You Can Stand Under My Umbrella........

Published: December 28th 2007
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The next port of call on this cruise was the island of Antigua in the capital city of St. John. Antigua, along with the nearby island of Barbuda, make up the independent country of Antigua and Barbuda. Today, we were lucky enough to have a bit of a sleep in as our excursion for the day didn't start until 9am. Initially, our plan was to do the Black Swan Pirate Ship excursion which consisted of a cruise around the harbor in Saint John, a mock pirate ship battle, as well as unlimited drinks at the bar. As cheesy as it may sound, we were both excited to do this excursion. Unfortunately, last night we were informed that it had been cancelled due to lack of interest. So at the last minute, we had to scramble to find something else to do. For such a relatively small island, Antigua is known for having 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, so we decided to spend our day relaxing at one of them. Our excursion would take us on a 5 hour beach rendez-vous to nearby Runaway Beach.

We made our way to the pier, where about 20
Runaway BeachRunaway BeachRunaway Beach

Testing the waters
people had gathered to participate in this excursion. The skies were looking a bit grey today and we were all hoping for some good beach weather. The tour guide led us through a small part of the town to where our transportation was waiting to take us to the beach. Shea and I sat in the back row of a very cramped and hot mini-van next to a rather large woman. I was stuck in between the both of them. This vehicle had no air conditioning and as we sat there waiting to exit the parking lot, my claustrophobia set in. Thankfully, we started moving a bit and some air begain circulating. We drove through a very congested and impoverished part of the town. If I didn't know any better, I would have sworn I was somewhere in Africa. Surprisingly, the Runaway Beach was only about a 15 minute drive away.

Once we got there, we were shown around the resort. It was definetly not five star but it had a bar, a lot of beach chairs, and umbrella rentals. What more could you need for a few hours at the beach. Plus, we were given tokens for
Runaway BeachRunaway BeachRunaway Beach

Ominous skies signaling the coming downpour
2 free drinks! We staked our claim to 2 beach chairs and layed around for a few minutes before deciding to check out the waters. Like in the Virgin Islands, the water took a little getting used to as it was not as warm as I expected. There wasn't much else to do here except swim or lay out. Every now and then some locals would ask around if anybody was interested in riding the sea-do's or going horseback riding. However other than that, all people did was lounge on the beach chairs.

While laying in my lounge chair, I noticed really dark clouds making it's way towards us. The ominous skies could only mean one thing, a heavy downpour. I spent $5 to purchase the use of an umbrella and placed it between our lounge chairs. If it did rain, at least we would be somewhat protected. As soon as I started digging the umbrella into the sand, the downpour began. Everybody ran for shelter under their umbrellas, under cabanas, or at the bar. We tried to stay dry under our umbrella but it was a losing battle but I didn't let this dampen my mood. It
Protecting myself from the downpourProtecting myself from the downpourProtecting myself from the downpour

You can stand under my umbrella...ella...ella
was quite a funny scene and the only thing I can think of was Rihanna's song "You can stand under my umbrella...ella...ella.", which I kept singing to myself for most of the downpour. Eventually, we and a few other people just decided to return to swimming despite the sheets of rain that kept falling. When the rain finally stopped and the sun returned, everybody just went back to lounging, drinking, swimming, and just enjoying another picture perfect Caribbean beach.

After being served a delicious lunch, It was time to return to the van for the return trip back to the port. Once there, we had a few hours to kill before the ship departed so we decided to do some shopping. We explored the shops around the port as well as some stalls where locals sold their wares. While exploring, we managed to also find the Black Swan Pirate Ship. Unfortunately, there wasn't anybody there so we weren't able to check it out. Back to shopping, I tried my hand at bartering but wasn't very successful. In the end, I just purchased the usual tourist trinkets. The rain started coming down again and we made a mad dash back to the ship. We explored our ship a little more this evening to find things we previously were unable to find. Somehow we wandered into a restricted area and found ourselves at the helicopter landing pad. Not wanting to attract the attention of security, we made our way out of there rather quickly. At dinner tonight, we finally met the other 2 people at our table, Lucca and Alexandra, who were a honeymooning couple from Pisa, Italy. They had a limited grasp of English so we found it quite difficult to make small talk.

Additional photos below
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Runaway BeachRunaway Beach
Runaway Beach

Clear skies are back again
The Black SwanThe Black Swan
The Black Swan

Pirate ship at the harbor in the capital of St. John

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