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ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
DIARY  2

Photos   Map & Plan   Diary 1  2

                From Diary 1, I now continue in Diary 2.
28.
I head down near Nelson's Dockyards, and turn west along the coast. I pass a lot of churches, each with its specific Christian god. I stop at a supermarket to get some bananas and milk, and when I get out again, I can't open the door to the car.

I was getting use to the key-less solution, where I just have the gizmo in my pocket, and lock the door on a button on the handle. It opens automatically, when I approaches it later. I start the ignition by pushing a button. Now, I can't get in to my phone, and I walk back to the supermarket. She call Budget, and tell them, it might be caused by the radio mast nearby. I try walking around the car, and that works.

The landscape turns into huge hills, mainly overgrown with thorny bushes as usual. I find the little gravel road, leading down to Rendezvous Bay. However, it is actually not that small any more. It have been widen to two lanes and is now real smooth. A clear indication of; a new resort will clime the beach.

A couple of kilometres before I reach the coast, the roadwork have reach a steep slope, and stopped. I will not be able to make it up that hill, with the slicks I got the car with - especially as I have no insurance. I park, and get a longer hike.

I am here to do the hiking, but because I read it was through rainforest. It is fare from. It is the usual thorny bushes with a few Bromeliads and Cereus. I see a single new plant, which might be a Peperomia. It have to distich stages; juvenile and adult. Both are suffering from drought.

I reach Rendezvous Bay, where it is stony beach. I follow it, and it turns into a nice sandy one. Inland, it is still thorns. The beach end at some old limestone rocks, having great colours. The trail leads over them, and offers some great views over the next bay. It is wide and a perfect sandy one. This is where the resort will come.

I walk to the end of this cove, and find the trail, leading into the "rainforest". It passes a mangrove before it head up the hillside. It is bone dry, and have never been a rainforest! There are no way I can penetrate the thorny bushery without a trail - and I don't feel like anyway. 
Eventually, I make it back to the gravel road, and now, a Puerto Rican is working on the steep slope. I'm glad I didn't bring the car down there!

I head back to Nelson's, and do a big loop to get to Fig Tree Drive, which should be beautiful. Well, it is not rainforest, but at least here are some huge trees, and the area is pretty green. I make some photos which I later can't tell apart: Green hills.

I stop where some zip-liners are having fun, and use their connecting trail to enter the forest. I pass a little lake at first, then it turns into pretty green but lush forest. Here are a few epiphytic ferns and Bromeliads, but not much. I don't see a single orchid.

The road meets the sea at a posh resort; Carlisle. I walk the beach and buy a cup of Cafe Latte - mostly because I didn't know the price. But it is a lovely place to sit and watch the smoking volcano: Soufrière Hills, on Montserrat, around 45 kilometres away. The huge bay is pretty much empty, except for young girl, learning herself windsurfing.

I spot a few sea turtles and huge black rays, cruising bye in shallow water. The noisy Americans arrivals for lunch, and I head on along the southern coast. It is one perfect beach after the other, most privately owed by large resorts. I find my way down to several, trying to capture the magic.
I find it a bit strange: Some perfect beaches are completely empty, others are real crowded.

Here are a few lagoons - or mangroves, but as usual, they are impossible to walk around in. I reach Jolly Harbour, and a culmination of hotels. Some are old and have a bit of charm, most are not. Some have died a pathetic dead.
As the road turns inland, the houses get small, the fields have a few cows and there are no money involved. I  see a few pineapples fields, but they are red due drought.

I do a de-tour around inland Bendals, just to make sure I don't miss any interesting landscape. I don't. I'm home real early, but I can do with some time to do accounting and laundry. Rendezvous Bay trail, Fig Tree Drive, South Coast

29. I have not anything in the countryside, I especially want to see, so I just cover the areas I haven't see yet. I start way out west at the Five Island Area. I passes Saint John on the way; a slow process in the morning traffic. When I get close to the coast, the landscape dries out, with yellow grass on the planes. Here are a few horses, and a hill with cows.

I find a little hill, right at the sea, and it is almost barren limestone bedrock. Most of the area is private, either posh houses or resorts. I manages to get out on one perfect beach, and follow it to the cliffs. I find an old coin, verdigrised green. A rock out in the bay look like a giant four-eye. I try to explore the green hills, but they are sealed off - and thorny anyway.

