Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Antigua ~ Part 2

Click here to read Antigua ~ Part 1.

In Antigua, we had our five day adventure on the sailboat then went to Blue Waters Resort for a few days.  The reason for this was we weren't sure how well we were going to sleep on the boat and it gave us some time to do nothing.  Sailing can be hard on the body.  In part 1, I included a map of where we ventured so you can see how busy we were.  The resort was to give us a few days to recover and actually vacation.  :)

Our accommodations in the past have always been simple.  A small house on the beach, a hut on the beach, a simple hotel on the beach.  Blue Waters Resort was none of those things.  It was huge.  And gorgeous.  Seriously.  The grounds had lush landscaping and so many blooming flowers.  Several buildings, separate homes, 7 pools and a few restaurants made up the complex but it is spaced out enough that it never felt crowded.  The service was amazing.  Many of them remembered our names even though we were only there for a few days. The beaches were small but breathtaking.  Servers would come by with plates of fruit offering snacks and there was a waitress that served people on the beach while at their chairs.  One could get spoiled at this place.

The main desk area.

This is our room when we were leaving.  I forgot to take pictures of it when we first go there (typical).  Also, I didn't get pictures of the bathroom but they were nice!  A walk in shower with a rain shower head.  There was a claw foot soaking tub, pedestal sink, and toilet.

The Palm's restaurant.  This is where we ate breakfast and lunch.  The first night we ordered room service from their dinner menu.  The food was good but not great.  The view from the dining area was beautiful.

We made reservations for The Cove restaurant one night.  My only complaint about the entire resort is dress code at dinner.  For most people this wouldn't be a problem but for us, staying on a sailboat for most of the week limited our packing.  We only brought a few small bags and dress clothes didn't make the cut.  There are good reasons to have a dress code but I feel they were a bit extreme.  I had to buy a dress at the gift shop where there were not a lot of options. Blittle had brought a Perry Ellis tailored, fitted shirt with khaki pants.  When we were leaving the restaurant the manager stopped us and said that his shirt was not to dress code since it was not collared but they decided to serve us anyway.  Next time we needed to be within dress code to get service.  Really?  Here are the outfits.

Anyway, the food was delicious and sunset view from our table was perfect.

I went running on a path around the resort.  There is an old sugar mill they built around, a peninsula that has a gazebo with a great view, and lots of hills.  This Texas girl is used to flat roads so those hills were challenging.


Looking at the resort from the peninsula.  Our room was in the building right off the beach.

The sugar mill.

The beach!  There were several small beaches at the resort but this was the one right outside our room so we stayed on it.  Two pools were really close, too, so we hung out around them as well.

 This is Hugo the palm tree.  Story is, Hurricane Hugo pushed the tree over but it kept growing.  Several more hurricanes came through and pushed it over a little more.  Hugo the palm persevered and survived.  Now he looks like this and I am obsessed.

Overall, we had a great experience at Blue Waters and would go back.  I will say that I got the best price through TripAdvisor.  They had a deal on a deluxe beachfront room with breakfast included.  The resort can be all inclusive but for us, all inclusive isn't worth it.  We are not going to eat and drink enough to make up for the price.  For lunch and dinner we ate and drank what we wanted, even ordered room service one night which has a fee and we still came out less than one persons all inclusive price per day!!!!!  

I am so thankful we had the opportunity to take such an amazing vacation.  There is no denying we needed it!  Now we are looking forward to getting some house projects done and planning for our next adventure.  :)

I hope everyone has a great week!

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Antigua ~ Part 1

Antigua is not an island we have ever discussed visiting.  We tend to go to islands that most people haven't heard of and where there is lots of shallow water fishing.  After the Europe trip didn't happen, we talked about trying to get away when Blittle felt better but traveling in the summer is tricky due to hurricane season.

A guy Blittle knows through the fishing and boat community mentioned that we visit him and his wife in Antigua.  They live on their sailboat and have many of the same interests as us.  Blittle told him we might take him up on his offer since we didn't make Europe, I am learning to sail, and we are always open to new adventures in the Caribbean.

The name on Brian's Coke on the plane was perfect.

