As we pull close to Antigua, here finally are the aquamarine waters that I associate with Caribbean waters.
We’re supposed to be docking in the port of Falmouth, known for the multimillion dollar yachts anchored in the gorgeous bay, but the swell is too high and we have to continue on to St. John’s. St. John’s is the regular cruise ship port, and sure enough who’s docked beside us totally blocking our view of the island?…. the huge Costa Atlantica. And just what are they doing while the passengers are ashore?… Why practicing life-boat drills of course! Too little, too late???
The change of port has changed our shore excursions, so most of us opt to spend time in the town and perhaps take a taxi tour of the island. Clint and I head off with high hopes, only to be confronted with a sea of hawkers and t-shirt shops galore – and let’s not forget the diamond stores! What really disappointed us was the stench of raw sewerage that ran under the sidewalks. Definitely made us want to exit this port as quickly as possible!
That evening a local steel band comes on board to entertain us during cocktail hour and as we depart Antigua we have a particularly beautiful sunset.
And on to our final port-of-call – the very chic St. Bart’s.
As it’s only appropriate that we are sharing the bay with several mega-yachts, the Wind Surf, and a Seabourn luxury cruise ship. No one is blocking anyone’s view and there is plenty of browsing space on the sidewalks – very civilized.
We’ve signed up for a Yellow Submarine adventure to explore the offshore coral reef. Certainly the Beatles are playing on the loud speaker – would you expect anything else!
Turns out this is a semi-submersible vehicle. The top deck stays above the water and passengers climb down below to be approx 6 feet under the water. We were fortunate to be on the second sailing which was much less crowded and the first group had fed all the fish so they were plentiful for our voyage. We inspected a sunken ship, the coral reef and marine park, seeing rays, turtles, sharks, and lots of colorful fish. All in all a very enjoyable ride.
Once back on solid ground we head off to explore this charming seaside village. Window shopping is a must - Armani, Hermes, Gucci, Cartier – all the boys are here, as well as lots of shops offering glittering essentials. Keeping our wallets zipped tight, we wonder off to Shell Beach about a 15 minute walk from Gustavia.
As is only appropriate this is a very appealing beach with small sea shells serving as sand, cute little boutiques selling little nothings for jaw dropping prices, and a great little restaurant Do Brazil. We grab an elevated table, sip our $7 beers and settle down to people watch. Bliss.
A week of sailing has flown by – but we feel like we’ve had a very long and full vacation experience. I would definitely cruise with Star Clippers again and perhaps next time aboard the Royal Clipper – the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. It looked awfully tempting when we sailed along with them earlier in the week!