ANTIGUA AGAIN

May 8, 2010 - Saint John's, Antigua and Barbuda

On December 14th, 2009, we were scheduled to dock in St. John’s, Antigua. Unfortunately, due to a broken engine, we were forced to skip this port of call. At the time, although a bit bummed, we didn’t let ourselves get too disappointed because we knew we’d be back before it was all over. Today was that day!

After a quick and early morning game of Bingo at 10:00am, of which both Kelsey’s parents and Nic’s mom both played, I met him and Joyce to discuss the game plan for the day. Before she boarded the Voyager, Nic had signed her up for some excursions while in port and was lucky enough to get just about every one he had requested. Today, Joyce was signed up for a canopy tour, which involved zip-lining through the tall trees and over the canopies of the island’s forests. Of course, Nic and I were so anxious to join her, having been craving to participate in this specific tour since our first unsuccessful visit to St. Johns. The problem was: would there be enough room for both of us to join? So we made our way to our friends at Destinations to see what they could do. We figured our chances were pretty good, what with the demographic onboard and the odds that they’d choose a zip-lining adventure for the day. Fortunately for us, Destinations agreed and told us to come to the theatre just before the tours depart and they’d see if there’d be room.

We had some time to kill before needing to be in the theatre so we headed up to the pool deck, where we got some ice cream and continued to talk and catch up. While we were there, Phaedra, a member on the Destinations team came and told us our chances of getting on the canopy tour were about 99.9%. I was really excited to hear that! And, of course, so were Nic and Joyce. We eventually made our way down to the theatre and waited while everyone departed for their tours. And just as the last few people were heading for the gangway, we were handed our tickets for the tour! Well, we didn’t waste any time. We picked up our stuff, said a million “thank yous”, and were off!

Once we got out to the van that was transporting us up the mountain to the zip-lining location, Joyce, Nic and I were surprised at how many people were in our group. There were probably about 30 people! I was really happy to see the Weldon’s though! They are a really great family of four that has been on for most of the World Cruise and whom I’ve gotten to know and really like! Anyway, before long, we arrived at the very colorful and commercial zip-lining adventure building where we assembled our whole group and signed the standard consent forms. Meanwhile, the sounds of screaming “woos” and a very distinctive “shhhvvvvviiiit” zipping sound were already filling the sky from another group. I took a look outside from the balcony off the building and got even more excited when I saw people soaring through the air, flying from tree to tree.

I didn’t quite know what to expect from our day, logistics-wise, but somehow, and for some odd reason, I assumed that we’d maybe all just be riding one extra long zip-line, and that was that. I was happily mistaken when I learned that we would, in fact, be transporting through and down the forest on a series of nine lines, and finishing with what they titled the “leap of faith”.

When we were finished getting suited up in our collection of ropes, belts, straps, helmets and buckles, we walked across a long rope bridge and up several steps to the first of the nine zip-lines. Perched in a tree house-like structure, we all stood in line, waiting for our turn. Nic, Joyce and I were at the very end of the line and had the opportunity to watch everyone and decide upon our own strategies. Before long, we were up!

The first zip-line was actually quite long. One guide stayed on our end, letting us know when it was good to go, and far in the distance waiting for us on the other side, was another guide, ready to save us from crashing into the tree should we come in a little too fast. We made Joyce go first because she seemed to be the most nervous. Nic went after her. And then I went last. I have to admit, I really wasn’t that nervous myself until I was linked to the cord and standing on a wooden block, looking down at nothing but tree tops and hard ground. But as soon as I got the “go”, I went ahead, stepped off and was soaring across the sky until safely landing on the other side!

It was so enlivening! Like I said, I’ve always wanted to zip-line, and this was far better than I could’ve ever imagined. I remember when I was little, my brother, Brian, and his friends built a homemade zip-line in the woods behind our backyard. Of course, theirs was also a tad bit more dangerous. I never actually got the chance to ride it, but I remember it looking like so much fun.

The rest of our day was spent very much the same way – gliding on steel cords from tree house to tree house. Once we finished that first line, we didn’t really have to wait to go. Most of the time, we kept moving right along. Some zips were short ones, just crossing over a small brook or pond. There was one, however, that was super long and very high. It was definitely my favorite! By the end of the day, I went from cautiously stepping off the wooden platforms, to jump-start launching myself off, trying to gain as much speed as I could. It was exhilarating!

Sadly, “as a safety precaution”, we weren’t allowed to take any cameras or video equipment on our adventure zip-lining, which in reality, was basically their way of making you have to buy the pictures they’ve taken at the end. Before we got un-geared, though, the three of us made sure to get some shots of us, trying to capture other zip-liners in mid-flight behind us. However, when we went back inside, we did decide to take a look at their pictures, which were actually really good, and yes…ultimately ended up ordering a few. It was at that moment that our good (passenger) friend Terry, partner to Cornelius, offered to buy our pictures as a gift. Nic and I immediately declined his offer, not wanting to accept his money, but he insisted, saying that he’d be insulted if we didn’t. In the end, we compromised and let him buy one of the pictures. It was a very sweet gesture! THANKS TERRY!

Once we got back to the ship, I had to quickly shower and change to door greet the pre-dinner show. Stephanie, the GM’s (Michael) wife was performing her brand new show. I ended up staying to watch the whole thing! It was fantastic. After the show, Nic, Joyce and I met our friends, Debbie and Henry in the Observation Lounge for some cocktails. We then went to dinner in the Compass Rose, where we talked, laughed and enjoyed ourselves for what felt like a very short three hours. It was our farewell dinner with them and we all had a great time!

After dinner, I hurried to the theatre to try and catch what I could of the New York Vagabond’s show. I ended up only making it for the last two numbers, but they sounded really great. They ended with an a cappella version of “Stand By Me”, which was done really well! I met the guys in the Horizon’s Lounge after their show and that’s how I ended my evening: thrilled with my day’s adventures, in high spirits from my evening’s dinner, company and entertainment, and ecstatic to have finally made it to St. John’s, Antigua!

Love,

Erich 


Pictures

St. John's - Take Two
St. John's - Take Two (2)
St. John's - Take Two (3)
St. John's - Take Two (4)
 
 

1 Comment

MAMA:
May 28, 2010
The ziplining looks like fun and I am glad you made it on the exursion. Nice to have someone to do things with for you and Nic. The pictures are great. The day sounded wonderful and I am glad you are feeling better and enjoying yourself. The group sounded like you enjoyed them too, glad you got to catch a few songs. St. Johns looked pretty and it is good you got there this time!
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