Shirley Heights and more

Tuesday dawned with a beautiful clear blue sky, obviously the tropical rain showers have now passed, so today we headed to Galleon beach, 8 of 365, a small beach situated opposite the entrance to English

Galleon Bay

Galleon Bay

Harbour.  The last time we were there, there was a large resort with a taxi rank but sadly nothing now except for a small bar with no electricity.  Apparently the resort complex went bankrupt owing the electricity supplier US $ 485,000, still the beach was fairly empty with many yachts anchored just off, so we had some entertainment we could watch.

 Wednesday was the usual, leisurely morning and after the daily visit to the shop for the day’s food we headed to Runaway beach, one of the nearest to where we are staying; a simple procedure one might say, but no. SatNav directed us, or tried to round a sort of housing estate, well I suppose you call it that, then kept changing its mind telling us to turn

Runaway Beach

Runaway Beach

direction and we kept going over the same ground until we eventually arrived at an unmade road, nothing strange in that but the ruts and overhanging branches eventually forced us to turn back.  Jeff now consulted trip advisor and when it said this was a very easy beach to get to, well!!!   So we took a management decision and forgot about it for now, we’ll attack it another day and decided to go to Hawksbill beach, number 9 of 365.   En route we drove along the harbour where there were 3 cruise ships moored and one of them, the Crown Princess, is the one we will be travelling to Barcelona in April.

Hawksbill beach gets its name from the single rock sticking out in the

Hawksbill beach

Hawksbill beach

sea shaped like a hawk, but as you keep looking at this rock you will see all sorts of animals.

Today was also the first time Christine and I got our snorkelling gear out as there were rocks at our end of this beach, but after quite a considerable time the only thing we noticed was an old, abandoned outboard engine, so we walked to the other end.  Here we saw another holiday complex, chalets etc but it appeared to be dead, nobody was around and we proved this by sitting on one of their sun beds.  Usually when that happens there is always some flunkey

Happy Carib day

Happy Carib day

hovering ready to take your money.   Travelling around the island we have come across numerous holiday projects either abandoned before completion, or closed down.  Perhaps Antigua is promoting Cruise ships, easy, take the money with minimal fuss, and they go, who knows.

After a pleasant lunch and swim we headed back but en route went via Runaway beach, by arriving at it from St Johns made it simple and we now discovered why SatNav led us astray.  There is a large body of water between us and Runaway beach with a causeway across the middle and this was the problem, we were unwittingly going along it when we turned round earlier in the day as we discovered the other end of it.  Looking at it I suggest even a 4×4 would have struggled to get along it, still job done.

Runaway beach before boy had raked it

Runaway beach before boy had raked it

Today; Thursday will be a change from the normal as we are going to Shirley heights tonight, so after the pantomime of yesterday morning we now know how to go straight to Runaway beach.   Breakfast took its normal course before we were on our way to the beach.  Again another change from the norm, we won’t be visiting the supermarket today as our plan is for lunch at “Mistic Bar” on beach 10 of 365

We arrived rather too early, and though the bar was accessible it wasn’t open, everything was locked away and the fellow on duty couldn’t tell us when the lady owner would be opening up.  Still we enjoyed having a table under cover, and off the beach to put our things on whilst we enjoyed “Runaway”, a two mile long stretch of white sand all to ourselves; there was no one there except us. Eventually the owner did turn up just before lunchtime and we managed to get some beers, but after looking at the menu decided not to eat there.  After a short discussion we decided to go to the KFC situated around the

Viewing area top of Shirley National Park

Viewing area top of Shirley National Park

corner from our cottage.

Back home after a hearty KFC we leisurely readied ourselves for the night at Shirley heights.   We had never been on a Thursday before so this was going to be a new experience for us as we have always been on a Sunday.   A “Shirley Heights” night, is one big party with steel bands, lots of

Stunning views

Stunning views

drinking and bar-b-q up on top of the hill overlooking English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard.  This party takes place amongst the ruins of a lookout post and garrison, built by the British Navy in the 17th century on the south side of the island to keep a lookout for the French should they come and attack.  Apart from the “partying” this

Steel band keeping up entertained

Steel band keeping up entertained

hilltop is also a wonderful place to see the sun setting over the Caribbean; tonight, though quieter than the normal Sunday “bonanza” was not too  disappointing.

Driving home was interesting as I had enjoyed rather a lot of rum punches, still we made it without a hitch.   Note to myself, get taxi’s next time!!!

As a quartet we spoken about visiting other parts if Antigua, namely the north and east of the island but always got seduced with the prospect of doing as many of the 365 beaches as we can.  Today was the day we would have a drive around and find a

Sunset

Sunset

suitable place to enjoy our packed lunch.

We headed to the North, following, ha ha ha, their coast road, pot holes and all.  This must be where the money is, we passed some magnificent looking houses perched above the sea with uninterrupted sea views.  We drove down several lanes and tracks but just couldn’t get down to the sea, money had seen to that!!!   We carried on and eventually arrived at the backside of V. C. Bird, Antigua’s international airport.   According to the map there is a road but we think the authorities try to discourage you from using it as it is a wide track with more than the usual potholes, they were ruts and the comfort of the passengers was more than a little uncomfortable but naturally we weren’t phased, we soldered on: poor Pepe 2, our Toyota car.   This track just kept going, as we did, alongside the runway of this airport built and paid for by the Chinese.

We eventually escaped and arrived at Parham, probably Antigua’s second “town”, a hamlet  of hand-built houses but as far as we could

Pigeon point bay

Pigeon point bay

see, no shops but several religious buildings.   After another dead end we’d had enough, lunch was calling and as we still hadn’t found a suitable destination, we aborted.  Following another discussion we headed back to Pigeon Point beach, though half an hour away, it was the nearest to us.

Arriving soon after we luckily found a unused beach table and set about our late lunch.  After our usual swim and walk we headed back for our normal evening, funnily enough we were all ready for an early night; too much partying last night on Shirley Heights!!!!  Still a new day tomorrow 

Just love this view!

Just love this view!

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