On Antigua I was pleasantly reminded of the joy of a pre-arranged private tour with a small group and a knowledgeable local driver/guide. Kathy & I have done this previously – we arrange a tour for just us or for two or three couples, then post on one of the roll call message boards for someone to share the tour with us, splitting the cost. We have met some lovely people that way, since, at least in our experience, people interested in this type of tour are travelers like us. Not photographers necessarily, but people interested in a little slower pace with more details.
In this case, we responded to someone else’s post, and ended up meeting Susan and John, a very nice couple from Indiana. We had lunch with them on one of our sea days to get acquainted. Unfortunately Susan was not able to join us for the actual tour, so there were just three of us plus Emelda, our guide.
We started our tour with a stop at Betty’s Hope Historic Sugar Plantation. We found the remains of an old sugar plantation, with two windmills, and the ruins of several buildings including a still house, where rum was once produced.
We then proceeded to Devil’s Bridge National Park, a place with crashing waves and a blow hole. The blow hole wasn’t blowing too much during our visit, which likely reflected the lovely weather we were having! We did get to see a few bursts, however.
After Devil’s Bridge it was on to Nelson’s Dockyard, another national park which is known for its marina but is much more. Included within the park is a number of historic sites, including forts, lookouts, beaches, hiking trails and more. We spent quite a bit of time in the various locations, since there was so much to see. It was quite windy at the higher elevations, which made it very pleasant without air conditioning – but hold on to your hat!
Our last stop was at St. Barnabas Anglican Church. The church is one of the oldest Protestant church buildings in the western hemisphere, dating from the 1670s. The church has a green color due to the high copper content of the stone, which came from a nearby quarry.
After the church it was back through town and to the ship to prepare for our return to Florida and the end of Cruise #1.