We are in Antigua tied to the pier after another night of rolling and tossing in rough seas. It was formal night and to negotiate the ship you needed to hang on. So it was a group of people in tuxedos and elegant dress staggering around like intoxicated people.
Across from us is a very large Carnival line ship the Victory. I assume they have already disgorged hundreds of people into this small port town. We are at St John’s in Antigua. It is the capital and has about 24,000 people living here. This small island nation became independent in 1981. One of the things it is noted for is its rum distillery, which produces some 180,000 gallons a year.
While breakfast there was a torrential down pour which dumped gallons of water and quit. The sun came out and there was a beautiful rainbow off the stern of the ship. Fr. John, who was eating with us, immediately took credit for the rainbow, but I told him if we were having breakfast with a Rabbi it would be bigger and brighter.
After we exited the ship and walked past bow of the huge Carnival ship we could see four other equally huge ships here as well. People were pouring out of them like Noah unloading the ark. The town is not large and the stores don’t open until 10:00 am – cruise ships or no cruise ships. The shops have little to offer we haven’t seen or brought with us. I have already figured out I am taking a lot of clothes home I never wore. I really over packed.
Cars and pickup trucks go by with steel drum music playing loud enough to equal a rock concert. I suspect the occupants have hearing problems. One Volkswagen size convertible with a huge black man driving was painted entirely pink and he wore pink clothing playing music really loudly. He seemed to be just cruising through town – what did we used to call that in high school? “Dragging the gut”, I think driving up and down main street was called. Anyway, lots of people from cruise ships and they have invaded this small town like an amphibious invasion. A native walks by with what appears to be a huge cactus balanced on his gridlock head. He is selling a natural plant remedy for sunburn. Young girls walk by with rainbow colored hair and there is steel drum music everywhere.
We have done most of our packing because we leave the ship tomorrow at Philipsburg, which is the capital of Dutch St Maarten. This is the island that is divided into a Dutch side and a French side. Mullet Bay is the most popular on the Dutch side and Baie Longue is the most popular French side beach. We’ll leave the ship with our luggage and catch a plane to Atlanta where we spend the night. The next morning we catch a nonstop flight to Seattle. We hope the warm rain will have removed the ice and snow traffic hazard by the time we get home.
I hope we have calm seas tonight for a change. It was only 184 nautical miles from Jost Van Dyke to St John’s Antigua and only 90 more to St Maarten, but when the seas are rough even one mile is too many. On the other hand, I rate this cruise with an A+ for the food and service overall. The crew works very hard to learn names and provide service. The food is outstanding, the liquor the finest and it’s all included in the price. The islands they stopped at don’t even get a passing grade, however. Isolated tiny places that offer only beach and diving experiences. Poor selections for my interests and I think for most of the passengers. Given the wheel chairs, walkers and canes I don’t suspect many of these people put on snorkel gear and hit the water.People love this cruise line. I have talked to many people on this ship who spend a month to several months on Seabourn cruises. For me, it is too much of a good thing and I must exit before I die from the good life.