Saturday, January 31, 2015

365 Beaches!

Antigua boasts 365+ beaches, and we got to view all of them during a one day sail around the island on a catamaran Circumnavigation tour. Some of these beauties can only be reached by boat, others are jostling with tourists at all-inclusive resorts.

Some of the best, like Pigeon and Half Moon Bay, enjoyed National Park status and were less developed. By law, all beaches here are publicly accessible, so well-developed waterfront property may be gated but it is never entirely off-limits.

Pigeon Beach was just a ten minute walk around the corner and down the hill. It was never too crowded and had some coral to check out while snorkeling. And shade!

Our most memorable sunsets were viewed here on the west horizon.

One day I indulged in a massage from someone who had set up a table. The smell of coconut oil and the sound of the waves made it totally rejuvenating.

Goats wandered along the shore here, munching on green scrub leaves.

Our best meal of the trip was at Catherine's Café Plage, located only a few steps from the waves. I wandered in for a banana daiquiri and we ended up staying the day, making good use of the chaise lounges and then sitting at a table for a delicious lunch (I had grilled wahoo on sweet potato mousse with a lime emulsion; Rob had a perfectly cooked steak).

Because it was so close, this was the first and last beach we visited, time especially savoured before a late afternoon flight returned us to a cold and snowy Toronto. 

Half Moon Bay was about a half hour drive away, but well worth the trip.

The sea water was frothy on the sandy shore and such a beautiful blue torquoise. Heaven!

Located on the windward side of the island, there was a
 much stronger surf and some rugged terrain. We took the time to explore the limestone cliffs around the corner. There were fewer people here, but it wasn't totally isolated, either.

Up the road a bit was a shack to grab a cold beer and a light lunch.

Galleon Beach was a walk to Nelson Dockyards and then a quick water taxi away. As we were paying the driver, he noticed the colour of Canadian money and asked which city we were from. Toronto turned out to be where Akeem has worked the past three summers, one of them at Bluffer's Park Marina. What are the odds? I would never have expected someone running the water taxi in Antigua to be summering in Toronto, much less working in the marina where we fill up our boat with diesel.
Also on the way over, we chatted with our fellow passenger and found out he was the Head Chef at the beach bar. Self-taught and making his way up through the ranks, he was working 14 hour days and splitting his time between a couple of restaurants. Funnily enough we also caught the boat back with him, so were able to tell him the lobster roll and Shawn Burger he recommended were both delicious. 

Akeem took us by the Pillars of Hercules on the return trip. Limestone sculpted smoothly by the sea and wind. An impressive entrance to English Harbour.

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