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Sailing to the Peak in Antigua

When a friend says to you “fancy a hike” it’s somewhat better than “take a hike” but still it conjures up images of  sore feet, dodgy knees and lots of out-of-breath puffing!  And I wasn’t disappointed!

Antigua has so much to offer and it’s great to get inland once in a while during your sailing charter to see the flowers, vegetation and the stunning views.

Pats from Indigo Divers (PADI dive operator based right here in Jolly Harbour Marina) decided that it would be a great idea to hike to the tallest point on Antigua called BOGGY PEAK.  Well, to be technically correct, it was renamed back in 2009 and it is now called MOUNT OBAMA after Barack Obama.

Given that this was a great way to research a hike for our sailing charter guests, I enthusiastically agreed.

I was collected at 05.15am on a Sunday morning (excuse me, isn’t Sunday a day of rest?) and told to wear stout shoes (what, no flip flop chic?!) and bring water. Bearing in mind the sun had not yet risen and even the birds could not muster any energy to chirp, it was no surprise to be told “no sunscreen”.

We met our Hiking Group just past the Pineapple farm (home to the famous Antigua Black pineapple) which is located further south along the west coast from Jolly Harbour Marina. Here we joined a lively group ready for the hike.  I use the word “hike” loosely as the word “climb” would have been more appropriate.

The temperature was around 80 degrees and felt positively cool as the sun has not yet made an appearance.  The path is an actual road so it is easy on the feet; all good so far.  The path winds around the mountain and then starts to get a little steeper but it is still manageable if you take your time and sip water along the way.  The vegetation along the path is lush; bananas huddled together for company in bunches, sitting under broad, green leaves waiting to ripen.  At that time of the morning, the mongoose were out scampering and doing whatever mongoose do.

There are some very steep pitches and you wonder how you would ever get a vehicle up there; even a 4×4.  The views through the trees are very much worth it.  You can see the ocean and the palm trees along the coast.  Looking at the view is also an excellent, tactical way to recover your breath and this is to be recommended as you don’t want to peak (excuse the pun) too early.  

Some time later, we reached our goal – the tallest point on Antigua – Boggy Peak, or Mount Obama, was conquered!  We felt great; a sense of accomplishment and a little warm.

Having conquered the peak and caught our breath. we were then ready to make our descent.  Perhaps now was not the time to tell Pats that I have a fear of descents; bizarre as it seems.  Pats was brilliant and decided that she would tell some interesting scuba diving stories to take my mind off the 45 degree angle that my legs were unnaturally coping with.  The walk down is quite tough on your legs but we made it to the bottom at around 07.15am.  Who’s for breakfast on board?

When you are ready to head inland and want to stretch your sea-legs, I would thoroughly recommend this hike.

Fact File:

Hike time:  1.30 – 2 hours
Height:  1319ft
Mountain range:  Shekerley Mountains, Antigua
Best time of day:  start 5.30am – 6am
Essential:  water, small towel and your sense of fun