Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Hand's down this was one of the funest ports on the itinerary. Sister island to Barbuda (but part of the same country), according to http://www.antigua-barbuda.org/, the skyline of St. John's, the capital and largest city of Antigua and Barbuda, is dominated by the magnificently evocative white baroque towers of St. John's Cathedral. Built in 1845, the church is now in its third incarnation, as earthquakes in 1683 and in 1745 destroyed the previous structures. The towers are the first sight of Antigua for about half of the island's visitors each year, many of whom arrive by boat. With its recently completed cruise ship dock and several hotels, St. John's is a lively hub for shopping and dining.
As soon as we reviewed the options, the group elected to take a trip to the lush part of island north of English Harbour in the middle of the rainforest for some ZIPLINING! We booked a trip with the Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour and were ready for some fun. We took a bus ride and upon arrival we were whisked away to an orientation on safety where you are forced to sign a waiver relinquishing any fault in your death. Basically, you dangle about 250-350 feet in the air through various stations (I counted 9) while going about 5-10 miles an hour depending on how much you weigh. Small kids do not weigh enough to get the right speed to get from one platform to the next so they end up just half way across in mid-air forcing someone to rescue them. This eliminated some of the kids from going on the trip, but we had a big group eager and ready to go.
The feeling you get atop the rainforest and in most cases through the rainforest is cool. It's not a natural thing you do on a daily basis so you have to get used to it. After the first several stations where you get the hang of clipping yourself to the line (and not forgetting the safety clip as well), you get the hang of it. At no time do you feel unsafe. There are at least two employees per platform that do the unclipping and clipping for you. They double and triple check everything each time.
I highly recommend this especially in St. John's where there is not alot to see/do during the short stay there. After the ziplining tour, we met up with the others near the port for a quick lunch at a roadside cafe and for some shopping.