Antigua – Beaches, Boats and Bars


Antigua is said to have 365 beaches, one for every day of the year. Although we did visit a number of beaches, we didn’t try to visit all of them. Our visits tended to be towards the later end of the days and deliberately so. Antigua is a popular stop for cruise liners and there is  a never-ending supply of tour companies willing to ferry cruise passengers to the beaches.

Typically the liners only stop for one day so the passengers only have limited time available to them and since they have to be back on board around four in the afternoon, most of  the beaches generally start to empty by three as the tour guides head back to St Johns.

Jolly Beach is a prime example. As you can see, the beach is jammed solid with tourists, not.

Antigua - Jolly Beach

Antigua – Jolly Beach

On Jolly Beach,as on most Antiguan beaches, you will find the ubiquitous bar/restaurant. In this case it is called Castaways and here we availed ourselves of some well chilled Wadadli beers and a spot of lunch.

Darkwood Beach

Darkwood Beach

Antigua’s beaches are a superb basis for observing sunsets. Darkwood Beach is especially good for this, especially when one can imbibe an ice cool rum punch or partake of a tasty Goat Curry or perhaps the tenderest Jerk Pork Chop.

Antigua - Sunset from Darkwood Beach

Antigua – Sunset from Darkwood Beach

Don’t forget that Rum Punch, Mango Daquiri or perhaps a bog standard G & T, while watching the daily sunset.

Antigua - Coco Beach

Antigua – Coco Beach

The view from Shirley Heights is simply stunning, in all directions.

Antigua - View across Mamora Bay & St James Bay

Antigua – View across Mamora Bay & St James Bay

Antigua - English Harbour & Nelsons Dockyard

Antigua – English Harbour & Nelsons Dockyard

Another quiet beach is West Coast Valley Church Beach, home to The Nest Beach Bar. Again, this is a great place to watch the sun set.

Antigua - West Coast Valley Church Beach

Antigua – West Coast Valley Church Beach

Perhaps I was wrong to call this beach quiet. It was nearly totally devoid of people. However, the folks in The Nest were playing some music, very loud. But that was alright as it was a recording of a reggae based concert which featured a guest appearance by guitarist Carlos Santana.

One word, Superb.

By now, viewing these photographs you must be getting the idea that Antiqua is an awful place to visit. And I will admit that the four of us did mention, regularly, just what a chore it was spending two weeks there.

The bad news is that, during our stay, we failed to observe a truly orange sunset. Which of course means that we may well be forced to go back again and try to capture that classic shot.

Moving briefly away from the beaches, we took a trip down to English Harbour and Nelsons Dockyard. So here are a few more views which include boats

Perhaps most interesting is the  small boat that isn’t in the water.

Antigua - The craft that James "Tiny" Little rowed across the Atlantic

Antigua – The craft that James “Tiny” Little rowed across the Atlantic

James began his journey on 21st January, 2005 from San Sebastian de la Gomera in the Canary Islands and travelled 3,479 to Antigua. His epic journey took 116 days and he arrived on Antigua 17th May, 2005.

The following shows his daily routine which, if my arithmetic is right, means he was rowing for over twelve hours every day.

Antigua - James Littles rowing schedule

Antigua – James Littles rowing schedule

That’s no mean feat especially when he didn’t allow time for a beer. Just reading about it has given me a raging thirst, so here’s a bottle of the local brew.

Wadadli - Antiguan Sunshine In A Bottle

Wadadli – Antiguan Sunshine In A Bottle

And just for good measure, before I sign out, here are a few more snaps from around Antigua’s shores…..

 

Antigua – Bettys Hope


bettyshope

Antigua – Betty’s Hope Plantation

From Wikipedia:

Betty’s Hope was a sugarcane plantation in Antigua. It was established in 1650, shortly after the island had become an English colony, and flourished as a successful agricultural industrial enterprise during the centuries of slavery. It was the first large-scale sugar plantation to operate in Antigua and belonged to the Codrington family from 1674 until 1944. Christopher Codrington, later Captain General of the Leeward Islands, acquired the property in 1674 and named it Betty’s Hope, after his daughter.

Just a few of the photographs taken during our visit to this site.

 

Antigua – Devils Bridge


From Wikipedia:

Devil’s Bridge is a natural rock arch in eastern Antigua. It is located on the Atlantic coast at 17°6′1.7″N 61°40′42.2″W,[1] near Indian Town Point to the east of Willikies. The area around the arch features several natural blowholes which shoot up water and spray powered by waves from the Atlantic Ocean. This particular location is exposed to waves that are pushed by the Trade Winds with no land between here and Europe. .

Here are a few snaps I took around the Devils Bridge area…..

 

What the pictures don’t convey is the constant wind blowing in off the Atlantic and the booming of the waves as they collide with rocks and rush under the “bridge”. And this was a relatively calm day.
Devils Bridge, according to local folklore, has a darker side. This is a quote from 104 year old Antiguan, Sammy Smith, from his memoirs “To Shoot Hard Labour”

Four Go To Antigua


Tuesday morning found us, in Waterloville, up at the ungodly hour of 05:30. Preparing for the taxi that was due to pick us up within the hour. The temperature outside, according to the app on my phone,  was -4 degC. This was a small price to pay as we were on our way to Antigua where, all the weather sites told us, the temperatures were going to be around 30 degC.

The taxi duly arrived, carrying the friends that were to accompany us on our latest adventure. We, and our luggage, were soon loaded to the taxi and we were on our way to Gatwick, South Terminal. A bite to eat for breakfast, some retail therapy and we were soon sitting aboard one of Sir Richards finest, a glass of prosecco in hand, waiting for the off. We were soon wheels up and on our way. I have to say that crossing the atlantic is a lot easier than flying down to Oz

After an uneventful flight we arrived in Antigua and what a shock the temperature difference was. As soon as we exited the plane into the jetway all of the thirty plus degrees made their presence felt. So far so good. All we had to do was navigate our way through customs and immigration and then find our taxi for the journey to the villa.

Let me say right now, the Antiguan immigration process is not the slickest. One does wonder in this technological age why it is necessary to provide all the same information multiple times at both ends of a journey. We spent 30-40 minutes in a mind numbingly boring serpentine queue, then out through customs to locate our driver.

Of course we arrived just as the home-time traffic was building, so our journey to the villa was quite slow. It gave us time to absorb our new surroundings and for our driver to impart some local information. It soon became obvious that the driving rules here are very different from the UK. Road position and actions at road junctions are not as disciplined as back home. There is also much tooting of horns which seems to be a weird kind of communication. Our driver seemed to sound his horn at the most random of times.

We safely arrived at the villa where we noted that the hire car had already been delivered. Shortly after we had unloaded the taxi and taken up residence Iris, the car hire rep, arrived to complete the paper work. Visitors to Antigua have to have an Antiguan Drivers License. No test required but does require some form filling and the handing over of some cash.

A quick trip to the supermarket and we were formally on holiday.

More to follow in the coming two weeks.