Antigua – our next port of call – was also affected by Irma. The island was not seriously damaged, although its low-lying sister Barbuda was nearly obliterated.
Since we had been here before and seen most of the historical sites and sights, we decided to just schlep around the capital city of St. John’s. Sarah, Dave and the kids headed off for a beach break.
We were joined in St John’s by the Costa Pacifica – a sister ship to the better known Costa Concordia. Nuff said.
Later the small but venerable Berlin sailed in.
We were docked right downtown so it wasn’t far to walk up to St John’s Anglican Cathedral. This is actually the 3rd church building on the site. A simple wooden structure was built in 1681 and destroyed in 1745 by an earthquake. It was replaced by a brick building that crumbled under another earthquake in 1843. By now the residents got the message and they built the current edifice in 1845. That one had a wooden box inside a stone box and has survived both earthquakes and a couple of Cat 4 hurricanes, so they did it right the 3rd time.
There are many tombs in the churchyard – some readable, but mostly unreadable. A lady inside the church told us that quite a few predated the second building, but they were not sure about how old the first ones put there were.
A couple of internments are more recent.
The church is open for visits but closed for worship. There is a lot of construction activity going on. Our informative lady said the community hopes to be back in by Easter 2019. We asked if Irma had anything to do with the work. She said no, they had started before the hurricane due to a leaky roof and termites in the wooden interior.
There’s lots more to do but it should be pretty fine when they are done.
From the Cathedral, we headed down to the former Court House which now serves as the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. The history is quite typical of a Caribbean island:
- Kill the natives or enslave them.
- Eject the French and Spanish colonizers.
- Plant sugar and bring in the slaves.
- Hang any pirates in the vicinity.
- Put down the odd slave revolt.
- Eventually slaves get liberated and acquire land of their own.
- The island achieves its colonial independence.
- Bring in the tourists.
Quite an interesting spot all in all. And it was cool inside (bonus!)
Outside the museum, they had some interesting diesel locomotives that used to haul the sugar cane trains to the mill.
A bit more sightseeing, some souvenir shopping and we were on our way back to the ship.
Back aboard I took a few photos of St John’s lovely harbor, and then we were ready to sail away to St. Lucia.