Tuesday, 3 February 2015
03.02.2015 - 03.02.2015
This morning we approached the island of Antigua and although the wind had eased the frequent rain squalls and heavy clouds on the horizon prevented any capture of the sunrise. Instead of my more usual walk I spent my time getting acquainted with a trio of Americans. Time passed quickly and I had to dash off to meet Jenny for breakfast.
By just after 0800 we had assembled our gear for our excursion ashore and watched the ship entering her berth. Already in port were two other ships of similar size, the MSC Musica and the Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas the three ships adding about 8,000 to 9,000 visitors to the local economy.
We were berthed in the port of St John's, the capital of Antigua which is the larger of the two islands that make up the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. They are located in the centre of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean.
Our Shore Excursion started at 0900 on the Pier where we were assembled into line and escorted to the parking lot to meet up with our bus and driver/tour guide. We were driven across the island while Shawn maintained a constant flow of information. In general the island did not look prosperous and many structures were in varying states of disrepair. The tropical weather coupled with the occasional fierce hurricane no doubt being contributing factors. The primary source of income is tourism with a large percentage of the workforce being either directly or indirectly involved Shawn pointed out that there was local concern about the growing economic interest from China.
On the way to Nelson's Dockyard on English Town Harbour, we stopped briefly at the Blockhouse Ruins and the Shirley Heights Lookout to view remnants of the early English military presence. Nelson's Dockyard has many restored historic buildings and continues to provide a repair and restocking facility for sailors and their craft. The number and variety of vessels congregated there was most impressive. A guided tour of the complex and a complementary drink were part of the package. My rum punch certainly had a kick !!
Shawn drove us back to St John's and we returned to the ship for a quick lunch and a change of clothes before heading off again to visit the stores in the immediate vicinity of the pier. We wandered around for an hour or so intrigued by the many colours and facial features of the locals. The vibrantly coloured array of clothes and cheeky tee shirts was tempting but appeared to be quite expensive. Back at the ship I have taken the opportunity to bring the blog up to now.
Time has slipped away again and it is now almost time to prepare for dinner.
We had dinner on our own as Donald and Mary did not make appearance, they were far from the only ones that didn't turn up. There was a much reduced number in the room. One pleasant surprise was meeting Carla, one of the staff, from our cruise on the Ocean Princess about a year ago. It is always a pleasure to see a familiar face, quite surprising as there are 18 ships and we haven't repeated very many of them.
After dinner we made our way to the Theatre, lucky we were early. By about 1935, almost half an hour before show time it was a Full House. People standing around the edges and sitting on the stairs. We've never heard of this performer but he deserved the crowd. Jeff Peterson is an amazing magician and mixes it with a great sense of comedy. I think he had a tough crowd and deserved a standing ovation, at least he received terrific applause after most of his tricks.
Now there's just the task of uploading this and the photo, then turn off the lights and sleep as the ship gently rocks on a slight balmy sea.
Tomorrow we dock in Castries, St Lucia. Arriving at 0800 and departing at 1730
If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony