LAWRENCE OF ANTIGUA
This would be the first time we have ever been here. So, I had no idea what to do. After searching the boards, I knew that St Johns (across from St Thomas) had some awesome snorkeling and everyone always talked about taking the ferry over there for the day. I was always too chicken to try it and make it back in time for the ship to leave so I immediately got super excited about coming here and docking here. I posted on the St Thomas board and patiently waited for a reply. Too my surprise, people were talking out of their minds about it and it just didn't add up. They continued to talk about using the ferry to get there. I proudly exclaimed that I would be lucky enough to not have to use a ferry like they did. Then confusion really sat in...I was informed that there's no dock at St Johns. Well surely they must not realize that RC docks at St Johns right? After awhile, I was set straight. I found that "St Johns" did not mean the St Johns across the way from St Thomas like I had thought. Oopsy! St Johns meant Antigua. I hung my head in shame and put my tail between my legs and headed over to the Antigua boards to start my search over. 🤪
The search started again..."Hello, I'm Mitsugirly and I'm here because I have a cruise addiction. I would like some suggestions on a nice beach to go to and I promise you I did not mistake St John Antigua for St Johns". Boom! Everyone responded informing me that Antigua supposed to have the prettiest beaches in the Caribbean (I swear everyone claims this no matter where we go). But I was informed that they have 365 beaches!!! Wait, what? How is this even possible? For every 20' you walk do they count it as a new beach? I can't imagine. But, at least I was in luck because to the beach it was for us!
Lawrence Leston came highly recommended (i.e. Lawrence of Antigua). He had excellent communication and answered all my millions of questions. He offered the following:
"You can have a combination of beaches around the island which includes Long Bay in the eastern section of the island.
Then we will drive through the Rain Forest to get to the beaches on the south western section of the island. Which includes Turners beach, Darkwood beach, Ffryes bay, Valley church beach and Jolly beach. You are free to stay as long as you wish on each beach also at the last beach you can relax until you are ready to go back to the cruise ship.
Drinks is served on this beach tour. Also free Wi-Fi will be available on board.
You pay cash at the end of the day. If your group is 4 or more person it will be $50.US each."
Additional information also stated:
The choice will be yours as to how long you spend on each beach. The last beach that we will be visiting is call Jolly beach, you are free to stay as long as you wish before heading back to the crise ship. It can be a private tour if you so desire
I will be using a bus that can take all 10 person from your group. In fact it can take more if the group gets larger the bus can take up to 22 person, so there will be a lot of space for 10 person, everyone will be comfortable all along the way while driving in the bus.
To meet will be very simple. I will be standing on the dock, I will be holding my Lawrence of Antigua sign.
Well I mean...how could you go wrong with going to a new port, a port with 365 beaches, a port that claims to have the prettiest beach in the Caribbean and we were going to get to see several of them on a private tour. Ok...booked for 11 people.
I couldn't wait and only $50 a person? Pssshhh, that made me think about the $95 I paid the day before.
Now usually you have to exit the cruise compound and out some gates to get to any outside vendors. Well not this time. Lawrence was standing on the pier waiting for us with his sign.
We were off and running for our tour. Well, at least in my mind I was because I was so excited. Lawrence wasn't running...he was an older gentleman and I don't think he would appreciate it if we made him run.
We got to the tour van and it was the exact same van like we had the day before. Lawrence passed out a map and showed us where we would be going today. He also passed out something that said "Certificate of Excellence for the year of 2012" from Trip Advisor. So it made me wonder what happened for the last 7 years? (Notice 2012).
The first stop was going to be Long Bay Beach. It was pretty much on the other side of the island so quite the drive. The kids were excited about going to the beaches today and couldn't wait to get in the water. I kept hearing "Are we almost there yet?" "What's taking so long?" Ugh...so hard to plan things with this group and be patient.
Along the way he was on his headphone speaker system and telling us things that we passed. Like the day before, I remembered next to none of it. So, I snapped pictures as he spoke about the things and I'll share just a few.
All this space and the kids insist on sitting side-by-side and Sakari insisted on sitting on one of the middle seats that fold down like she did the day before. Kendra, I have no idea what that face is about. Did you just eat a lemon?
Brayden: "Mamaw, are we almost to the beach yet?"
Sakari: "Are we there yet mommy?"
Kendra... "Mom! How far of a dri......." I cut her off and told her to sit back and relax and look for some more cows that were horses from yesterday.
Billy's scooter kept rolling back and forth with each stop. He finally decided to take advantage of it and prop his feet up on it to make it stop.
