Thursday, November 17, 2011

Antigua: A Magical Island

Wednesday finds us docking at the beautiful island of Antigua.     I have never visit Antigua before, but this island has held a mystique for me for as long as I can remember.    My excitement built as we left the ship looking for a place that rented motor scooters.     It didn’t take us long to find the scooter rental shop, and we were off on another new adventure.     

     We worked our way out of St. John’s on Sir Sydney Walling Highway heading for the eastern side of the island and the Devil’s Bridge.    As we left the paved road and started down the dirt road that takes us to the coastline, we rounded a corner and met a herd of wild donkeys.    We stopped and watched these beautiful animals for a while before continuing down to the coast.     A few kilometers later we were at Devil’s Bridge.     This is a naturally carved bridge and “blowhole” that the sea attacks on a daily basis.    The wave erosion has created this impressive bridge in the rock cliffs.    Watching the waves hitting the bridge and blowing out the top behind the bridge is very impressive and loud.

     Leaving Devil’s Bridge, we turn to the south and pass through St. Peter and St. Paul Perishes as we wind our way down to Falmouth and English Harbours.    Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour was first used as a hurricane shelter by three British Navy Ships in 1671.   It was recognized as an important harbour to protect the fleet and in 1725 the first ship was built in English Harbour across from where Nelson’s Dockyard is today.  By 1750 construction had begun on Nelson’s Dockyard and operational by 1778.     Today it is a National Park that is a must visit when in Antigua.

     From Nelson’s Dockyard, we head a bit North and West through the Rainforest   then Southwest coastline and some of the most beautiful beaches anywhere.   We follow the coastline back to the north as we work our way back to St. John’s and our final stop at the Antigua Distillery.

     At the Distillery, we get the opportunity to taste three of their finest rums.   First the English Harbour 5 Year Old Rum, fine rum that we have at the Rum Bar that sells well.   Next we taste the Ten Year Old English Harbour; this rum demonstrates the real value of additional aging on already fine rum.   The Ten Year Old English Harbour is a great addition to your rum cellar.     Finally we are offered the opportunity to try their English Harbour 1981 Vintage.    This rum was distilled in 1981, bottled in 2006 and is fabulous from the first whiff to the finish…but it is about $250 a bottle – it is worth the investment.

Safe and sound, we returned the scooters, and boarded the Celebrity Summit ready to shove off for St. Maarten a little later this afternoon.     Antigua fulfilled my interest and I look forward to returning someday soon when I can stay a little longer.     ;o)