Legend has it there’s a Beach in Antigua for every day of the year. Relics of its British colonial past include a passion for high tea and cricket with a sunny island vibe.
We were up early and ate breakfast in the Lido before disembarking to go swimming with the sting rays. It was a very long walk to get to the tour bus at the end of the pier but we made it finally. It was a 12 person bus and all that got onboard were passengers from our Ship.
We had awakened already docked and when i looked out from our balcony there was a big Costa cruise ship alongside of us. When we got to the end of the pier i could see there were 3 other big ships including an Aida and Celebrity and the other one might have been another Costa. In any case the town was full to the brim with all these passengers and i hope it keeps up to help their economy. It was a very friendly place and the people seemed happy. Our bus driver/guide said this Island wasn’t touched by Hurricane Irma but their sister island of Barbuda was damaged severely and recovery has been extremely slow. All of the residents were evacuated and brought to Antigua. Some were given shelter in residents homes while others spent some time in government buildings and they're all still struggling. Antigua has a beautiful modern airport now that was built by the government of Canada and is available to all the major airlines. Our driver spoke very fondly of our country and we felt proud even though it was new news to us. So glad to hear our country does awesome things on our behalf!
We arrived at our destination after about 30 minutes of a scenic ride through hills, valleys, neighbourhoods and industrial areas. We got off the bus and walked to the meeting place where a guide gave us all the info on stingrays; what to do and what not to do and then we got on the open air tour boat and rode out into the turquoise sea to where a lot of stingrays gather. They called the spot “Stingray City” and It was an awesome sight, these precious animals are so friendly one of the guides held a favourite female ray for a very long time. She had lost part of her tail to a shark and she loved being petted by him and she relaxed and just lapped it all up. My daughter and granddaughter enjoyed the rays very much and it was a once in a lifetime unforgettable occasion for them and me too. The water was so clear and a beautiful aqua on a sandy shoal about 3 or 4 ft. deep and the stingrays were everywhere and clearly visible under the water. The guide said that stingrays have babies about the size of a humans hand. The babies are on their own and right from the start they have to find food and survive on their instincts while the mama ray goes immediately after having given birth, even seconds later she will mate and become pregnant for another 11 months i think he said and the cycle continues. Females are pregnant all their adult life! Imagine that ladies! I enjoyed watching the rays interacting with my kids and other passengers for about 45 mins and then we rode back to the camp where pics that had been taken by pro photographers were being printed for purchase. It started raining just after starting our way back to shore and it was coming in sideways and from the front of this little passenger boat. Onshore we were given a tropical rum drink and it was so good i drank mine rather quickly and that was something i shouldn’t have done because it made me feel sick and quite drunk. I don’t generally drink any alcohol at all and man, that was some very strong drink, all the way back to the ship my stomach was in a tizzy and i was worried that i was going to throw up. I am a wimp i know. Well, i didn’t end up being sick but i sure felt tired by the time we got back to the ship. It was so hot out i was wiped and needed a nap, yes me, who does not ever nap!
Later we went to Guy Fireri’s burger stand and ordered the Pig Patty which is a hamburger with a patty made of bacon. It was delicious but difficult and messy to eat the regular way so I used a fork and knife because it was so huge with fried onions, mushrooms, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, relish and much more. As usual the fries were excellent and i think it might have had something to do with some kind of special salt and as well the oil they were fried in that made them a deliciously dark brown unlike McD’s or other fast food joints that serve up pale, limp, whitish looking fries.
Later Sabrina and i went to the spa for the complimentary 3min. makeover then sat in the sauna for awhile so I could get warmed up. Sometimes ships have the ac on too high for me but welcomed by the majority so they’re comfortable while i’m always too cold. Oh well, it’s one of life’s little myseries that i am almost always too cold yet i love to eat Froyo and ice cream and iced soda pop which make me even colder. I am a glutton for punishment! So yes, you could say my idea of a good time is sitting in a hot spot and it was heavenly sitting in that beautiful dry sauna.
We admired the rest of the gym and then hit the casino where my granddaughter played her first poker hand and almost right away she got 4 Jacks! I think she bet .25 and won $25. Meanwhile i was losing my shirt and soon i was all bitchy and the smoke in the poker slot area started really bothering me. It’s a given that one of the smoking area on the ships that still allow smoking is going to be in the casino and always in the area of the only slots i like to play which are the Game King machines. Unfortunately the GK’s on all cruiseships seem to consist of only 6 or 8 poker games and one basic Keno game while the casinos at home also have a few other slot games on them besides the poker games, and what i love to play on them is Black Rhino, Super 8 car race, Cleopatra and Leopard Spots. As they don't have them i usually only play poker on a cruise rather than some random slot machine. I guess i’m going to have to try to deal with the smoke, often from other foreign countries and they give me an instant headache but i can't get away from it. See, told ya i was crotchety so i went to our cabin and retired as we have another excursion booked for tomorrow and have to get up early.