We finally arrive at Long Bay Beach at 9:53am. So we started to grab our things to head to the beach and Lawrence says "Ok, so this is Long Bay Beach. You can get out and your are welcome to take a look around, take pictures, and then meet back here in 10 minutes"
WAIT!!!! SAY WHAT??? My face must have turned 5 shades of red and the kids were all glaring at me. Ohhhh noooo! This is not how this day is going to go at all. I immediately spoke up. "I was told this was a private tour and the emails I got said we are welcome to stay at the beach however long we wanted. We are not on a "tour" so-to-speak. We are here to actually GO to the beaches....as in swimming and relaxing and having fun. I'm not here to get out and look around and on to the next. We would spend the entire day just riding in a van and that's not at all what we were looking for. We plan on staying for awhile!"
He asked me "How long do you plan on staying?" "Well, we plan on swimming, snorkeling, and taking a bit of time and I have no idea how long that is going to be but it's not going to be 10 minutes". So he said we were welcome to stay as long as we wanted and we would do the tour at our own pace. Well, I certainly hoped so since that's what I was told in the email.
Out we went and OH EM GEE...the beach was BEAUTIFUL! It kinda reminded me of St Thomas.
There wasn't a lot of people here at all and it was great.
A carving they had in the tree where we put our things.
Now to the right was a place that was closed. There was a sign that the hotel was no longer open. I bet it would have been great to stay at right up against the beach when it was open.
The kids were excited to hit the water finally.
Sakari wrote a note to Loki...yes, she was really missing him.
The water was a little cool and Shawna's body language said that loud and clear. But it didn't take long to get used to it.
Oh course since we were on limited time (so to speak), I immediately grabbed my snorkeling gear and headed out to see what there was here.
Somehow I ended up with a water spot on my camera. Like how does this happen when you are IN water? Like it makes no sense but it has happened in the past. It comes and goes. It's weird. I do not like it here or there I do not like it anywhere. Ugh.
Now the further you got out, the more rocks there was. It looked as if it had a path to follow where there were no rocks and it led out to the ocean.
However, it was VERY wavy and hard to keep away from the rocks and coral. So, I didn't go out too far.
It's hard to tell because the water was so wavy and stirred up but I was following a large school of blue tangs down this rock path.
It really was getting hard to keep from being thrown up against the rocks so we decided to turn around and go back. It just wasn't worth it at this point.
My attempt to capture and over under didn't turn out too well and I wasn't about to try forever since we are on limited time but I did spot a mermaid tail. 😉
Back closer to the shore, we found a few sea urchins.
Back at shore, there still wasn't very many people here. It was pretty awesome.
Kam had made a flower pot. It was full of sand and sea weed and she tried like crazy to take it with her. When she wasn't looking, Kendra dumped it and packed the bucket away. Kam was highly upset.
My little (now big) peacock mermaid was having a blast.
I have a lot of issues with my camera always fogging up. You go from the heat to the cool ocean and then back to the heat and then I battle with it fogging up non-stop. It's frustrating. I have usually taken several photo's before I notice this. I'll have to remove my fish eye lens, wipe it down, put the lens back on only to repeat that over and over again to the point I get so aggravated that I'll eventually just take it off completely.
The hubby was enjoying a local beer.
Lawrence was sitting under a palm tree with the locals to keep cool.
We had been here for about an hour and figured it was time to pack up and get back on the road to the next beach. We really liked this beach. It was just so pretty and not crowded and we highly recommend it. They do have chair rental (we just wasn't going to be there long enough) and also a place for food and drinks.
We pulled out at 10:42am and was on our way to the next place.
On the way, Lawrence started passing out drinks and the partying began with all the kids boozing it up in the back. Us adults had to remain sober and supervise these little rugrats. Shawna face-timed her mom as we were going down the street and had her convinced she was drinking on this tour and Kendra helped her along by telling her mom "yea, didn't you know the legal drinking age is 13 here?" Of course she didn't fall for it because Shawna was the only 13 year old with us and everyone else is younger. LOL
Into the rain forest we went...only this rain forest tour consisted of driving. That's my kinda tour. LOL
We stopped at one point and Lawrence was telling me that the "black pineapples" they grew there were amazing and some of the sweetest pineapples you can get.
Well, I heard "black" and tried to take a picture. All I seen was the black hanging from what I thought was a banana tree. Hmmm
We passed a place where people were zip-lining and all the kids were like "man, why didn't we do that instead?" I said "because I can't get Sakari to do it". Sakari said "hey, I would do that!" I told her it was higher and scarier than zip-lining at the small one at DePalm Island in Aruba that we have been to several times so how is she scared of that and not this? Maybe she is about to go back to my fearless child I used to have that would do anything???
That child has swam with stingrays and sharks and everything else but all of a sudden developed a fear of zip lines 2 years ago. Now all of a sudden she wants to do it again. We have a couple zip-lines here in Ohio down south and I think I'll take her this summer to "test the water" (or land) and see how she does before ever booking another zip line excursion for big money in the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, Billy felt the need for a nap...
We were winding and twisting up and down the rain forest mountains.
Now I know he said something about this tree. Maybe it's some of the biggest trees grown there or bagillion years old? **edit** the hubby said he told us "it's over 100 years old".