Rum Journal: Watching the Sun at Antigua’s Siboney Beach Club

By

Above: the Siboney Beach Club (all photos by CJ)

DICKENSON BAY — It’s late afternoon in Antigua.

On Dickenson Bay, the waves are a little louder and the palms have finished their chores for the day.

It’s time for an Angostura 1919, which goes well with the sun at this hour.

siboney2

This is the Siboney Beach Club, one of the island’s venerable hotel property run for decades by Tony Johnson, a World War II Veteran who is one of Antigua’s most notable characters and a legend of the region’s hospitality industry.

It’s the small hotel that feels like it’s been around since the beginning, because it has.

sib5

The Angostura goes well with a conversation with Johnson, who’s forgotten more about this place, about the Caribbean, about the things that matter, than most will ever know.

He came, as many have to the Caribbean, without a firm intention; the Caribbean happened to him. And then he never left. And it’s kept him here for more than a half century since.

sib4

On this afternoon, there is a yellow haze, the kind that quickly swallows cruise ships in the distance and moderates the brilliance of the setting sun.

But sitting at the property’s Coconut Grove restaurant, looking out at the off-blue hues and the couples wading in the sand, the sun seems to pause.

It’s time for a few more sips.

— CJ