Thorn Around the World

"Antigua's Roadshow"
After ten days at sea crossing the Atlantic, I found myself with a big international circle of friends. Day eleven started early, with me and my new pals on the top deck, along with most of the passengers, watching the sunrise over St. Johns, the capital and main port of Antigua.

As the cruise ship slowly approached, the warm grey skies gave way and the island turned emerald, studded with colorful homes and structures, as the Caribbean water began shining its sapphire hue. This was my third visit to Anitgua, one of my favorite islands, and I knew exactly where a dartboard was hiding-in an open air bar, on the white sand beach of Dickenson Bay, a story you can read about in my old Thorn Report blog in SEWA, part 12 of "DB In the Caribbean". That story provided one of my favorite memories of tropical darts discoveries, and one of my favorite photos from all my travels-tossing darts on the beach in paradise. But instead of trying to repeat the past, I thought I would explore new parts of the island and hope to find another hidden oche treasure.

My horde of friends and I finished a massive breakfast, packed our beach bags and headed down the gangplank, up the wharf and into the pastel painted town. Drivers and guides were everywhere, pressing us with prices and options. Part of our group wanted to take the island tour, while my Dutch friend Joyce and I wanted to see some new beaches. So, we split up and waved goodbye to each other from our respective minivans. Joyce and I headed south, hoping for a idyllic piece of paradise to relax on all day.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn't perfect-it was a little cool and overcast for the Caribbean-but we did find a nice beach to begin the day. I can't even remember the name of the place, but of course, it had a open air bar starting to serve ice cold beers to the handful of tourists on hand. Alas, no dartboard could be found.

The water was also cloudy from the previous night's storm, so snorkeling wasn't too tantalizing either, and me and my underwater Olympus camera were a little disappointed. After a couple hours, we decided to finish our ice cold bucket of Wadadli lager, and move to another beach. After a short shuttle ride, we unloaded and strode through the palms to another broad stretch of sand and soft waves.

We spent the rest of the day at beach number two, and again, the bars I explored were bereft of our favorite game. As Joyce and I sat on the beach, making new friends and people watching from our pool chairs, I thought about that dartboard in Dickenson Bay, wondering if it missed me. I looked at Joyce, sucking the straw of her coconut, freshly cut open by a beach steward and his machete. She smiled and looked happy. I knew that today would be another empty search for darts.

After staying as long as possible on our sandy spot, it was time to shuttle back to the boat. Our other friends had just returned from their tour, laughing and chatting about how interesting and fun it was.

Even though I didn't find any darts today, I was happy with my circle of new friends, and how much fun they were having. The party continued that night on the ship, everyone soaking up the luxury and comfort of our massive vessel. As I walked the decks, between meals and activities, games and shows, I took pictures of the people I had met, all enjoying themselves in various ways.

As night approached, a massive tropical storm loomed ahead of us in the dark. Sparks of lightning began to crack the obsidian sky. A group of us gathered on the bow of the upper deck to watch. Tomorrow, we would arrive in Barbados-the Hawaii of England, home to the Barbados Darts Festival, and my best and last chance to find some dart bars in the Caribbean. As I watched the electric purple light show in the dark clouds ahead, I was hoping that "lightning" might strike on Barbados-and lead me to a whole new undiscovered dartboard of the world.

Over and double out.

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