JOLLY BEACH RESORT, ANTIGUA - Page Three
When not dining, we spent our time at the pool. It's a great place to read or take a nap. Guests can even watch weddings taking place at the wedding chapel located on top of the waterfall. This pool offers many places for cooling off while reading a book or enjoying the swim up pool bar for a refreshing drink. Our favorite drink was the banana daquiri, made with the fresh bananas that we took from the breakfast buffet and brought to the bartenders at the pool bar to make for us.
Of course, for me a trip to the Caribbean is not complete until I go diving. I contacted Jolly Dive - Antigua, conveniently located on the beach adjacent to the resort. Their 38-foot dive boat sits right out front of the shop. The dive boat can hold up to 16 divers. However, the owner, Ken Thibodeau prefers to take no more than 12 divers out at one time. The dive boat is no frills, so if you want fresh water or snacks for in-between dives, you will need to bring them with you. Entry onto the boat is done by walking into the water and climbing onto the back of the boat or up the ladder. Any items that you don't need can be stored in the dive shop.
On the first day of diving there were three divers, which made for a lot of room on the boat. One diver we picked up along the way, as he was staying at a different resort.
The divemaster/boat captain gave me a briefing on the 20-minute ride to the first dive site. Entry into the water is done by a back roll off the sides of the boat. In addition, since there are no walls, the maximum depth for the first dive is approximately 60 - 70 ft. and the second is 30 - 50 ft. The first day of diving was pretty uneventful. Visibility was approximately 20 ft. and water temperature was a comfortable 80 degrees. I was disappointed at the lack of fish life and apparent coral bleaching I saw that first day.
On the second day of diving there were seven of us diving. Again we took the 20-minute ride to the first dive site. We geared up and rolled in. After completing the first dive, the motor was acting funny.
We went to the second dive site and after waiting the appropriate time we did the second dive. Again, the visibility was approximately 20 ft. and the lack of fish life was noticeable.
At the end of the second dive the boat's engine overheated and we had to wait until it cooled off enough to restart the boat. After three hours of starting the boat, moving a short distance and turning it off to cool down the engine, we finally made it back to Jolly Beach. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. I was thirsty, hungry and got way too much sun. The boat was out of commission for the next two days, getting repaired and waiting for a part to be flown in.
When the boat was back in service I had other plans for the day and did not dive again that week. If I really wanted to dive, I could have contacted another dive operator on the island, however, the sampling of diving that I experienced was not as exciting or thrilling as my dive trips on other islands. Instead, I deep-sixed the diving and decided to spend my time shopping and experiencing some wonderful spa treatments.
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