Sunday, July 1, 2018

Thursday, March 8, 2018 – St. John’s, Antigua – Mostly Cloudy – 82F

Port Summary. Christopher Columbus discovered Antigua in 1493 and the first sugar plantation was established in 1674.  Today, Antigua and Barbuda are an independent nation and part of the British Commonwealth.  The nation has a population of around 81,000 with the capital, St. John’s home to 31,000 people.

Location of Antigua and Barbuda

Our first time in Antigua – we tried to stop here on QM2 but wave conditions prevented our tendering to a different port on the island. No tendering today as we are docked at the port in St. John’s, the capital of the island. We are alongside the Costa Pacifica.

From the deck of the ship, you can get a panoramic view of the town and the island.

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Antigua – View From Eclipse

Because this is a port day, the Café got crowded pretty quickly at around 7:30 AM. I was just enjoying the LaVazza Coffee at that point so I headed back to the room.

A few days ago, we found out through the video displays near the Oceanview Café that the lunch today would be fish and chips – we plan to walk around the town in the morning and then be back on board for a quick lunch before heading out to our tour this afternoon – “Panoramic Antigua Drive” – at 1 PM.

It was a short walk from the pier to the town and we were certainly not alone – it seemed like both ships emptied their passengers onto St. John’s at the same time.  The town is definitely built for tourists as shops lined both sides of the street. 

IMG_20180308_Antigua Heritage Quay Shops

Passenger Density in St. John’s

The most imposing structure in the town is the Cathedral on a hill overlooking the harbor.  St. John’s Cathedral (St. John the Divine) was originally consecrated in 1683.  That structure and one that followed in the mid 18th century were destroyed by earthquakes.  The current Cathedral was constructed in 1845.

That was our destination.

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The Front Gate pillars contain two St. Johns – St. John the Divine and St. John the Baptist.

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Entrance Gate

We didn’t go into the Cathedral but we did check out the cemetery, which had graves dating back centuries.

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Cathedral Cemetery

  IMG_20180308_414 year old grave

Grave marked 1604 – Is that Possible

From the Cathedral we walked through the streets of St. John’s.  The people seemed friendly and we did run across a familiar site – the US Embassy or as we call it, Subway.

IMG_20180308_The US Embassy Antigua

We went back to the ship for lunch. The place was crowded – I guess Fish and Chips are a big draw.  The lunch was good and would certainly provide enough sustenance for our upcoming tour.

We met our group on the pier at 12:45 PM and hopped into a van for our tour. 

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Pretty Good Seat

After a short run through the town of St. John’s, the driver and guide (always a bit scary) headed to the far Southern end of the island.  From there, we got nice views of the beaches on the island (also known as the “island of 365 beaches”).

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Our rest stop was the Catamaran Hotel in Falmouth Harbor. Terrific views and a nice relaxing stop.  I chatted a few minutes with an American, who was having his lunch out on the terrace.

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IMG_20180308_view from Catamaran Hotel

Catamaran Hotel and Falmouth Harbor

We got back in the late afternoon in time – of course – to catch the terrific sail away.

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Antigua Sail Away

Savannah Smith is the Headliner tonight – her name sounds familiar but we’ll see if we have across her in the past.  We wound up passing on the show and opting for a relaxing evening instead.

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