From here, I continues along the coast towards Fort Barrington, but getting to it, is a bit tricky: The peninsula it is located on, have been closed by a resort-building project. I head up on a hill, and from here, I can see  pedestrian bridge, connecting two peninsulas, and I head for the other one.

On the way out, I pass a mangrove, and to my great joy, it have a lot of upside-down jellyfish, and from different species. I end out in the black soft clay, filming these wonderful creatures. I head on with black mud to my knees, but the nearby beach solve that.

Right before I get to the hill with the fort, I reach the perfect beach the resort have target. I do a short walk, but these beaches start to look alike. Fort Barrington, on the other hand, is a quite small and quite intact fortress, on its little hilltop. From here, there are great views to the sea, the cove and the mangrove.

My next site is on the other side of Saint John's harbour, but I get a bit faster through now. There is only one cruise ship in today, but it is a giant. The streets are filled with small shops, but no customers, except the locals. On the other side of town, I find yet another perfect beach, then Fort James, which is a bit more serious.

The walls are quite intact, but the not-so-old buildings inside, are falling apart. The brown pelicans are flying around and over the fortress all the time, and tiny pigeons are picking the grounds. The canons look so new, although they are for blackpowder.

I head further up along the north coast. On a narrow piece of land, in-between the sea and a huge lagoon, the remains of an old tourist industry is found. Hotels, casinos and alike. Only a single beach resort is still clinging to life. On the other side of the mangrove, some rich people have some posh houses out to to great looking beaches.

A "Sea Turtle Crossing"-sign make me pull over at yet another beach, but they are not working on Fridays, it seems. I get a cup of Latte at a little joint, watching the blue sea. Then I head on, and find a great looking mangrove. I walk across the slightly soft plane to get to the plants, thinking it would not be nice to sink in. Then on the way back, I find a poor donkey who did, and died.

I follow the northern coast to Hodges Bay, but here is not really anything interesting. The next target is a peninsula; Crabbs, on the other side of the airport. It turns out to be locked up by a military base. At two, I have run out of roads on this island, and head home to Saint John.

I pass the hotel, and head into town. Here, I find a barber, then go for a walk. It is a lively day in the city, but I fail to find anything new. Despite the huge cruise ship still docks here, there are no pale faces. I return home at five, and it start to poor down, on the two kilometre drive - and continues all evening.

Day 5: Five Island Area, Fort Barrington, Jellyfish, Fort James, North cost, Saint John

30. It is my last day, and I have see what I came to see. However, I was recommended a private beach, and I throw my bag in the back of the car, and head out there, despite the occasional shower.

Just as I am getting out of the door, I get a email: My flight will be one hour delayed. Not that great, as I then have to find my new hotel in the dark. I head bye the airport, to see if they have one earlier: It have just departed. Then it is straight across the island to this beach, just south of Jolly Bay. I pass a old arch bridge, and have to make a photo.

I cross the thorny inland, see some small houses and almost barren hills. Just before I reach the private beach, I pass a lagoon, and here are several birds in the water. Then I enter the private beach: It is astonishing! Where all the others have been made up by white sand, this is made up by powder from shells, and even more bright white. The water is more blue, and the pickings are numerous in the rougher parts.

I walk the entire length of it, and for once, I actually go for a swim! Only thing getting me up, is the fear for severe sunburns. From here, I drive by Fig Tree Drive with its huge, green hills and big trees. Then I pass English Bay on my way to Half Moon Bay. I stop a few times at Fig Tree Drive and some great coves.

Half Moon Beach have received quite some seaweed, but it still look great. Despite the great trail is close, I just go for a cup of Latte at Beach Bum Cafe and a short walk along the water. Then I set the GPS for the airport, and return the car at three. Around Antigua

Antigua have some areas that are so beautiful, and a lot of rather dull inland with thorny bushes. I have so much enjoyed the trails at Shirley Heights and Half Moon Bay. I have taken 1400 photos, driven 353 kilometres and spend pretty much what I thought I would - for once. From here, I continue in Dominica.
 

EXPENSES DKK E.Carib$
Shared*  (part of a 92 day tour) 918 367
Flight here 991 396
Car + Local transport 1.771 709
Entrance 50 20
Hotel 938 375
Food 595 238
Other: Gear, souvenirs 73 29
TOTAL: 5.335 2.134
*) Error flights+London, return DK, insurance, vaccinations, guidebook, gear i.e.

Photos   Map & Plan   Diary 1  2