From sunrise in Antigua to sunset in Ireland, a Photographic Journal

We booked to fly from Antigua to Ireland, via London Gatwick, on Monday night. Our belongings were sitting in a shipping container in port St John's in Antigua. Ricky the dachshund will have his final vet check on Saturday and fly on the same plane as us to the UK. 

I have a week left in Antigua. Suddenly I have a bucket list of things to do in that week. This is stereotypical-me. Days are not long enough and nights never seem to have enough sleep. 

"Tomorrow morning I am going to get up before dawn and drive to Half Moon Beach to watch the sunrise" I announced. That got my husband's attention. He is not an early riser. He sleeps more than a human baby in fact. Perhaps more than our dachshund too. 

"We'll all go" he said, taking me by surprise. Then he fell asleep on the couch as I turned the fans onto the children in bed and tucked in the mosquito nets. I carry the electric tennis racket with me to kill as many mosquitos in my path. Crack, crack, fizz, smoke. There is another one. Nasty little suckers. We have all had Zika virus already. I insisted on blood tests to confirm the head to toe rash and then had a major panic attack at the doctor surgery. What are we doing with our children on this tiny rock of an island. Living in Antigua ripped me in half. The sleepless nights of worry and fear, the lack of medical care and supplies, yet the marvellous community feeling that we are all in it together. The sunrise and sunset, the beach, the blanket of warmth 24 hours of day ....... the oppressive heat that you can't escape from, the alcoholic tendencies, the expense of a strawberry ...... the stars in the clear night skies, the crickets and tree frogs, the pool parties and beach parties ..... the endless rounds of sunscreen and mosquito repellent, the very rich and the very poor, the threat of hurricanes and drought. 

"This is not our forever place", I told my daughter. "Ireland is our forever place". 

I woke early at 4.45am. I pulled on a bikini and sundress. I packed the picnic in the car (feeling like an amazing Mama with containers of chopped fresh fruit and home baked scones with jam. Distinctly lacking in coffee. We can pick that up later). The bag of towels and camera went in the car too. Then I carried the kids to the car and my husband struggled to open his eyes. Finally we were on the road. 

"We'll have to take the shortcut! It's already getting bright. We're going to miss the sunrise, the whole point of this trip. And it's our Last Chance before we leave Antigua!" My morning grouch woke up and I sulked in the passenger seat, cuddling the dachshund. 

We were not the first to the beach. Some locals were there swimming at dawn like it was their morning ritual. It was nice. I chilled out A Lot and took pictures. The light was fantastic. I am in my happy place.

One month later in Ireland and my sister visited for 3 days. "Dad says it is going to rain for the next 3 days" she told me just after she arrived. "Hmph, probably .... " I sighed.

"We have to go up to the Hill of Tara for sunset then" she said. Ah, this is so familiar! Without any hesitation we piled into the car with the dachshund, the kids and the camera and raced up to the hill to watch the sun wrestle with the sky in a blaze of crimson and gold.

To think that one of my concerns leaving Antigua was that I would no longer witness jaw dropping sunsets or wake up to a colour explosion. Despite a degree in science, I forgot that the sun rises and sets in all countries. Hah!

From one island to another island! 

In love with both.

Dramatic starts and finishes to each day. 

Bikinis on one side of the Atlantic, beanies on the other. 

Separated by just the Atlantic Ocean.

Coming soon to the shop, some very special jewellery made by a fantastic designer who bridges the gap between the two islands.

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Jennifer Ritchie