Fast forward a few weeks...Blittle's foot was completely healed and feeling much better.  We contacted his friend again to ask how serious he was about us staying with them.  After a few days of trying to schedule things we booked our plane tickets and were headed to Antigua the next week.  The plan:  Stay on the sailboat Sunday to Friday and see as much of the island as we can then stay in a resort for a few nights to rest and relax.

Today I am going to tell you about our days on the sailboat.

Blittle's friend and the owner of the boat is, Chris Morejohn.  Click here to see his blog and read about his adventures.  Chris used to design and build boats for one of the popular skiff companies out of Florida and he built the sailboat we stayed on, Hogfish Maximus.  Him and his wife, Rachel, have been living on the boat for a long time, traveling all over and working through out the Caribbean.  He has endless knowledge about boat building and sailing.  It was a great opportunity to spend time with them to see how they live and ask tons of questions about sailing.  Plus there was plenty of BBT to be done (one of Rachel's friends started that term, Boring Boat Talk).

Take a tour of Hogfish Maximus here.

There was no set agenda.  Just to sail around and see as much of the island as possible.  Below is a rough map of where we ended up sailing.

They were anchored in Jolly Harbor so we spent our first night there and sailed over to Falmouth the next day.

On the way to Falmouth, we stopped at a reef to do a little snorkeling but didn't see much.

The island was beautiful from the water.

We got caught in a storm.  EEK.

Falmouth was a calm area to anchor and had plenty to explore.  We went hiking and toured Nelson's dockyard.

View of Falmouth.

There were tarpon in Falmouth.  I have never seen one in the wild.  Just at the aquarium in New Orleans and of course, we have Mr. Tarpon on the wall in our living room but this was the first time I had seen them wild.  They really are pretty fish.

I have titled this photo "The Great Tarpon Hunters"

This is what they were looking at.

Swimming with tarpon.

The buildings at Nelson's dockyard reminded me of Charleston architecture.

View of English Harbor and Nelson's Dock yard.

There is an old fort, Fort Berkeley, on the peninsula of English Harbor so we hiked up to it and the views were spectacular.

Wednesday, we moved east again to a small inlet called Indian Creek.  Eric Clapton's mansion (This place was ridiculous. HUGE)  is on the cliff at the entrance and there were huge, lush mangroves once in the protected area.

Cool mangrove caves.

This tree caught our attention.  Look at those roots.

Eric Clapton's House.  It is on top of that cliff.  There were lots of clouds that day so I had a hard time getting a good picture.  In total, at least 5 different structures.  Crazy.

There was absolutely no wind which means bugs so we moved to the next bay, Mamora Bay.  The St. James Club resort is in this bay so we took advantage of their beach chairs, restaurant and free wifi.  It was a great afternoon to rest and relax after several days of sailing and hiking.

Thursday, was our last full day on the boat.  We were hoping to sail all the way around to our resort but the weather did not cooperate.  Once we got to Deep Bay, it was clear that going farther north would be unpleasant.  Deep Bay is a beautiful little bay with a white sand beach and Fort Barrington National Park.  The park is just an old fort you can hike to (very steep and a little scary) and get an amazing 360 degree view.

 Galley Bay Resort.

Deep Bay.

View of Deep Bay from fort.

View of entrance to St. John from the fort.

Jolly Harbor is where we anchored for the night.  Since it was our last night, we cleaned up and got dressed to go into the marina for dinner.  Westpoint Marina Bar is a cute gazebo bar with table seating or you can sit around the bar.  Thursday nights are kareoke night so we had some fun entertainment.

This is typical....Brian took a nap while the rest of us sailed the boat.  :)

Brian and their dog, Bequia, liked to lay on the deck while underway.

Thank you, Chris and Rachel, for opening your home and taking such good care of us.  We really appreciate and can't wait to see y'all again.

Part 2 is about the resort we stayed at our last few nights.   I'll tell you all about it on Monday.

Also, I am hoping to make a video over the next few weeks but since I have no idea what I am doing, it may take longer.  :)

I hope everyone has a great weekend and stays cool.  We have had some super hot and dry days here in Texas.

Check back Monday to see more pictures from the trip!

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