Thursday, May 16, 2013

Kayaking the Caribbean and OH! Dat Chicken Mahn!!

The familiar horn bellowed into the morning sunshine followed by chimes and our captains booming voice announcing our arrival in Antigua.

Today's adventure didn't start until noon so we got to sleep in a bit. I was the first one up and I left the room to have my coffee on the deck upstairs, alone and in peace. Halfway thru my first cup I met Leah, a lawyer from Atlanta. We hit it off immediately and we made fast friends.  Leah and I were engrossed in animated conversation when a cloud burst overhead. A quick tropical shower and the sun was shining again. We spent too much time talking and had to part ways to return to our families. Her to her 9 year old son and me to my three and a husband.


This morning was the only time I'd have to shop and I fully intended on exercising that opportunity in Antigua's open market. Surprisingly my husband wanted to come Along. The kids were ripe for the ship's "Fun Club" (a kids club on board that comes free with passage and is complete with adult supervision) so we dropped them off and disembarked for an hour of haggling over island goods.

In an hours time we walked back to the ship with bags of colorful beads, island hats, dolls in traditional dress, t-shirts and trinkets of every sort. Not a bad take for the time spent. I was satisfied.


After collecting the kids and grabbing a quick bite we were off again for our afternoon adventure. Kayaking the mangroves in the turquoise waters of a local bay was just part of today's adventure. First we boarded a bus to take us across the island. Our driver was a native of the island and was well versed in island history. His name was Tobe and he was a fantastic historian. Before too long we arrived at "Paddles", where we would find our kayaking tour guides. Once off the bus we were directed down a steep, winding path flanked by lush greenery and colorful island flora.

 The path ended at the docks on a turquoise bay where speed boats and captains awaited our arrival. Our boat captain was "Beaza" and he was skilled at navigating the Caribbean waters.

We boarded kayaks and paddled our way through the mangroves.  The waters were crystal clear and the sun was hot up above.  It was not difficult to see all the treasures the bay had to offer.  Gigantic starfish littered the bay floor.  Our guide plucked one out of the water and passed it around for a bit of show and tell Antigua style!

 Post kayaking adventure we boarded speed boats and were off to a private island where we would hike to the top of  a small "mountain" (hill really...) for more scenic views and photo opportunities.

Words cannot describe the beauty.  It was peace come alive.....

The adventure would not have been complete without visiting the island "gift shop" and the "concession stand" where we sampled Adessa's chicken-- probably THE BEST barbecued chicken I had ever tasted....


Adessa was a real gem.  Jamaican born, Adessa now makes Antigua home with her entire family--including her granddaughters who helped her in the "store" the day we visited.  I affectionately told her that I wanted to take her back to Boston with me to which she replied  "I come wit cha anywhere honey and I mean dat."


On the ride back to the tour bus I kept thinking about how good that chicken was and I shared with Beaza that I would be dreaming of it when I got back home.  Beaza didn't miss a beat.  When I mentioned that I should have asked her for the recipe he quickly replied " 'I tell ya how ta maaake it. I taught dat womahn how ta cook dat chicken."

Beaza gave me the recipe that day and much to the enjoyment of my family, I've been making Adessa's chicken ever since.  What an awesome day!!

Come back again soon as my adventures continue!!


+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro
+My Baked Stuffed Life


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