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Jolly Harbour, Antigua – Take Two or is it Three?


Jolly Harbour feels like the treasure at the end of a rainbow.

Jolly Harbour has been a very welcome anchorage after both of our passages from St. Martin. This time I was ready to return to Jolly because the surge in Nelson’s Dockyard made our lines squeak at night which made sleep a little difficult. Even though I really like English Harbour, I am such a light sleeper that the squeak kept me awake so I was ready for the quiet of Jolly Harbour.

Last June we visited Jolly Harbour, so we knew what to expect this time and we were not disappointed. The folks in Jolly Harbour Marina are very nice and always have a smile. Jenn was in the marina office again this visit and her warm welcome was appreciated.

One really nice change in JH is the upgrade to their internet signal. Jenn told us that in the past the marina had complaints about the wifi, so they upgraded the system.  Since then she said they have not had any complaints. We were on a mooring ball and had excellent wifi on LIB. Thanks for the upgrade Jolly Harbour!!

As you can see from the picture above, there are a lot of private homes with boat docks along the edges of JH which offers a different view and feeling from many anchorages. These quiet fingers are perfect for paddle boarding.

Last year we wrote about our visit to Sha Sade where Frank had his hair cut. This year I visited Shamone who gave me a manicure/ pedicure and even dyed my eyebrows for me. It was like a regular spa day!


Shamone and Sadie’s store front.

The salon is in the building right next to the dinghy dock so the location is perfect for boaters. I will certainly go back the next time I’m in Jolly Harbour.

As most boaters know, Jolly has an excellent grocery and it is pretty easy to find familiar products. We were able to stock up on some essentials like M&Ms. 😉

Near the mooring balls their is a neighborhood with an open field and quiet streets which makes a perfect place for us to throw the frisbee for Captain.

She apparently thinks we should have gone there more often as she decided she would sleep in the dinghy between visits! She has only done this in Jolly Harbour, so I’m guessing this is one of her favorite anchorages.


Yes, that black ball of fluff is Cap waiting for another trip to shore!

This time we left Jolly Harbour to head to Shell Beach where we picked up our older son, Hunter. What a great reason to head out.

The focus of Hunter’s visit is kiteboarding. Frank has been anxiously waiting for this opportunity to kite with Hunter right off of LIB.

Let’s hope these crazy winds keep blowing…


English Harbour, Antigua

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.Eng above

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.


English Harbour, Antigua

After spending about a week in the less developed northern parts of Antigua where the kiteboarding was excellent and restaurants non-existent, we sailed to the southern part of Antigua and entered English Harbour. One cannot visit English Harbour without becoming cognizant of it’s importance in the history of Antigua and the surrounding area. The first thing you observe when arriving at the port is Fort Berkeley, which still stands on the western entrance to English Harbour. IMG_1272

Looking out toward the entrance to English Harbour.

The construction of Fort Berkeley began in 1704 and after several additions was completed in 1745. It was a pivotal sentry against attack since the British Navy housed it’s fleet at Nelson’s Dockyard which was landlocked within the harbor.  All told, Ft. Berkeley had 29 large cannons.  Antigua was considered such an important location that a total of 40 forts were built on it.


A commanding view and position to protect the harbor.

We took time to walk to Ft. Berkeley and follow the trail to some additional, smaller outposts that led all the way to Falmouth Harbour. This sounds like a long walk, and it was hilly, arid and rocky, but the distance is actually not great. You can see in the picture below that there is only a small section of land that separates English and Falmouth Harbours.


English Harbour to the right and Falmouth to the left.

While we enjoyed the views and exercise, Captain kept a close watch for her new nemesis, the goat!


Goats are the only remaining sentries at the forts.

Captain has decided that it is very important to chase any and all goats far from us, so we have to keep her on leash if we know they are around. Unfortunately on this walk, she spotted a goat while off lead….the chase ensued and within seconds Captain and said goat were careening down the side of the hills.  We saw Captain still running full out about 200 yards below us and we were not sure what to do.  Fortunately her sense of direction is excellent and within a few minutes she came trotting right back to where she had left the trail.  Her tail was high and she wore a huge grin, absolutely confident that she had just saved us from a fearsome goat!


You will note Captain is back on leash, but she is vigilantly watching those goats!

I wish it was possible to share the aura and history of Nelson’s Dockyard. The buildings have been beautifully restored and are now used to house restaurants, shops, hotels, art galleries and more. As we walked the cobblestone streets the sense of past spirits was present. Of course, I imagined dashing navel officers and ladies in heavy dresses while Frank’s imagination leaned more toward drunken brawls and pirates!

We would both like to return to English Harbour and learn more about the history as we only touched the surface!


                Frank lighting the fuse…..                     Ummm, this looks like a cartoon about to go wrong!


Knots are important in the life of a sailor.

The calm water and pleasant breeze over the hills made English Harbour the perfect place for us to reline the trampoline on Let It Be. Glad we did as the old line looked worse than expected when we replaced it.

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