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St John's, Antigua port call

Day 4 began, once I cleared my cabin, back at Tastings where I again had oatmeal. We were already in port in St John’s, Antigua. (The island nation also includes the smaller island of Barbuda, to which some went on ship excursions.) I checked the Excursions desk both before and after breakfast, but it was unstaffed as I suspect most were out on the pier sending groups off. My Barbados plans would wait until dinner time – they were open from 6:30 to 8:30.

As I debarked, the twin towers of the Anglican Cathedral of St John the Divine in Antigua stood proud on the hill. It was a slight climb, and I approached from the southwest, which put me a good 20-feet of rock wall below the grounds in front of the entrance. As I approached, the morning sun was positioned over the western tower, bright and back-lighting the dome capping it. The steps to the front were locked, and a sign pointed to the east for the open gate. As I moved in that direction, the sun’s light shifted and I found better shots of the front façade.

Coming through the east gate, I crossed through the cemetery and was accosted by the gift shop clerk to make a donation. Now, I usually do leave a donation, but as I depart a church, so she was advised. Entering into the church, we all were advised to get a temperature check and sanitize our hands, as we stood at the back of the stunning nave. A rich red wood embraced the visitor. The pews, galley rails, support columns and vault were all a uniform gorgeous redwood color, with sunlight glistening a reflection on the floor from behind the mahogany altar. A docent spoke briefly to visitors, pointing out the propeller-turned-into-a-light hanging over the side chapel, originating from a World War I aircraft rotor. A plastic drape over the bishop’s kneeler foiled my cathedra photo. The whole interior had such warmth, a feeling of comfort and calmness. I’d seen information about a midday service, but was told it would be held at a smaller church some distance away.

Departing, the feisty clerk again strove for a donation, but I had made my gift at the rear of the cathedral. Walking in the graveyard, I found get some interesting shots of the building and grounds. At the gate, I was able to get instructions for the Roman Catholic cathedral, which seemed pretty clear, but as I approached Michael’s Mount, had to resort to Google Maps to find the correct road up that hill.

Holy Family Cathedral, St John's, Antigua

Holy Family Cathedral sits at the top of the rise, across the street from the city’s main hospital. A clear expanse provides a near unobstructed view of the building; however, the neighboring yard is used for overflow parking for the hospital. A low-rising structure, the cathedral strongly reminded me of my local Epiphany Church Cathedral in Venice, Florida. Seeming built in the round, the slight conical roofline raises to a cross at the peak. A single-story building, the windows allowed me to get a glance and see it was cleanly unadorned, as entry wasn’t possible. I tried asking at the rectory, but the priest was away, and the help weren’t authorized to grant access. After a circuit, I began my walk down the hill and headed to the port.

As I walked through town, several buildings with “good bones” caught my eye, screaming for some tender loving care. Back into the tourist zone, I sought and was successful finding a hat pin. That prompted me to see if I could find a watchband or two for my watches, which I’d remembered to bring with me. After several inquiries, I came upon a local shop (outside the zone) where the shopkeeper was able to sell and install bands on both watches! They didn’t take plastic, and quoted me $140 – but that was Eastern Caribbean dollars, which, when converted, came to US$53, which I had in my wallet. Happy dance!

Back to the ship, as all missions accomplished. O’Sheehan’s greeted me, and I got a cheeseburger, which came with spicy sweet tomato chutney, lettuce, tomato, red onion, all on a sesame bun with fries and a pickle. I probably had a draft, and wound up talking with a couple now living in Winterhaven (Florida) who originally lived on the Jersey shore. Practically neighbors twice!

Cathedral of St John the Divine in Antigua

After lunch I gathered the Chromebook and phone and headed to the upper decks, to copy photos over and plow through emails. While there, I took the camera and pushed the telephoto, getting shots of St John’s Cathedral, pretty much head on. Interesting shot, without the detail of the building’s stone beauty, showing some wear, and an annoying radio tower in the background.

Another evening where my journal was neglected, until I updated in the morning. I spent the afternoon aft on the pool deck, in the area designated for adults only. We had an earlier departure than most other ports, leaving St John’s at 4pm, so I was able to watch as the ship backed off the pier and execute a K-turn to exit the harbor. Once that maneuver was complete and we were leaving the harbor, I hit my cabin to drop the technology off, grab my bread, wine and cheese and spent a French half hour in the lounge before joining the singles group.

After some discussion, the group went to Moderna, a Churrascaria restaurant. This involved an upcharge, but most of us had a pair of “special dining options” which covered that cost. We were seated and drinks were ordered, and then we were dispatched to the salad bar. Where I found asparagus on ice, so I was a happy camper. Returning to the table, drinks all in place, the 12-courses of grilled food began their procession. Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, pineapple and sausage: skewers ladened with portion size cuts were scraped onto plates and devoured. Filled to the gills, it was severe protein overload. And oh so delicious.

I headed to the Excursions desk, which was unstaffed for a meeting, and Guest Services was unable to provide a solution for my needs in Barbados the next day. I joined the gang at Headlines for “Howl at the Moon”, the dueling-pianists trio. Two double Glenmorangies after dinner at the show and I was feeling no pain.


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