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After our first day in Antigua, we woke up this morning at 7am and drove back towards Saint John’s Cruise Port for our pre-arranged 8:30am Barbuda Express ferry to Barbuda.

We checked in with our passports at 8am and paid the $200 per person deposit at the dock, boarding soon afterwards on their red and white catamaran:

 

 

After buying some fruit on the boat and making that our breakfast, we promptly set sail at 8:30am:

 

 

The boat ride from Antigua to Barbuda takes a surprisingly lengthy 90 minutes. So do you what you can to pass the time . . . like a photo shoot.

 

 

Or just pass out:

 

 

We arrived into Barbuda at 10am, where a local named Charlie drove us around the island and first showed us the rebuilding efforts after the rampant devastation that Hurricane Irma left in its wake last September.

 

 

We also drove by what was left of their once plentiful coconut farms:

 

 

After a 20 minute drive, we then stopped for a walk along Two Foot Bay:

 

 

We then strolled about 5 minutes along the rocks to a series caves used by the Arawak Indians, one of which we climbed up for views over the entire bay:

 

 

Barbuda just got served.

 

 

From there we drove back to the docks and hopped on a little dinghy speedboat:

 

 

Oh look, another photo shoot:

 

 

We ferried 10 minutes weaving around Barbuda for the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, the largest collection of frigate birds in the Western Hemisphere. This was also when Thao helpfully informed us she has a particular phobia of birds.

 

 

After 15 minutes here holding Thao’s hand and looking at all the birds, we returned to the docks and drove over to a nearby makeshift shack on a beach for lunch.

 

 

Finally we were dropped off at Princess Diana Beach, where we frolicked for the next 2 hours.

 

 

And by frolick I mean, yes, another photo shoot.

 

 

At 3:45pm we hopped back in Charlie’s van for our return 4:30pm ferry back to Antigua.

 

 

Once back in Saint John’s at 6pm, we took in the sunset right at the harbor…

 

 

…before stopping for an impromptu and memorable dinner at Hemingway’s.

 

 

After dinner, we then drove to Smoking Ace’s at 9pm and literally had the whole hookah nightclub to ourselves:

 

 

We stayed here until the wee hours of the morning with hookahs and drinks, before filling up our car with gas and rounding out our night with more conversations and deep soul searching back at our lodgings in Antigua Seaview. I think some of us stayed up as late as 4:30am.

The next morning we all conveniently got up at 9am, washed down our car (which at this point has earned our beloved nickname of “Gladys”) from all the scratches we made yesterday driving up to Monk’s Hill, and drove into Saint John’s for a quick lunch back at Hemingway’s. So good we had to go back!

 

 

Since the other Calvin had issues checking in, he left early in a cab where we bought some last minute souvenirs and caught up with him at the airport.

We then dropped off Gladys with the car rental shop none the wiser about what the poor car had gone through, headed through security, and checked ourselves in at the Executive Lounge courtesy of Priority Pass.

 

 

And, yes, we had one more photo shoot.

 

 

And with that, it’s time to go home.

 

 

–EDIT–

And then something happened.

After the group returned safely back to NYC at 6pm, we parted ways with the other Calvin at JFK Airport while Thuy and Tanzia joined me and my better half for an impromptu underground CBD party in Manhattan. We then grabbed food in K-town and turned in early. The next morning nearly the entire group — Thuy, Thao, Tanzia, and Victoria (essentially everyone but the other Calvin) — reunited at 4:30am in Coney Island to help volunteer on my medical team for the Brooklyn Half-Marathon. After a cardiac arrest save, countless heat strokes, and hundreds of other patients, we felt like our trip would be bookended with what felt like the season finale of the TV Show ER.

Then we slowly began the hard goodbyes: Victoria was first, while Tanzia, Thao and Thuy joined me for lunch back in Manhattan. Afterwards we parted with Tanzia and continued onwards for hookah and drinks with monsoon veterans Ann, Alfred, and new monsooner Sam. Then Thuy and Thao, who went from strangers to best friends on the trip, had their moment. And as I sat a table with 2 monsooners from a trip that was just ending (Thao and Thuy) and 2 monsooners for a trip that was just about to begin (Alfred and Sam), I realized that the universe was once again speaking.

And it spoke through my eyes.

- At time of posting in Barbuda, it was 82.4 °F - Humidity: 64% | Wind Speed: 27km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy