wander around and look at the boats in the marina.

We were Collected on the dot of 1000am and we headed to our vessel for the day; a Benateau 50, skippered by Nick and his mate (wife) Kay and we left the harbour.  Whilst heading out we scanned all the boats at anchor for the one we looked at and liked but unfortunately it was nowhere to be seen.  Oh well never mind It’ll be back, hopefully!!!!  Into the open sea, up went all the sails, engine off and we headed south, what could be better so broke out the beer; 

Kay chatting to Lee

Kay chatting to Lee

Fortunately this is not a dry boat!!!  The sea was clam and the wind light but we were sailing and that was the main thing.   Lee and Sarah hadn’t sailed before so they were enjoying their experience though Sarah had the foresight to take a sea sick pill before setting off.  Lee took the helm at one point an steered the boat superbly well following the coast line but inside the reef and for a few minutes we were healing over nicely, real sailing!!!!!   

Sarah doing her bit

Sarah doing her bit

We finally arrived outside Carlisle Bay and dropped the anchor before we all got into the clear, calm, warm blue sea where snorkelling was the order of the day.

Our Skipper was a retired Solicitor from Warwickshire who had come to Antigua 14-years ago and took over this private charter firm, well a boat!  That for him was the simplest and quickest way to get the necessary papers to operate a charter boat.  His wife used to be in “high-end” retail but now was Nick’s “mate” and “cook” and

Sunbathing on deck

Sunbathing on deck

“deckhand” and “relief helmsman” if he needs a break, but it works, they are a very good and efficient operating team.

Anyway, after our swim and back on board Kay produced a wonderful lunch; Wahoo on a homemade salsa with lemongrass mayonnaise and salad, followed by fresh fruit and Brownies all washed down with

Relaxing in the sun

Relaxing in the sun

buckets of delightful wine.   It’s amazing what can be produced from a small galley.

After some more swimming etc., we lifted the anchor and headed back north.  This time we only put out the jib but there was sufficient wind to keep us going and Sarah then took the helm during which time I enjoyed their “own version” of a rum punch, and it was very nice so I had a

Enjoying a rum punch

Enjoying a rum punch

second one!

We eventually pulled back into Jolly Harbour, moored up and said our goodbyes.   What a wonderful day we all had, our hosts were attentive, the skipper was informative both about the seas around the Island and the goings on in Antigua.

Leaving the boat we popped into the “Crows Nest,” a waterfront bar and restaurant where it was happy hour, 2-drinks for the price of one

Sarah looking chilled

Sarah looking chilled

and Pina Coladas were the choice three of us went for.  They went down so well we did two rounds, 4-Pina Coladas each, unfortunately I had forgotten I had been supping all day on the boat including 2-very strong rum punches, all I will say is, Christine had to drive back!!!!!   We collected a KFC on the way home and soon after dinner I went to bed, whilst the others stayed up and played crib.

Enjoying ourselves

Enjoying ourselves

Another exciting day tomorrow!!

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Sarah and Lee arrive

A normal Saturday, quiet morning for Christine trying to rest her foot though we still had to go shopping.   What a mistake, we had to visit 2 supermarkets to actually get most of what we needed.   Supermarkets here tend to run out of stock, their logistical supply chain needs some serious attention!!!

Arriving at the airport on time to meet Sarah and Lee, we encountered a small issue we’d not had before.  Unfortunately the  Virgin flight was the 5th long haul plane to arrive during the last 2hours with rather too many passengers for the airport to process quickly so instead of short wait, it was a long one, and nowhere to have a coffee etc.

With big cheesy grins they emerged and their first words were “how nice to be in the warm again”.  Saturday was a lovely warm sunny day.   On the drive back they quickly grasped the difficulty of driving here, pot holes etc.

After suitable freshening up time the four of us headed into Redcliffe quay for a meal, and yes we went to C & C, again!!!   And if that wasn’t enough we enjoyed the usual fare washed down with four bottles of

Lee and Sarah

Lee and Sarah

their lovely South African Smoked Chardonnay, whoops !!!! We then retreated back to  base and carried on!!! We finally got to bed at midnight, four am, their time!

Not too early and after a slow start headed to Half-moon beach and introduced Sarah and Lee to the delights of the Caribbean, including a Pina Colada.   We couldn’t stop here too long as we had to be back at the ranch in time to wash and dress before “Barry” our taxi arrived; tonight is Shirley Heights night and as the weather has been so

View from the blockhouse

View from the blockhouse

glorious the sunset will be spectacular.   En route we stopped at “The Blockhouse”, this is the remains of the British base high up on the cliff looking out onto the Atlantic, and it was designed as the place the British would make their last stand should the

Amazing views

Amazing views

island be invaded, fortunately it never was.

