Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Visiting the Brits, Sorta

Once again, I was up to watch the sunrise as we approached St. John's on the island of Antigua in the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda are a member of the Commonwealth. Antigua and Barbuda sounds like it should just consist of two islands, but there are other islands as well, it's just that A & B are the most populated. Barbuda was declared "barely habitable" following Hurricane Irma last September.

In the 1700's Antigua was a base for British ships (some might call them pirates, depending on your point of view) and most of the harbor entrances still have visible fortifications. As always, you can click on a picture to get a larger version. In the bigger picture, remains of Fort Barrington are obvious.

We'd planned to go zip-lining while we were here, but the cruise line cancelled since we were the only two that signed up. Plan B was to take a quick walk about town, visiting three locations with Earth caches, and then see what else we could do.

As we left the dock, one of the many taxi drivers selling island tours caught our eye. We told him we'd chat more if he was still there when we got back.

One of the earth caches was associated with the large (and old) Anglican church that was visible as we approached town. The church is currently undergoing restoration.

I found the graveyard to be more interesting. There were a lot of old graves. This was the oldest grave, dated 1692. Other graves were much newer, including at least one from the past year. It's not very often we find places with this sort of history in continuous use.

Most of the town streets were lime cobblestone but a few had been paved with asphalt. Sidewalks were narrow and busy.

As we returned to the dock area, we spotted Eldon, the taxi driver we'd talked with earlier. He was easy to spot since he was the tallest guy around.

He'd rounded up some others that were interested and within a few minutes the seven of us were loaded up and ready to roam the rest of his island.

Perhaps the most interesting highlight of the tour was this viewpoint overlooking Nelson's Dockyard at English Harbor. This compact, easily defensible harbor was home to Lord Nelson for several years in the late 1700s.

Antigua claims to have 365 beaches, one for each day. The compact island was once home to sugar plantations, but now depends on tourism as their primary industry. The government even has a process encouraging expats to settle and build on the island. Citizenship is an option if you make adequate investment and meet the other 'good guy' requirements.

We decided against settling in Antigua and continued our voyage of discovery. I was disappointed to see that we were landing at the cargo terminal in Saint Lucia instead of at the cruise terminal. There was a geocache at the cruise terminal and I was on a quest to find at least one in each country we visited. Saint Lucia is also a Commonwealth country.

As we were tying up, the Britannia, flagship of the P&O Line, arrived at the cruise terminal. This was one of those times where bigger (3x bigger) was better since they got to claim the cruise berth because of their greater draft, or maybe it was because of the flag they fly.

We were scheduled for an island tour that included a Segway segment, but it didn't start for a couple hours so we headed out to walk around the bay. It was early enough that it was still relatively quiet but the farmer's market was open for business.

As was typically the case, our Captain did his maneuvering on approach to the dock so that we could depart straight out at the end of the day.

The walk around the bay was interesting. Since it was a Sunday morning, the small boat Fisherman's terminal was quiet and provided us a shortcut.

The cruise terminal had a series of small shops that were open so BJ was able to get a Saint Lucia magnet to adorn our cabin door, adding to the growing collection. I was able to get a 'smiley' on the geocaching map for my collection and she was able to keep her Fitbit happy. Spoiler alert - the cache is at the base of the old steel tie-off in the front LH corner of the picture.

BJ and I did a Segway tour 'behind the scenes' at Disneyland a few years ago so it didn't take any practice to pass our driving test.

We even got comfortable enough that we could drive it hands free.

We left port in Castries a little earlier than normal so that we could sail Soufriere Bay before sunset. The Pitons are volcanic plugs that are now a World Heritage site and we had a beautiful evening to view them.


  1. Great photos and commentary! Looks like I won't be sleeping in on our cruise if I want to see some of the more interesting places. Thanks for the anticipation...

    1. Sleeping in is for sea days! There are ECs at the port entrance for both Antiqua and St. Lucia so you can get one cache before you land if you get up in time.

  2. Saint Lucia has long been on my bucket list, as has riding a Segway. How fun to do them both in one stop! You two look like pros on two wheels!

    1. Segway is super easy to learn, and Saint Lucia was very enjoyable, although it would be better on a sail boat!