We had a bottle of sparkling wine ‘Antigua champagne’ given to us you see I had had a big bitch about the resort! – I keep coming back so they do a lot right but still I was very annoyed they had not got the phone fixed in the room and I bitched when we needed the phone most. I had to leave Sanchia at her worst when she was ill to go get a doctor because they had let the phone sit..on top was the non existing wifi and leaving the room door open all day prior after cleaning! I was so happy to find we hadn’t lost anything or at least we didn’t find anything was missing. So we had the Champagne and I had the following vision to be realised…
We didn’t do valentines day 2016 because I am THIS romantic normally !

Romantic Antigua
Romantic Antigua

In short the morning was going to be one on my favourite beach Darkwood Beach. We set off on the 30 -40 minute drive through St Johns.
I decided to stop at Dennis beach bar and restaurant first to get a bathroom stop and show San FFryes beach. I also got interest from Dennis himself for doing some aerial filming another visit. Ffryes was quite rough and also quite busy.
DSC00300 DSC00301
The above shot was taken with the Sony HX60V again we can see here how well the zoom works. This is the best sub 200 USD camera for all round ease and purpose out there IMO.
A rare good shot of the author – well done Sanchia !

Calvin in Antigua
Calvin in Antigua

A morning at Darkwood Beach

We finally arrived to find Darkwood quite busy but still very much spacious. All went well and Marlon negotiated loungers and umbrella this is from the ideal restaurant at the far end coming from JH direction. There was an asian family arrived shortly after from a cruise ship. This is way nicer than turners (which seems too contrived for cruise shippers) and I also prefer this beach to Ffryes and Valley Church beach. I wanted to get the champagne shot early but pressing is that horrid job first world problematic sunscreen application. It’s a bit easier for me these days since San is around. As a young man I have approached the nearest pretty girl but can spare this cheesy cumbersome tactic these days. I will allow you a moment to cringe. We both couldn’t resist the water and I don’t think to this stage I had yet been fully into the sea. My back was being cooperative and all in all the day was set up nicely.
After a quick dip in the exciting surf – yes El Nino was providing much fun in the waves.
I got the shot I came for it felt a bit embarrassing setting it up but in the end it was way worth it and even had someone else come by to take their own photo of the bottle and glasses ! Would love to find that -its probably lost buried in social media somewhere. My version is the photo at the top of the page. We also tried a couple of selfies..then it was onto plain enjoyment and what a great morning it was too. Families were certainly enjoying the sea and both of us wished we could have had ours there. 5 kids at full price airfares is pretty limiting 🙁

The Asian americans were having an especially good time. The kids loved the waves but I am sorry to report that one of them lost their sunglasses as the surf smashed her over…I write this as a warning to you if you get fortunate. We had some time to enjoy reading too and catching up with self. I eagerly confess that I spent most of the time in the sea it was such fun.
Such a good morning that it was I regret somewhat that we had to leave in order to be good for the sunset cruise that we had booked. All good things must come to an end…

Antigua Sunset Cruise

See the fun we had in the Sunset Cruise post (under construction) – here is a teaser image

Antigua Sunset Cruise
Antigua Sunset Cruise

What an epic day we had ! I guess just having 7 days makes you cram it all in. Be careful to make sure you don’t do too much of that !

Dinner outside to a steel drum band

We simply don’t have much of a market for air con in the UK.
There are various signals that remind me I am in a happy place I dare say that exists for you too. Audio signals for example in the form of things that I don’t hear at home. Just open the door of your resort and listen to the cacophony of animal life – the specific sounds of the Caribbean immediately put me in a better place. Strangely similar the hum of air conditioning units also do the same thing. There is a historic importance as I always chose warm destinations backpacking many times earlier in my lucky life AND crucially these sounds DO NOT exist back home. We simply don’t have much of a market for air con in the UK. The other sound is that of a good Steel Band unit. I am not sure if I have heard a bad one yet ? It’s an immediate de – stressor and indicator that you are in a place of bliss and relaxation. It’s family friendly and easy to dance to. Strangely I didn’t dance that evening but many of course did it was sweet to see older couples enjoying life. That’s something many young people fail to be able to do. It was always easy to forget that we were going home in a couple of days and the contract we accept is to do just that. Thankfully as I said you forget quite quickly as there is life happening right now and you simply don’t want to miss it.
In it’s arrogance and indifference to the rest of the world it may simply be laziness the twin island country of Antigua and Barbuda has kept hold of a charm that I have seen only glimpses of in other islands. Westernisation has changed Barbados to the degree that it feels very different to Antigua.
I think I was saying I enjoyed the steel band. It was time though to scratch the fear of missing out (FMO) and head up the beach for some nightlife. It was Friday night after all.

Down the beach nightlife at the Coconut Grove

It’s always nice to walk by Sandals, I really don’t think that I would want to stay in the cheaper rooms there they are set well back and high up in the main block (I assume they are the cheaper ones). There are a controlled amount of beach vendors but the best thing about walking up Dickinson Bay at Sandals is that they always have something cool on show I don’t mean like a show inside the grounds, but flames and small designer tents or something for the romantics to hang out by the beach and be waited on; it must be great I will give them that one. On days where the beach ‘has wind’ there are these shielded loungers that allow you to be on the beach shot blast free. Though from my position on my towel on the sand I am imagining the best exfoliation I ever had in years is taking place for free. If its innovation and related to the beach or the first world beach problems in general I imagine there is some guy working for them somewhere designing a fix. If you want to take a look at Sandals Antigua in more depth take a look here.
Such places exude the very best conversation I also find its simply inspiring walking down a beach with light clothing on. It’s no wonder the Antiguan’s live long and wrinkle free. I am told black don’t crack !
Well Ana’s has failed to hit home – there were people having a nice dinner in the ibiza-esque style decor and so we didn’t even stop for a beer.
If there is an art form practised very well in Antigua then it is that of the barman and no better is the example than the resident barman Jermain at Coconut Grove. Jermain and I had a couple of topics of interest that of dancehall music and quads aka drones. Coconut Grove is frequented by some regulars too and the restaurant is recommended by many. We had a fun change of scenery and I introduced Sanchia to Guinness again just in case she forgot from the nights before at Putters bar. Of course we tried the rum punch never two the same on the island ! It was a fun time of course and in parting J gifted us a couple of beers. Of note there was this older guy who really needed to sleep or eat and was being chatted up by a woman whom I did not see as her back was to me but I just was thinking oh my you may end up being disappointed but then again what do I know ! As we were leaving a big bowl of pasta arrived.