Sunday at Shirley Heights, as I’ve said on many occasions is the place to be.  The steel band, goodness knows how many musicians there are in the band, as it entertains the very large crowd who gathers

Fantastic sunset tonight

Fantastic sunset tonight

up here every Sunday night, non stop from 4-pm till 7-pm, though this week they just kept going and eventually stopped at around 7.30-pm.   Such a beautiful sunset tonight, Lee and Sarah couldn’t have

Brilliant night

Brilliant night

chosen a better night to be in this magic spot.   After dark all the super yachts switched on their mast and anchor lights and being such a clear night, Falmouth and English harbours

An amazing place

An amazing place

sparkled.

Our taxi driver “Barry” was a hive of information about all sorts of things Antiguan, from its history to the current day, as he says, the islands economy is centred around tourism and as a “registered” taxi driver he has to play his part in encouraging tourists to enjoy Antigua and hopefully return.18361f89-a906-4244-b244-0c09322b1243

Arriving back home around 9.30-pm we’d all had enough, swimming in Half Moon, rum punches up at Shirley’s and a late alcoholic night before we were all ready for bed and besides we had to be up early Monday for our first experience.

Today we are heading to the rain forest part of the island to experience

One of the bridges we crossed

One of the bridges we crossed

the “zip Wires”, where cables, slung between trees with some crossing the valley with deep undergrowth, are waiting for us.   Arriving earlier than expected we headed down to Carlisle Bay so they could view what we think is in the top echelon of beaches here in Antigua.

Back in the adventure park in the rain forest and after “donning on all the gear” and having had our “safety brief” we

Ready for the off!

Ready for the off!

Geoff getting sorted

Geoff getting sorted

headed up the steps to the first run.   Our party was only 8 in total and very friendly though the two other couples were experienced, they’d done this sort of thing on other holidays, on other Islands, we on the other had were complete novices and, we’ll Christine and I, were very apprehensive, still we arrived at the takeoff platform.   The first length was very short, this enabled us to get a feel of everything and put into practice what we had learned in the briefing.   Generally speaking 6-went down very well, Christine on the other hand had a mild panic

Wow

Wow

attack at take off point, but fair do’s she did it with encouragement from “Sam” the girl who clipped us all onto the wires, and me behind saying there is only one way down!   When it was my turn to go, that was fine but I couldn’t stop turning and landed bum first nearly flattening “Hawk” the receiver.

Sam and Hawk accompanied us all round the 13-different zip wires, they were very professional and the health and safety standards were extremely high, we all felt totally secure throughout. After the first zip,

So scary, but good fun

So scary, but good fun

we settled down, Christine just did it though several times forgot to lift her feet as she travelled over trees etc., I kept spinning and on all but two occasions landed bum first, couldn’t fathom out why, whilst Sarah and Lee looked professional and to that end did all the videoing from a camera mounted on their heads!!!

To leave the final landing platform we had 66495fd2-8620-49a7-a8a9-20dadec61ad5to cross a number of wire bridges, hung between trees before reaching the steps back out of the valley, so many steps, it nearly killed us!!!!!   Secretly, perhaps, we were disappointed it was over, anyway a good time was had by all so we headed off to Falmouth Harbour for a beer at Cloggys.

Oh no, Cloggys is closed on a Monday, I should have known so it was downstairs to the “Seabreeze” for a beer and another “Mexican” pizza.

Next we headed to Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour; one cannot visit Antigua and not tour this area, so we did.   Sarah in particular was

English Harbour

English Harbour

fascinated by all the super yachts moored both in Falmouth and English Harbour, so we had a good look.

OK, it’s beach time and the nearest was Pigeon Point Beach, our old faithful.   Unfortunately today it was very busy as there was a small French cruise ship moored just outside the harbour, and they were bringing their guests to the beach on their tender, most unacceptable!!!!!

As usual we had a good swim, and whilst enjoying a pina colada, the heavens opened and this was very annoying as we had just got ourselves dry ready for the off, oh well, never mind we’ll drive home wet.  Of course once in the car the sun came out again!!!! 

Tonight Lee and Sarah are having a night off from the “oldies” they’re heading to “Nomads”, a restaurant just up our road that we have had good reports of, we look forward to their feedback.   It is also a very important anniversary for them so it was right they had a nice romantic evening.

The funny thing about all this, Sarah and Lee we’re looking to a

Geoff looking at yachts again

Geoff looking at yachts again

relaxing few days in the sun, some swimming etc but it has been all go go go and tomorrow is another early start, watch this space!

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