Last June when we visited Antigua we loved it. We felt like we barely saw the island and it has such a variety of anchorages that we wanted to come back and spend more time here.
The view from our boat as 2016 arrived.
Specifically we wanted to spend New Year’s Eve in English Harbour where we would be surrounded by the history of Nelson’s Dockyard as 2015 became history and we ushered in 2016.
Nelson’s Dockyard, a National Park, is the only continually working Georgian Shipyard in the world. The first recorded ship to enter English Harbour was “Dover Castle” in 1671 and by 1707, English navel ships used the harbor regularly. The first dockyard, St. Helena, was constructed around 1728. Building of what currently exists and is Nelson’s Dockyard began around 1740 by enslaved labor from nearby plantations.
Approaching Nelson’s from the inland street. Photobomb by Captain.
The dockyard was named after Admiral Horatio Nelson who lived there from 1784-1787. According to our tour guide “Q,” Nelson was not well liked and actually lived on his boat in the harbor rather than in the dockyard as he was afraid he would be killed by local workers.
The buildings have been restored and are open for business today. Often the buildings house businesses that are similar to the original, just modernized.
This canal was used to bring sails to the loft for repair.
Rules on the guard house included, “avoid being out at improper hours.”
Quaint streets lead to the docks.
Landscaping outside what was once the hospital and is now a hotel.
Today Customs and Immigration is in the buildings to the left.
The building on the right in the above picture once housed officers on the second floor on the right side. The left side of the second floor held dead bodies until they were buried.
It wasn’t all history and fireworks in English Harbour. We also rode bikes up to Shirley Heights, the former military signal station where soldiers would use signal flags to communicate information about approaching ships to forts as far away as St. John.
It was a steep bike ride to the highest point on this part of Antigua.
Shirley Heights, a bird’s eye view of English and Falmouth Harbours.
We also walked to Falmouth Harbour for a visit to West Marine and a bit of exercise. Beautiful views popped out along the road way.
Along the main road in Falmouth.
Salt and pepper shakers at the Yacht Club
These were the salt and pepper shakers at our breakfast spot. I guess even the condiments find love in Falmouth Harbour.
In addition to all this history and sight seeing, we met and talked to a lot of cruisers. It was great getting to know so many new people. A special thanks to Roger and Lynne aboard Schatzi who gave us excellent information concerning pet entry into countries south of here.
The final and most unique aspect to our English Harbour visit was the invitation to join a family for dinner on their yacht. This family was incredibly generous and shared their table and their religious traditions with us. It was an evening we will remember and cherish forever.