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  • Day5

    Snorkelling, St John's, Antigua

    December 22, 2017 in Antigua and Barbuda ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    On arriving at St John's, there seemed a little for us to do independently than other stops so far. Maybe not. We initially walked up to the cathedral, which seemed to be entirely locked up and quite dilapidated. Just a block over though was the National Museum, housed in the former courthouse. Some of the same contents as the museum in Bassaterre but a little more on geology and anthropology which was interesting. Final stop was St James' fort.

    We walked through ramshackle housing estates with buildings made from wood and aluminium and windows an ad hoc feature - some missing, some plastic, some glass, some boarded up. As we rounded the road into the fort it became apparent it'd be quite tricky to get to as it was seemingly in a container port...alas, we were in fact headed to the wrong ruins! Nonetheless, an interesting jaunt.

    In the afternoon, we'd a kayak and snorkel excursion planned. We took a bus ride with our local guide Darie who talked about sugar plantation history, education and healthcare on Antigua, and national heroes.

    From the centre, we took a speedboat to a kayak station amongst the mangroves. The guide spoke about the four kinds of mangroves, of which there we red ones. Apparently, they act as a nursery for all the sea young, provide wind protection and prevent sold from being washed out over the coral reef which would suffocate it. The speedboat retrieved us, and went onwards to the snorkelling site - AMAZING. From the surface it was not apparently different to any of the water over which we had travelled, but the moment you want underwater, the life was astonishing. Teems of fish, varied in size and colour, feeding off a great variety of coral, including 'brain coral'. We took loads of photos on the GoPro. The swell of the ride was quite large and we had to be really aware of the tide essentially dropping us into the coral and breaking it.

    All too soon, we were summoned back and headed to a nearby shore for swimming, birdwatching and rum punch, before speedboating back to the centre to get out taxi back to the ship.

    The taxi was about a 45 minute journey, made much longer by the crazy traffic around St John's - our guide had informed us on the way out that 'every hour is rush hour in Antigua'!

    On board, we tried out hand rather more triumphantly at the trivia quiz, winning a phone fan for our trouble!
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